Bitter Victory
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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… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Nicholas Ray's direction of black-and-white CinemaScope, that freak child of the 50s, is consistently brilliant in this raw, confused masterpiece."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"The title tells all."
‑ , Time Out
"There is a sense that while the men here are well-versed in the theories of war, they are clueless about the realities of combat."
‑ Derek Smith, Cinematic Reflections
"Bitter Victory shows Ray at the height of his powers, making beautiful use of his black-and-white Cinemascope frame."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"A brilliant, shamefully neglected war movie."
‑ Jamie Russell,
"Contemplating the dangerous games men play with macho self-images, this survives as one of Ray's greatest works."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"The film's military detail is in most respects quite ludicrous."
‑ Philip French, Observer [UK]
"It's one of Ray's more powerful films."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"The whole picture, deeply pessimistic and subversive, exerts a fierce grip."
‑ Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
"Has almost become eclipsed by the thunder of Jean-Luc Godard's infamously rapturous tribute in the pages of Cahiers."
‑ Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine
"Fine thesping by Richard Burton leads a series of top performances by other members of large cast."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"Odd amalgam of a French film, starring a British, German, and American trio, directed by an American and written by three men from different countries."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Nicholas Ray directs with an uncompromising austerity that puts the hypocrisy and the bitter inhumanity of war in focus..."
‑ Sean Axmaker, St@tic Multimedia
"A starkly shot and probing inquiry into notions of cowardice and heroism."
‑ , Film4
"...characters remain woefully underdeveloped."
‑ David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews
More reviews for Bitter Victory on Rotten Tomatoes