"Many people watch this movie for the same reason as did I: they were Beatles fans and wanted to see Lennon. I was about 13 when I stayed up until about 5am watching this movie on cable, and, for one thing, being exhausted really adds an element to it, but I think that people who are disappointed in it because they were expecting something different are missing the point. I though the movie was a brilliant farce and is one of the greatest British comedies ever. Keep in mind that British comics have very little compuction about what they do. I thought that Lennon's performance was very natural and irreverent, just as it was in A Hard Days' Night and Help! and I certainly wasn't disappointed in it in the least. Crawford was surprisingly thin, but also gave a great performance. The movie is just meant to be a weird, eye-opening experience and one must approach it from that angle. Granted, it isn't for everyone, but all the people whom I've shown the movie loved it and got a copy for themselves. So, if you're a wee-teensy-bit off-kilter and daring when it comes to movies, watch this one several times, because you catch new stuff everytime (mostly due to the actors speaking so fast). It's one of my favorites."
Brilliant, dark satire on the darkest of subjects.
M. N. McBain | 10/30/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Richard Lester created in "How I Won the War" a film that simply cannot be categorized. Symbolism abounds in the film, and in alternating instances, its overtness and its subtlety can prove confusing. For this reason, the film needs to be viewed more than once.The blatant attack on the military mindset is brilliantly executed. In swift strokes he makes a mockery of military officers and warmongers; one scene in particular has two British officers exchanging bubble gum cards of war scenes, with one insisting in a haughty accent "I want school bombing ... I do."Michael Crawford and John Lennon are joined by an excellent supporting cast, including Victor Spinetti the brilliant (but unfortunately "late") Leo McKern. Crawford plays the role with just the right amount of smarminess, egoism and overt stupidity that it calls for. Lennon and McKern's innocence causes the closing segment to be doubly powerful.Overall ... a fine film worth seeing, especially for any fans of social commentary."
This is my second review
M. N. McBain | 12/16/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Rented it AGAIN and watched it wearing headphones. I understood every word and loved it. I will now spring for the the big bucks to buy it. This movie is a classic...still Richard Lester madness but that is part of its message. War is madness.I recommend this movie...with headphones."
Just put them under the taps,luv
steve estvanik | seattle, wa USA | 03/01/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Wasn't it St. Anna who said, "those who forget old movies are condemned to have a minor part in the remake"? Obviously the crew who brought us Iraq never saw this film. I've been waiting for years to see this again [having been disappointed by how badly Oh What a Lovely War! was dated] and it was worth the wait. Hard to remember this was before Monty Python, before Ricky Gervais, when Richard Lester just meant a bunch of floppy mops running around London [and Robert Hardy had just a bit part]
And, yes, Mr. Ebert, I do remember Lennon on the cover of Ramparts, but it didn't dilute the films impact then or now. Watch this as an antiwar movie like All Quiet or Strangelove, or watch it as a surreal black comedy - "just put them under the taps,luv "- or just try to absorb it at all levels. It worked then [rememeber, in 1967, the NY Times, among other liberal voices, was just beginning to realize what Vietnam was doing to us. ] and it works now"
Quirky British Dark Comedy
Peter Bernhardt | Wisconsin | 09/22/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
""How I Won the War," starring Michael Crawford and John Lennon, was a strange movie that I enjoyed watching over and over again as a teenager, desperately trying to understand exactly what the heck was going on at any given time. Now that I'm older and wiser, I still have no idea! However, this quirky British dark comedy will force you to laugh for reasons you may or may not understand. It's just crazy. One of my goals in life is to become enlightened and understand this movie before I die (which hopefully won't ruin it)."