Battle Circus

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"M-G-M's great drama of desire under fire!"
  • NR
  • 1953
  • 1 hr 30 min
  • 5.9  (1,654)

Battle Circus is a 1953 war drama film featuring Humphrey Bogart, June Allyson, and Keenan Wynn. Set during the Korean War, the film offers a unique perspective on the conflicts and challenges of war. Directed by Richard Brooks and produced by Pandro S. Berman, this movie offers an engaging portrayal of the lives of medical personnel stationed at a mobile army surgical hospital (MASH) during the Korean War.

The movie first introduces us to the main character, Major Jed Webbe (Humphrey Bogart), a military surgeon who has just arrived in Korea. Major Webbe is a dedicated and talented surgeon, but he is also an embittered man who does not believe in the politics of the Korean War. His pessimism and anger is showcased when he describes the war as a "mistake" while he is in conversation with Lieutenant Ruth McGara (June Allyson), a nurse duty-bound to her role in the warzone.

Amidst these circumstances, the hospital begins to receive a stream of wounded soldiers, and the busy and chaotic atmosphere of the health unit is brought to the fore. Major Webbe and Lieutenant McGara both work tirelessly to save lives, with the Major being further challenged by his new position as chief of surgery in the MASH unit. In this role, he confronts the challenge of keeping his staff operating at their best, while being constantly troubled by the difficulties of his personal life and his war-induced cynicism.

We are also introduced to Corporal John 'Rusty' Kijinski (Keenan Wynn), a soldier who is attached to the MASH unit. Rusty is not your typical soldier; he is a clown, a jester, and the unit's comic relief. Yet, Rusty is much more than that. He has a heart of gold, and his humor serves as a buffer between the doctors and nurses of the unit and the horrors of war they encounter daily.

While Major Webbe and Lieutenant McGara work closely to save lives, they struggle to come to terms with their own personal pain and pasts. Major Webbe, a former doctor whose wife died after being neglected by the doctors, now struggles to connect with others while Lieutenant McGara, a recent widow herself, remains dedicated to her personal life and navigating her work within the hospital. The two begin to bond over their shared history of loss.

As the conflict intensifies, the hospital is targeted by enemy fire, and the team must quickly move everything to a safer location. However, the chaos of the conflict begins to take its toll on the team, and the constant loss of life begins to wear down the military personal. People are brought closer together, and relationships form between people who would not normally have come together. It is during this time that Major Webbe and Lieutenant McGara realize their attraction to one another. However, the personal challenges and scars from their past threaten to tear them apart.

Overall, Battle Circus is a powerful and engaging movie that explores the complexities of the Korean War while showing the impact it had on the personal lives of military personnel. The movie provides an insight into the difficulties that wounds and war trauma can have on the people who have to deal with such issues daily. The cast, featuring Humphrey Bogart, June Allyson, and Keenan Wynn showcase their talents masterfully, creating a moving and emotional piece that is well remembered by those who have seen it. Battle Circus is a heart-wrenching exploration of the human spirit, and the movie is a fitting tribute to the people who faced the realities of war during the Korean conflict.

Battle Circus is a 1953 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 30 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.9.

Battle Circus
Where to Watch Battle Circus
Battle Circus is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Battle Circus for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 30 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    5.9  (1,654)