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4.0 out of 5 stars
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4.0 out of 5 stars
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on 31 December 2009
I take a contrarian view as I rather enjoy this amusing, pleasant and watchable film based on the first of the war memoirs of Spike Milligan as he reluctantly and unenthusiastically joins the army experiencing high jinks and the grim realities of basic training for the Royal Artillery until the moment of departure from England to join the frontline action.

Jim Dale supporting cast are many of the well known and much loved actors familiar to British TV viewers from the 70s. .

As well as the daft and at times zany dry British humour as Spike and the rest of his squad get involved in many amusing antics, there is also very much the human face of the futility war, when one of his group is blown up guarding a shot down German bomber and when the family of another has been totally wiped out during a bombing raid on London.

Often I think that films such as this come off far better for being shot on a low budget. Unable to show the German blitz on London the Director Norman Cohen cleverly shows the recruits on a hill silhouetted by the night sky as they watch the homes of their families being bombed, a moving and poignant moment.

On the whole Jim Dale gives a good account of himself, capturing the flavour of Milligan's madcap behaviour.

Yes, at times Jim Dale (playing Spike Milligan) acts as though he is in one of his Carry On films and for much of the time there was little discernable difference between Arthur Lowe as Major Drysdale (the training camps commander) and Arthur Lowe as Captain Mainwaring out of Dad's Army. Also there is unfulfilled potential in this film.
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on 25 October 2013
Although 'Spike's part is played by Jim Dale the story follows pretty closely to his adventures in his book. having served in the forces you can take it from me that many things in the film can occur that to an outsider is beyond belief !
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on 19 July 2016
I haven't seen this classic movie since it was last on TV about 20 odd years ago. Based quite loosely on Spike Milligan's war memoirs, Jim (carry on..) Dale plays a young Gunner Terence (Spike) Milligan as he comes to terms with being called-up to do his part for King and country and then having to fit into military life in his own, inevitably madcap, way. Spike himself plays a wonderful little cameo role as his own (slightly eccentric) father, along with Pat Coombs, Bill Maynard, Arthur Lowe, Jeffrey Hughes and many others (did I mention the bloke that played Bishop Brennan from Father Ted?). Don't expect it to be completely faithful to the original books, but it's a half decent film none the less, with adult humour and well worth a watch.
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on 7 December 2011
classic funny war film well worth buying if you like ww2 films some parts are sad but gives you a idea of how they felt before going to war
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on 21 September 2008
If you're a Milligan obsessive and this is going cheap second hand, it is probably worth a punt for the fleeting moments when Spike appears playing his own father. Otherwise take heed of the other review and avoid. If you want to see Spike onscreen most other DVDs available are funnier. If you want to engage with Milligan's humane and hilarious insights into the war; read the book that inspired this insipid film. The frustrating thing this late in the day is that Milligan's memoirs are - if anything - more needed now the WW2 generation is dying out and shattered veterans are returning from other insane battles to uncertain futures. It's time for an edgier script and an ambitious director to get together and give Milligan's memoir the movie it deserves.
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on 1 March 2008
This film is a disappointment to Milligan fans.

It is written and acted out like some sort of a Carry On style of film (very slapstick and bawdy) and completely omits all the keen observations, humanity and subtle wit of Spike's actual memoirs.

Despite reasonable performances from notable actors it fails because, like I say, it is only loosely based upon the book of the same name.

Still, some may like its comedic tomfoolery despite its dated style and lack of depth and faithfulness to Spike's memoirs.
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on 16 February 2015
Not as funny as I expected and misses much of the book's characters and incidents. I understand that for the sake of production much content needed to be dropped or merged into other characters but the training activities bore no resemblance to that related in Spike's book.
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on 14 July 2013
Funny funny funny film Spike Milligan was a very funny man his books are great his films are funny have a look.
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on 21 June 2015
As I read book before and consider it as great anti-war classic . The movie come as cheap attempt to make money on it.
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on 13 July 2015
Was very pleased with quick delivery and quality of the film.
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