Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
M*A*S*H is a 1970 satirical American dark comedy film directed by Robert Altman, based extremely loosely on the novel written by Richard Hooker. Nominally about an outfit of medical personnel stationed at a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War, the film stars Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould. Robert Duvall, Sally Kellerman, Tom Skerritt, Bud Cort, Gary Burghoff and Fred Williamson are also featured. M*A*S*H went on to inspire a M*A*S*H television series.
M*A*S*H, unlike many war films, has an anti-war message, but delivers it with a light touch through moderate anarchy, bizarre conversation, and the boredom, stress, and resentment of the drafted physicians. The film's critics disliked the film's limits on war carnage in favor of camp existence, and also for a certain callous attitude, notably in the treatment of the characters Major Burns (Duvall) and Major O'Houlihan (Kellerman).
The film is episodic, with considerable changes in tone and marked by Altman's trademark style of overlapping conversations or sounds and unusual use of zoom. In the director's commentary on the DVD release of this film, Altman claims that this was the first movie to dare use the word "fuck" (spoken during the football game near the end of the film). This is perhaps untrue, however, as the movies I'll Never Forget What's 'Isname and Ulysses (both released in 1967) each claim to be the first to utter the famous profanity.
- Donald Sutherland as Capt. Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce
- Elliott Gould as Capt. John Francis Xavier "Trapper John" McIntyre
- Tom Skerritt as Capt. Augustus Bedford "Duke" Forrest
- Sally Kellerman as Major Margaret "Hot Lips" O'Houlihan
- Robert Duvall as Major Frank Burns
- Roger Bowen as Lt. Col. Henry Braymore Blake
- Rene Auberjonois as Father John Patrick "Dago Red" Mulcahy
- John Schuck as Capt. Walter Kosciusko "Painless" Waldowski, DDS
- David Arkin as SSgt. Vollmer/PA Announcer
- Jo Ann Pflug as Lt. Maria "Dish" Schneider
- Gary Burghoff as Cpl. Walter "Radar" O'Reilly
- Fred Williamson as Capt. Oliver Harmon "Spearchucker" Jones
- Michael Murphy as Capt. Ezekiel Bradbury "Me Lay" Marston IV
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