Bitter Victory (1957) - Rotten Tomatoes

Bitter Victory (1957)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Bitter Victory Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

In Nicholas Ray's WWII drama, two British officers, Captain Leith (Richard Burton) and Major Brand (German character actor Curd Jürgens, who would later play Bond foe Karl Stromberg in The Spy Who Loved Me), a South African, are being considered to lead a daring raid to steal crucial documents from a Nazi stronghold in Libya. The two don't seem particularly fond of each other. Brand's wife, Jane (Ruth Roman of Strangers on a Train), arrives on the base. There's an odd awkwardness when Brand introduces her to Leith at the officers' club. It turns out the two already know each other, intimately. They were romantically involved long ago, until Leith broke it off without warning. Jane later met Brand. Leith and Jane keep their relationship a secret from Brand, but he realizes something's up when he goes out for a bit and comes back to find them dancing together. He later gets angry when his wife slips up and refers to Leith as "Jimmy." Brand and Leith are chosen to lead the mission together. Jane says goodbye to Leith, and Wilkins (Nigel Green of The Ipcress File) and some other soldiers see them together. The raid goes fairly smoothly, until Brand can't bring himself to kill a German sentry, and Leith feels compelled to step in and do it for him. Brand's resentment of Leith grows. The team steals the documents and heads out across the desert to make their escape. They're attacked by a German patrol, and after the melee, Brand arouses suspicious when he orders Leith to stay with three badly wounded soldiers while the rest of the group leaves for the rendezvous point. Bitter Victory is based on the novel by René Hardy. Jean-Luc Godard famously said of the film in his review, "Nicholas Ray is cinema."more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Art House & International, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Paul Gallico, René Hardy, Vladimir Pozner, Gavin Lambert, Nicholas Ray
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 22, 2005
Sony Pictures Entertainment


Richard Burton
as Capt. Leith
Curd Jürgens
as Maj. David Brand
Ruth Roman
as Jane Brand
Anthony Bushell
as Gen. Paterson
Alfred Burke
as Lt. Col. Callander
Christopher Lee
as Sgt. Barney
Sean Kelly
as Lt. Barton
Ramon de Larrocha
as Lt. Sanders
Nigel Green
as Pvt. Wilkins
Harry Landis
as Pvt. Berowing
Jo Davray
as Pvt. Spicer
Sumner Williams
as Pvt. Anderson
Ronan O'Casey
as Sgt. Dunnigan
Fred Matter
as Col. Lutze
Andrew Crawford
as Pvt. Roberts
Raoul Delfosse
as Lt. Kassel
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Bitter Victory

Critic Reviews for Bitter Victory

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (5)

Nicholas Ray's direction of black-and-white CinemaScope, that freak child of the 50s, is consistently brilliant in this raw, confused masterpiece.

Full Review… | October 23, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Contemplating the dangerous games men play with macho self-images, this survives as one of Ray's greatest works.

Full Review… | October 23, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Fine thesping by Richard Burton leads a series of top performances by other members of large cast.

Full Review… | October 23, 2007
Top Critic

The title tells all.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | February 23, 2012
Top Critic

The film's military detail is in most respects quite ludicrous.

Full Review… | October 23, 2007
Observer [UK]

Audience Reviews for Bitter Victory


one of ray's more neglected films, it's a stunning black and white widescreen character study of the intense struggle between two british officers on a hopeless mission in the libyan desert. i somehow never realized before that richard burton was hot at one point in time

Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

Stark drama of principles in wartime. Excellent performances from the three leads. Ruth Roman's part is small but integral to the plot and she makes the most of it.

jay nixon

Super Reviewer

Burton is strong as is Ray's direction, but this story just falls flat

Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

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