6.7/10
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31 user 34 critic

Bitter Victory (1957)

Approved | | Drama, War | March 1958 (USA)
Trailer
2:01 | Trailer
A Commander receives a citation for an attack on General Erwin Rommel's headquarters, which is actually undeserved, as the Commander is unfit for his job. On top of that, unbeknownst to him, his wife is having an affair with one of his officers.

Director:

Nicholas Ray

Writers:

René Hardy (screenplay) (as Rene Hardy), Nicholas Ray (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Burton ... Captain Leith
Curd Jürgens ... Major Brand
Ruth Roman ... Jane Brand
Raymond Pellegrin ... Mekrane
Anthony Bushell ... General Paterson
Alfred Burke Alfred Burke ... Lt. Colonel Callander
Sean Kelly Sean Kelly ... Lieutenant Barton
Ramón de Larrocha Ramón de Larrocha ... Lieutenant Sanders (as Ramon De Larrocha)
Christopher Lee ... Sergeant Barney
Ronan O'Casey ... Sergeant Dunnigan
Fred Matter Fred Matter ... Oberst Lutze
Raoul Delfosse Raoul Delfosse ... Lieutenant Kassel
Andrew Crawford Andrew Crawford ... Private Roberts
Nigel Green ... Private Wilkins
Harry Landis ... Private Browning
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Storyline

In North Africa during World War II, Major David Brand is assigned to lead a British commando raid into German-held Benghazi to retrieve whatever documents they can lay their hands on at the German headquarters. His number two will be Capt. Jimmy Leith who speaks Arabic fluently and knows Benghazi well. Brand also learns that his beautiful wife Jane and Leith were lovers before the war, creating tension between the two. Brand is untested in battle and freezes at a critical moment, losing the respect of his men. After the raid, the trek back is arduous and takes its toll on the men. It also results in only one of the two senior officers surviving. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

30 Fighting "Desert Rats" Invade Africa's Fortress See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | USA

Language:

English | German | Arabic

Release Date:

March 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bitter Victory See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Upon seeing this at the Venice Film Festival, Jean-Luc Godard said his iconic statement "Le cinema, c'est Nicholas Ray (The cinema is Nicholas Ray)." See more »

Goofs

Brand whistles at the ruined fort, but the sound of the whistle comes about one second later. See more »

Quotes

Major Brand: War is not murder.
Capt. Leith: [chuckling condescendingly] Brand, you're wonderful! You have the Christian decency that forbids killing a dying man but ignores the work of a sharpshooter.
Major Brand: [defensively] Well, war is killing.
Capt. Leith: [laughing] Better and better. So, the fine line between war and murder is distane... Anybody can kill at a distance with the same sort of courage that a man shoots rabbits, but when it cokes to the dirty work. you have to call on a civilian.
Major Brand: What is it that you're trying to say?
Capt. Leith: That I ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

End credits are designed to look like they came from a typewriter (although in white on a dark background). There are no upper case letters (capitals) in the credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Dreamers (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"...I contradict myself...."
25 June 2019 | by Brucey_DSee all my reviews

Well directed and atmospherically photographed, this is no mere action film but more a study of the human condition, viewed through a particular prism, distilled in the crucible of conflict.

Slightly odd casting choices here but the quality of the performances is high and the overall result is pretty good. This isn't a film to watch if you just want to see another war flick, this is more a film to watch if you want to see how a character study is made.

I think it adds that this film is in black and white; it is after all the only thing about the film that is, er, black and white. However there is a whole generation of would-be film-goers who simply won't watch films like this one because 'they are old-fashioned' and being in monochrome is seen as part of that. It is their loss, of course, but one wonders how the film would have stacked up had it been made in colour instead.

On paper, one of the chief protagonists ought to have been delighted at the final outcome, but of course this isn't necessarily the case. There are no real heroes here, only the living and the dead, both flawed, and the dead don't get to tell their story.

This isn't a truly great film but it is a pretty good one; definitely worth a watch. Seven out of ten from me.


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