M.A.S.H.

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Released 1970

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8.5
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Movie Summary

Director:
Robert Altman (I)
Released:
1970
Rating:
PG

M.A.S.H. is the classic 1970 anti-war comedy about medical officers and Army personnel serving near the 38th Parallel during the Korean War at a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. The film made stars of Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould and Sally Kellerman, and elevated Robert Altman, hitherto mainly known as a TV journeyman, to the very front rank of American film-makers - a position he never subsequently relinquished. In this strikingly unusual and very serious comedy, the horrors of war are never far away; the comedy comes from the outrageous ways in which the surgeons stay sane - by joking around, defying authority and chasing women between operating sessions. The film was nominated for five Oscars and was later made into a famous TV series - one which the people who made this film tended to disparage, as it was certainly a lot less tough-minded than this daring movie.

Metacritic Score

  • 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    We laugh, that we may not cry. But none of this philosophy comes close to the insane logic of "M*A*S*H," which is achieved through a peculiar marriage of cinematography, acting, di...

  • 70

    Variety Justin Chang

    In the end M.A.S.H. succeeds, in spite of its glaring faults, because Gould, Sutherland, Skerritt, Jo Ann Pflug as the delicious Lt. Dish, and Roger Bowen, as the goof-off commandi...

  • 60

    The New York Times

    Although it is impudent, bold, and often very funny, it lacks the sense of order (even in the midst of disorder) that seems the special province of successful comedy.

Donald Sutherland (I)

Donald Sutherland (I)

Dr. Benjamin Franklin Pierce, "Hawkeye"

Elliott Gould

Elliott Gould

Dr. John MacIntyre, "Trapper John"

Tom Skerritt

Tom Skerritt

Dr. Augustus Bedford Forrest, "Duke"

Robert Duvall

Robert Duvall

Major Frank Burns

Sally Kellerman

Sally Kellerman

Major Margaret Houlihan, "Hot Lips"

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould both requested that Robert Altman be replaced as director, something producer Ingo Preminger refused to do.

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Duke Forrest: [after Frank Burns is sent home in a straitjacket]: Fair is fair, Colonel. If I nail Hot Lips and hit Hawkeye, can I go home, too?

    • Hot Lips: [after Hawkeye has insulted her]: I wonder how a degenerated person like that ever rose a position of authority in the Army Medical Corps?
      Dago Red: [matter-of-factly]: He was drafted.

    • Sgt. Gorman: Goddamn army! Goddamn army!

  • NOTES (1)

    • Robert Altman claimed that over a dozen directors had refused to make the film before he was approached by tyro producer Ingo Preminger. He also said that this put him in a very strong position, as he was, in these circumstances, unlikely to be replaced. With help from Preminger, he was able to make the film in the way he wanted, although studio chief Darryl Zanuck was baffled by it and talked about shelving it - something he changed his mind about after a very successful preview.

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

More Info About This Movie

Categories

Comedy, Drama

Themes

Military & War, 70s, hospital backdrop, moral dilemmas, coping with death