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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great film
I think that if someone had written this as a screenplay, and the book had never have existed it would have received far more acclaim than it has, and wouldn't have half as many negative reviews as it does (on this site at least, generally amongst critics the film has become universally acclaimed, though all admit it is flawed, which is to be expected when it had to...
Published on 25 Jun 2007 by N. Harris

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars "Help him, help him" "Help who?"
The story is mostly flashback on flashback. The basic story is of Capt. John Yossarian (Alan Arkin), World War II bombardier, who wants to get out of the war. However it gets real complicated with many characters that are players by a bevy of character actors. There is plenty of subtle comedy mixed with some scenes that can make you sick.

A lot of what looks...
Published on 23 Jun 2007 by bernie


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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great film, 25 Jun 2007
By 
N. Harris - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Catch - 22 [DVD] (DVD)
I think that if someone had written this as a screenplay, and the book had never have existed it would have received far more acclaim than it has, and wouldn't have half as many negative reviews as it does (on this site at least, generally amongst critics the film has become universally acclaimed, though all admit it is flawed, which is to be expected when it had to follow up to Heller's book). It would take a 5 hour film to do the book justice and to expect a visual duplicate of the book i think would be madness.

Mike Nichols created a film as good as i ever could have expected. The scenes in the book which I found to be either the most funny, or most moving, were in my mind portrayed perfectly by Mike Nichols (just as Yossarian was portrayed perfectly by Alan Arkin) and i strongly urge any fan of the book to watch the film.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious attempt at filming the finest novel ever written, 4 Sep 2001
By 
Pete "Pete" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Catch 22 [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I suspect that anyone who hasn't read the book may struggle to follow the plot in this. For those who have, some of the scenes are brilliantly transposed to film, and Yossarian himself is perfect, as are some of the others. Ultimately though, all it really did is make me desperately want to read the book again.
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the greatest film of the sixties, 23 Jan 2003
By 
Charalampos Lamprou "haris_" (Athens , Greece) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Catch - 22 [DVD] (DVD)
'Help him , help him ! Help the bombardier!'. These recurring lines from the film where it's logo for a long time after its first release. This is a story about a US Air force bombing squadron in WWII unlike no other.Captain Yossarian , played by Alan Arkin in the best performance of his career , faces the biggest puzzle of his life: if you go on flying more missions you're mad ,but if you don't want to fly any more missions you're not mad! The absurdity of military rationale in all its greatness.
Set in a barren , haunting coast somewhere in Mediterreanean , you get the sense from the first minutes of the film that this is not a usual war film. At a time when the Vietnam war controversy was raging in the US , Mike Nichols puts in screen the novel by Joseph Heller , a grotesquely hillarious description of the military.
This is the best film of Mike Nichols. Filmed at a time when visual effects was a word from the future , only the genious of a true cinematographer could produce such powerful and tricky scenes ( The take-off scene is just magnificent).
The great thing about this film is that while the story is absurd and hilarious , the realism of the photography and of the characters is so intense that you never get to doubt about it at all.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant taster, 28 Jan 2011
By 
P. A. Clarke (Oundle, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Catch - 22 [DVD] (DVD)
Yes, well, the book HAS to be read as it is indeed a crazy, wonderful, hilarious modern classic.

And for the film Mike Nichols does a wonderful job - using fabulous photographic techniques (long lenses, long takes, and stunning compositions).

And Alan Arkin is so Yossarian, it's not true. I now cannot imagine anyone else.

And there are some superbly handled scenes: the man-in-white in the ward, the bombing runs with pipe-smoking Arfy - wonderful... and the superb scenes with Orson Welles as Dreedle ("Take him out and shoot him!") - not to mention Anthony Perkins as the padre, John Voight as Milo, and many, many more star cameos. Great stuff.

So, at the end of the day, it's a terrific film, and worth seeing for that. On the other hand it's not quite the whole book. How could it be? So see the film for all its pleasures. And return to the book for what spawned it.

But don't spurn it. It's great film-making, and Alan Arkin IS Yossarian....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Institutional Violence, 3 Feb 2014
By 
Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles "FIST" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Catch - 22 [DVD] (DVD)
A film which builds on many of the themes detailed by Jonathon Shay in "Achilles in Vietnam" and a sisterwork to Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse 5."

The film begins with Yossarian being stabbed and the world fragmenting into broken pieces of recollected memory. All of them are traumatic in one shape or another, even the hilarious ones where they are asked to provide a chair for the lady. So Yossarian is stuck on the treadmill and we see him surrounded by his comrades who over the duration surface within his fragments. And in these brief moments we see the bonds and how they fracture and form under the pressures of war.

There are some extremely deft moments in the film, bombing their own base, the attempt to make money from speculation, Cathcart's complete disassociation from his troops, the use of medals as a form of hallucinatory compensation for doing absolutely nothing, the desire for sex workers, the loss of innocence and then the more traumatic events. Each is combined with a sense of trauma echoing throughout, but the film operates from comedy to tragedy constantly.

For the men trapped on the bombing missions they were forever being asked to do yet more, the one person who found a way out was to keep crash landing in the hope he would be able to get it right in the end and sail away from the war. The penny finally drops for Yossarian right at the end, that fighting the system only feeds it. Other strategies are needed to circumvent its force.

Within the film structure we get the stories within a story, similar to the Saragossa Manuscripts and each fragment is deftly weaved as a collection of memories as Yossarian fights for his life. A very well constructed film with real emotional depth, but to comprehend what it is saying you have to put down the war comics and pick up a psychology book, preferable Jonathon Shay's book on Vietnam.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pre-9/11 paranoia, 17 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Catch - 22 [DVD] (DVD)
Before there was the TV mini-series "Homeland," the world had a chance to read (or try to read) this great example of paranoia, "Catch 22." First of all, I never finished the book....it was completely crazy....but when I saw Frank Tallman was involved in the aircraft scenes filmed in Mexico, I had to see the movie. Loved the B-25s, although the film was still crazy. Now, after all these years, seeing it again, this movie on DVD is a great buy. It is absurd, but so true ! And Buck Henry (who also acts in the film) did an excellent capturing the essence of what Joseph Heller was trying to get across. The flash backs avec Yossarian and his wounded crewman in a damaged B-25 are very moving........don't hesitate, buy it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than M*A*S*H*...., 20 May 2012
By 
Tim Kidner "Hucklebrook Hound" (Salisbury, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Catch - 22 [DVD] (DVD)
I could never really quite get into MASH and that baseball game is wasted on me. Mike Nicol's Catch 22, though, that's different. It's instant. Straight away it just clicks as being a film that is warped enough to be well outside anybody's box. I know that MASH is Vietnam and this an Italian airbase somewhere in the Med in WW2, but from here-on in, there are big similarities.

Alan Arkin has never been better and though I haven't read the book and probably never will, you can tell straight away that he was born for the role. His only other performance that comes near was his Oscar winning one as grumpy old uncle in Little Miss Sunshine. As the US airforce captain hell-bent on proving his insanity, Capt Yossarian has to try and convince everybody, especially himself.

The film is on so many delicious levels that it can be seen many times and a different stance or joke is revealed that you didn't see before. I'm on my third. Dreams, nightmares, psychosis, nudity, superb, adventurous cinematography AND Orson Welles, that's one helluva combination. The stunts are worthy of expensive 'proper' war films and it must have been a very brave film for Nicols to even contemplate making.

There's one hell of a cast too, aside of Arkin and Welles - Anthony Perkins, Richard Benjamin, Art Garfunkel, Martin Balsam, Jon Voight and Martin Sheen - that's an invite list to the Oscars!

My policy with such off the wall movies is not to try and understand them, unless it comes to me. Logic and reasoning can be an awful barrier to enjoyment, sometimes! For this reason alone, I'm not even going to try to explain the plot here.

You'll want to watch Catch 22 for its WW2 satire, the imaginative direction, the well executed stunts and maybe above all these, the cast - and the humour that is so unreal, it's almost happening outside of one's mind and body.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fans of the novel- this film is for you!, 28 Jun 2005
This review is from: Catch - 22 [DVD] (DVD)
having read the book hundreds of times and never having seen the film, i couldn't wait to watch it. my partner has never read the book but when the film arrived we both settled down to watch it. i loved it. a superbly elegant film which must have been hard to fit in all the relevant details so meticulously recorded in the novel, but they did it very well. my girlfriend on the other hand didn't enjoy it due to the fact that she had not read the book and i think this would be the same for others. fans of the novel- this film is for you!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, 28 Jun 2014
By 
Suzanne (Whitehaven, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Catch - 22 [DVD] (DVD)
Wonderful film, very funny in a dark way. Tried reading the book several times but could never find the time, I feel the movie is a true representation of the book
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5.0 out of 5 stars A classic, 12 April 2014
By 
Mark Le Sueur "Jersey Bean" (Jersey) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Catch - 22 [DVD] (DVD)
I went through the Catch 22 thing when I was a teenager, and didn't get it. Fourth years on .I see an the irony and black humor. A classic, but read the book first, it is far more cutting.
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Catch - 22 [DVD]
Catch - 22 [DVD] by Mike Nichols (DVD - 2002)
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