How I Won the War war movie
How I Won the War war movie

How I Won the War (1967, United Kingdom)

Categories: desert movies

Running time: 110 minutes

Language: English

Lieutenant Goodbody is young, naive and idealistic officer, the pride of his nation, who gets his wartime-commission (sort of temporary officer status for the time of war) despite lack of skills required to be in the command of other people. His platoon is full of slackers, who are far from typical Tommies you will see in the movies - they prefer to keep the low profile and stay out of trouble rather than charge the enemy with patriotic song in their hearts. When they are transferred to North Africa their first assignment is a crucial mission for the whole army - Goodbody is given order to build a good cricket field in the desert. Afterall what is the point of fighting Germans when nearest cricket field is thousands of miles away? Goodbody takes this nonsense mission as his patriotic duty and choses a spot for the field. Soon his men are using all the methods they know to either avoid any work or make Goodbody drop the whole idea.

Dark comedy based on strongly anti-war novel How I Won the War by Patrick Ryan, a World War 2 veteran, who served in Tunisia, Italy and Greece. He turned his experiences from the war into a book that presented satiric view on the pointlessness of the war and the wide range of characters he has met during the service. Unfortunately script for the movie was written by Charles Wood, who took the main themes from the novel, but decided to change the style to more surrealistic, similar to one of his anti-war plays, Dingo. It is unfortunate since the book stripped of the Ryan’s subtle style becomes chaotic and uninteresting - the main themes are there, but hidden behind incoherent dialogues and less than skillful directing. Overall a very poor film that tried to show the view on war usually absent in war movies, the view of a man disillusioned with war, the army and the patriotic pathos, but How I Won the War failed on so many levels that it is painful to watch.

Our rating


Film value

3 / 10

Realism factor

2 / 5

Adventure factor

1 / 5

Historical accuracy

2 / 5

How I Won the War full movie

full movie How I Won the War on DVD

Creators of How I Won the War

Richard Lester movies

Patrick Ryan movies

Patrick Ryan


Charles Wood movies

Charles Wood


Cast of How I Won the War

Michael Crawford movies michael-crawford

Michael Crawford

as Lieutenant Goodbody

John Lennon movies john-lennon

John Lennon

as Gripweed

Roy Kinnear movies roy-kinnear

Roy Kinnear

as Clapper

Lee Montague movies lee-montague

Lee Montague

as Sergeant Transom

Jack MacGowran movies jack-macgowran

Jack MacGowran

as Juniper

Michael Hordern movies michael-hordern

Michael Hordern

as Grapple

Jack Hedley movies jack-hedley

Jack Hedley

as Melancholy Musketeer

Karl Michael Vogler movies karl-michael-vogler

Robert Hardy movies robert-hardy

Robert Hardy

as British General

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Events depicted in How I Won the War

World War II (1936-1945)

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