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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