Film: How I Won The War 12 rating Year: 1967
How I won The War DVD Cover
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Country: UK Genre: Comedy / Drama
Director: Richard Lester
Starring: John Lennon, Michael Crawford, Roy Kinnear, Michael Hordern

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How I Won The War Synopsis - How I Won The War centres around a "troop" of soliders during World War II and their pointless efforts in the name of the War. Their Leader, Lieutenant Goodbody, comes from relatively humble beginnings to command this particular unit, (a unit generally ignored by everyone except the enemy). Goodbody does his best to command his troops under the misguided assumption that he is in charge (the troops just let him think that to keep him happy). As an advanced party going into enemy territory the attrition rate is rather high, so can they achieve their mission of sneaking into enemy territory and preparing a good Cricketing wicket, and will the unit have enough men to push the roller by the time they have secured the land?

Review of How I Won The War - This off the wall and surreal take on the War film genre is much maligned, with the general consensus being that it is rather too odd for its own good. However I think this is a terrific film which is both heavily stylised and willfully surreal, but not self-conciously so. With an obvious target such as War and by extension the Officer class of the British army, I believe the script is well served by choosing such a surreal take on the narrative. John Lennon (who wrote Strawberry Fields during the filming in Spain) is surprisingly good, even if the part of Private Gripweed was made for him. Michael Crawford and Michael Hordern take their rather caricatured parts very well, as do the rest of the troops who do actually seem to have a real sympathy for the surrealistic slant applied to the story. Richard Lester's inventiveness in portraying the story, lifts the rather thin plot into something far more interesting.
The reasons I recommend How I Won The War are: 1. John Lennon's superb take on the role of Private Gripweed. 2. A great cast throughout. 3. A dark but rather amusing surrealistic take on the horrors of war.