A real masterpiece!
Hiram Gomez Pardo | Valencia, Venezuela | 02/20/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Nicholas Ray makes an impressive tragical portrait of the war looking inside the human soul and not about the outer conditions.
A honor debt will be paid by an officer -Richard Burton- in the middle of the War desert when he involves in a love affair precisely with the wife of his superior.
And Curt Jurgens the cheated husband will find the right time in this case when the revenge assumes his own identity color and metaphorically he can observe himself through this sinister animal.
The final speech is admirable. And the medal will be hanging from a silent scarecrow's is one of the most admirable and original proposals ever made .
A colossal artistic triumph and superb mature film!
A tiny anti-war movie with a superb cast.
Patrick Selitrenny | Switzerland a.k.a. Helvetia Felix | 01/03/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Richard Burton is at his best in this little war drama.
Unlike his later war movies, and other different ones, he starred in later on, he truly shines as an accomplished actor.
The support of German actor Curt Juergens has been a touch of class.
I won't reveal the contents of the movie, because it has to be watched as is.
Suffice it to say that it is a story about friendship, comraderie and betrayal, not forgetting cowardice.
I can only recommend it.
This is not a true war movie, in the conventional sense of the word, it it far more a story about human relationships during a war, just like "The Hill" by Sidney Lumet and starring Sean Connery and Harry Andrews, this is a social study and much less an actioner.
If you like to go deeper within the human soul, this one is truly yours.
I gave it 4 stars for its present DVD edition. The movie is well worth more, but I get the sensation that something is still missing (not from the movie), something like some interviews and a behind the scenes commentary for instance.
Buy it, it is well worth it."
Enigmatic, Frustrating, Brilliant
Michael P. Healy | Hailey, ID USA | 08/25/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The conflict between the two main characters seems at first one-sided, with the cynical, intellectual Burton more attractive than the stolid, uncertain Jurgens. But by the end of the film, with one of the men dead, which is the better soldier and which the better man is not so clear. It's a movie full of interesting, unanswered questions.
If you are intrigued by this brilliant and beautiful film where so much is left unsaid and unexplained, you will want to read James Harvey's chapter on Bitter Victory in his 2001 book Movie Love in the Fifties. He relates the confusion and conflict from which this extraordinary movie arose and provides a detailed, shot-by-shot analysis of several important scenes."
NICHOLAS RAY, OPUS 15
wdanthemanw | Geneva, Switzerland | 04/02/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"**** 1957. Based on René Hardy's Bitter Victory, this film was co-written and directed by Nicholas Ray. During WWII, a fearful officer, Curd Jürgens, is told to bring back important documents from a German commanding post. His second officer, Richard Burton, and even his soldiers soon understand he's not fit for the mission. In the desert, tensions grow. BITTER VICTORY is, six years after Flying Leathernecks, the second war movie of Nicholas Ray. The conflict between Curd Jürgens and Richard Burton may sometimes remind us the John Wayne/Robert Ryan disputes but the comparison between the two movies stops here. The desert is after all the main character of BITTER VICTORY, it's a place where men can't cheat and where they don't speak a lot. The scene of the scorpion is a model of the genre, the gazes of the characters at each other being the only dramatic stake of the scene. Highly recommended even if this DVD doesn't offer any valuable bonus and even if the copy, image and sound, is of average quality only."