Oh! What a Lovely War
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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 concentrates on a middle-class family, whose five sons end up as cannon fodder. The… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"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."
‑ Roger Ebert, RogerEbert.com
"Dedicated, exhilarating, shrewd, mocking, funny, emotional, witty, poignant and technically brilliant."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"It's a mammoth shame that this film has slipped down the back of the sofa of movie history."
‑ , Total Film
"An impressive debut from Richard Attenborough, made memorable by its all-star cast and incredible final shot."
‑ , Film4
"An often too-clever, sometimes moving piece."
‑ Chris Petit, Time Out
"The huge potential of this all-star vehicle was mainly squandered through a lack of subtlety or irony."
‑ David Parkinson, Empire Magazine
"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."
‑ Mike Barnard, Future Movies UK
"An anti-war musical whose originality has never been successfully repeated."
‑ Wesley Lovell, Cinema Sight
"[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."
‑ Vincent Canby, New York Times
"Stylised, satirical and ultimately moving."
‑ Adrian Turner, Radio Times
"Richard Attenborough's directorial debut is a sprawling, highly stylized musical satire of WWI featuring some of Britain's very finest actors."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Remains the most interesting and daring film Attenborough ever made."
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
More reviews for Oh! What a Lovely War on Rotten Tomatoes