M*A*S*H - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

M*A*S*H Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ September 8, 2007
Robert Altman's film about wartime Korea actually has very little to do with Korea and everything to do with the counterculture revolution, circa 1968 or so, going on in the good old U.S. of A. So its the squares against the hippies more or less, with the backdrop being the blood and guts of that nigh forgotten "police action" (that mainly presaged our other police actions all across the globe). Practically the best thing about this film is how, while capturing the zeitgeist of the times, the swing of the societal pendulum towards liberalism, it also predicted the fall of that same as well because none of the "cool" and "smart" guys actually have anything better to offer in terms of an answer to societal woes.
Super Reviewer
January 24, 2015
Altman's anti-war classic is a delicious satire - irreverent, subversive and downright hilarious -, with a perfect episodic structure for the sort of anti-establishment vibe it aims for and making the most of its compositions (the Last Supper gag is hysterical) and overlapping improvised dialogue.
Super Reviewer
March 21, 2014
While certainly the humor is dated, M*A*S*H is still witty and smart, and has an episodic format that works well.
Super Reviewer
November 13, 2006
The staff of a mobile army surgical hospital work and play near the front lines of the Korean war. Robert Altman's satire was released just as the tide of public opinion had began to turn against America's presence in Vietnam and is clearly an analogy for the war, but unlike most other stories rooted in that particular conflict, M*A*S*H doesn't have any real moral message or even plot to get your teeth into. It's a loose collection of sketches in which double act Elliot Gould and Donald Sutherland crack wise, play practical jokes, football and golf in between stints in surgery. And that's it. It's never even particularly funny; more mildly amusing than laugh out loud funny (although Roger Bowen's distinctly unmilitary camp commander did raise a few chuckles from me) but it is always entertaining. Successful enough to spawn a long running TV sitcom, M*A*S*H is a fun if slight diversion that'll amuse but never change anyone's world.
Super Reviewer
½ April 16, 2007
I just don't get what was so great about M*A*S*H*. Maybe satire was not common at the time, and maybe subverting the army and various wars wasn't either. OK. But for a film to be so directionless - and frankly, unfunny - was disheartening. Pointless escapade after pointless escapade, and no real purpose for them revealed in the end. I'll give credit to the acting, though, and to Altman for tipping his hand early with the advertisements over the loudspeaker about the empty, fun war movies the soldiers in theatre were expected to watch. Juxtaposing the humourous situations with the hospital scenes helped the film invoke some gallows humour, except for the fact that it wasn't particularly funny: oooh, we pulled down the tarp and exposed the hot girl; wow, we played golf and scammed a trip to Tokyo. These war stories are the stuff of real life, I'm sure, but the movie itself is as boring as those stories, told by someone with no real plot in mind, to someone who wasn't there. The audience isn't really in on this joke at anytime, and as a war movie, it pretty much ignores the war. Huge letdown; this is apparently a seminal American film, but there was nothing here for me.
Directors Cat
Super Reviewer
½ November 6, 2011
A classic hilarious example of quality black comedy. M*a*s*h has so many funny quotes and characters that it'll make you laugh more and more upon multiple viewings. Some jokes of which there are very few are however hit and miss.
Super Reviewer
October 27, 2011
A still hilarious black comedy that boasts hysterical performances from Gould, Sutherland, Skerritt and Duvall.
Super Reviewer
March 24, 2011
I hate to say it, because this is an American classic, but "M*A*S*H" is now very dated. It's hard to appreciate the humor and satire in today's day and age. But thankfully Robert Altman's film is still a nice piece of filmic history. It's fun to see Altman's sensibilities coming to life for the first time: his large ensemble, the overlapping dialogue, the use of the zoom lens to highlight specific aspects of the mise en scene and cast, the witty dialogue and human comedy. I also love that "M*A*S*H" is funniest when the situations are closest to death and despair. It's an interesting combination. I also very much enjoyed the performances by Elliot Gould, Donald Sutherland, Tom Skerritt and Sally Kellerman. I still think that by today's standards the film is very tame, but it's fun to look back on something that was very influential and risky for it's time. As a piece of film comedy history, "M*A*S*H" still works reasonably well.
Super Reviewer
½ September 5, 2010
Funnier than the show in my opinion, but I hate the show, so I don't know if I'm a great judge of that. Anyway, this movie has a great cast, but the story meanders. It has some really funny moments but the story could be a lot better.
Super Reviewer
March 27, 2008
"M*A*S*H" is now probably best known as a television series, which isn't surprising, the series lasted over a decade,i loved it and had to check out the movie...i found it wonderfully entertaining and well worth watching, a stellar anti-war comedy,i just think its as good as comedy can get!!
Super Reviewer
February 24, 2010
"I wonder how such a degenerated person ever reached a position of authority in the Army Medical Corps."

The staff of a Korean War field hospital use humor and hijinks to keep their sanity in the face of the horror of war.

Once that now famous and haunting opening theme song, "Suicide Is Painless," has finished playing, "MASH" bursts on to the screen in a blaze of sound and movement. It's a typical Altman film, and that's a huge compliment. It may not seem like anything special now, because his style has been so influential on all manner of present-day filmmakers, but at the time, audiences had never seen a major studio film whose ordering principle was mass chaos.

Altman films have forever spoiled for me just a tiny bit all other carefully framed, carefully constructed conventional films, because his movies feel so alive in a way that other films don't. "MASH" is gloriously crazy, with all of the actors talking over one another and no apparent thought given to the framing of scenes. Altman has said that he wants his audiences to have to work at his movies. You have to decide what you want to listen to and who you want to watch, because virtually every character in the frame at any given moment is doing or saying something that's no less important than what some other character is doing or saying. But don't be fooled. Altman may have claimed innocence in imposing any kind of directorial hand on his material, but his films are as craftily constructed as any other. "MASH" begins with a montage of wounded soldiers being delivered to the medical unit for treatment, and one of the last shots of the film shows a dead body wrapped in a bright white sheet being driven through the MASH unit while in the foreground a group of doctors play cards, pausing only momentarily to glance at the sight. The message is clear. This casual framing approach that in a sense brings the story back to where we started tells us that there is an organizing principle to the lunacy and madness, and that principle is death.
Super Reviewer
September 2, 2009
This was a funny, straightforward movie. There was very little climax, if any at all, however, it was still fun to watch and you could definitely see the potential for the makings of a wonderful TV series that was based on this film.
Super Reviewer
March 24, 2007
The war movie with the least amount of war in it.
Super Reviewer
½ June 9, 2007
You know how I always feel in an Altman movie? Like I'm retarded. I cannot for the life of me understand what these people are talking without the aid of subtitles, rewinds, and frequent glances at the plot summary. But for some reason he still always pulls through for me. Once I'm in the zone, I'm in the zone. I feel the dry wit, the dirty situation, and the camaraderie. It's difficult for me to finish but I always, always power through.

This is quite an episodic film, and I really enjoy that. And even though certain things I STILL don't understand, the suicide scene, the football, and the ending are unbelievable. Things like this make me look forward to the rest of the Altman movies, even though I know I won't understand them.
Super Reviewer
May 24, 2009
Delightfully funny! LOVED the TV series as a kid.
Super Reviewer
August 1, 2006
Despite taking place during the Korean War, this film fits in quite nicely/easily with the Anti-Establishment/counterculture from the era which it was filmed/released during. The show was a spin-off from this, but is almost nothing like it. This movie is far superior, and not just because it is heavier (although that does help). This is a very black comedy/satire, but the humor is very dry and dark, bordering on cruel, but still funny that it makes one laugh, if only to keep from shedding a tear or two. All of the performances are brilliant, especially the ones from Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould. Robert Altman's anarchic, cinema verite style direction is equally brilliant and unparalled. Not only is this a brilliant film in its own right, its also one of the best "war is Hell" films, and also the best depiction of military life during the Korean War as well.
Super Reviewer
January 24, 2007
One of the best comedies ever made. A classic.
Super Reviewer
October 25, 2006
Not amazing as a whole as M*A*S*H is a little disjointed, but certain scenes are amazing--namely the suicide, Japan and the football game sequences. M*A*S*H is completely random and essentially has no plot, yet it works in the highest level of intelligent brainlessness--if that makes any sense. M*A*S*H has a great cast, namely with Sutherland and Gould together and even though I watched him for nearly 2 hours I did not recognize Tom Skerritt. The only thing that got me more than that song ("Suicide is Painless") is the way that Robert Altman ended the movie--just as randomly as any scene in the movie. One of the best endings to a movie I've ever seen. I was going to give it 3 1/2 stars but that ending pushed it to 4.
Super Reviewer
September 24, 2006
A very funny movie that inspired the seemingly endless tv series. A great mix of comedy and the bloodiness of war. Sutherland and Gould make a great team of two doctors that just don't give a fuck, and will do what it takes to enjoy their jobs.
Super Reviewer
December 17, 2013
Compared to the TV series that it inspired, the movie trumps. It is a comedy but it is ultimately the sober look at life during the Korean War that makes it memorable. There is a Vietnam inspired element for sure.
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