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Oh! What a Lovely War

Oh! What a Lovely War (1969)

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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 2

audience

75

liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 771

My Rating

Movie Info

Oh! What a Lovely War is an every-man-for-himself adaptation of Charles Chilton's 1963 play, as staged in London by Joan Littlewood. The tragedy of World War I is redefined in bawdy music-hall terms, beginning with a verbal free-for-all involving the Crowned Heads of Europe. The war is presented as the "new attraction" at the Brighton Amusement Pier, complete with syrupy cheer-up songs, shooting galleries, free prizes and a scoreboard toting up the dead. Throughout the proceedings, the camera

Nov 7, 2006

Paramount Pictures

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All Critics (12) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (9) | Rotten (3)

It is an elaborately staged tableau, a dazzling use of the camera to achieve essentially theatrical effects. And judged on that basis, Richard Attenborough has given us a breathtaking evening.

August 25, 2014 Full Review Source: RogerEbert.com
RogerEbert.com
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An often too-clever, sometimes moving piece.

August 25, 2014 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
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[Attenborough] has chosen to make a big, elaborate, sometimes realistic film whose elephantine physical proportions and often brilliant all-star cast simply overwhelm the material with a surfeit of good intentions.

August 25, 2014 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
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Dedicated, exhilarating, shrewd, mocking, funny, emotional, witty, poignant and technically brilliant.

February 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The huge potential of this all-star vehicle was mainly squandered through a lack of subtlety or irony.

August 25, 2014 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Stylised, satirical and ultimately moving.

August 25, 2014 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

It's a mammoth shame that this film has slipped down the back of the sofa of movie history.

August 25, 2014 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

This 1969 classic features some top names from movie history, including the late Laurence Olivier and British greats Maggie Smith and Ian Holm, and impressively staged music hall songs.

August 25, 2014 Full Review Source: Future Movies UK

Richard Attenborough's directorial debut is a sprawling, highly stylized musical satire of WWI featuring some of Britain's very finest actors.

August 25, 2014 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

An impressive debut from Richard Attenborough, made memorable by its all-star cast and incredible final shot.

August 25, 2014 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

An anti-war musical whose originality has never been successfully repeated.

August 15, 2011 Full Review Source: Cinema Sight
Cinema Sight

Remains the most interesting and daring film Attenborough ever made.

April 9, 2008 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for Oh! What a Lovely War

A strange and interesting Great War film that presents the conflict as, among other things, a garish seaside carnival to which everyone wanted a ticket. More than many films I've seen based on plays, this one incorporates elements of staging you'd expect from the theatre without any ill effects; in some scenes, it's like there's a camera in the theatre and you can see literal set pieces, while others (increasingly, as the film goes on) immerse you in the action you'd need to mostly imagine were you in a theatre. I also found in places that the film's sense of the absurd (if not its hilarity) rivalled that of Monty Python. Do we call it a satire? I think so... but its project of laying bare the conflict's human cost and its deference to the symbolic value of the poppy and the increasingly fatalistic songs of the soldiers is worth noting, too. In all it's not an overly exciting movie to watch, but it's a rich and layered document that ought to survive.
December 18, 2013
danperry17

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