My Review of ‘Catch-22’ (1970)


I remember reading this book and thinking, “My God. How could you possibly make a movie out of this?” And yet Mike Nichols managed it handily.

This anti-war satire revolves around the hapless Captain Yossarian (played with gusto by Alan Arkin). Ever since the death of Snowden, in a scene that repeats throughout the movie in surreal intensity, Yossarian begs to be taken down from flying.

And yet the number of required missions keeps rising, at the insistence of Colonel Cathcart (Martin Balsam) and Lt. Colonel Korn (Buck Henry).

Catch-22 takes its name from the circular logic that posits that the only way to be taken down from flying missions is to be crazy. However, when you make a request to stop flying, it negates the reason for granting your request. Thus, you have a catch – and it’s called Catch-22.

Featuring a stellar cast, including Bob Newhart, Orson Welles, Paula Prentice, Richard Benjamin, Anthony Perkins and Art Garfunkel, just to name a few, Catch-22 is a satire that will never grow old.

This scene is one of my favorites! “It’s better to live on your feet than to die on your knees!”

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5 Responses to My Review of ‘Catch-22’ (1970)

  1. Great post. I need to watch this. The cast is incredible. Thank you for submitting to The Classic Movie Marathon Link Party.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Debbi says:

      You’re very welcome! 🙂 This is not only one of my favorite anti-war movies, but I was amazed how well it was adapted from the book. As for the cast … top-notch all-around.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the book, but I have to admit that the movie left me disappointed. The cast were great, but it felt to me like it was just connecting the dots, not telling a cohesive story. But like you said, it’s not a novel that lends itself to adaptation very easily, so I think they did about the best they could.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Debbi says:

      I think it was a really ambitious film. I wouldn’t have thought the book film-able at all. And the actors totally make the movie! Alan Arkin, Martin Balsam, Bob Newhart, Charles Grodin, Anthony Perkins, Orson Welles … what a line-up! 🙂

      I also think the movie was unusual for its time. You could compare the non-sequential narrative with more modern movies like Pulp Fiction or Memento, and it stacks up favorably against them.


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