- 1 hr 56 min
MASH, released in 1970, is a satirical black comedy film directed by Robert Altman. The movie is set during the Korean War and follows the lives of medical personnel stationed at the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) in South Korea. The film primarily focuses on two surgeons, Captain Benjamin Franklin âHawkeyeâ Pierce (Donald Sutherland) and Captain Augustus âDukeâ Forrest (Tom Skerritt), who use humor and pranks to cope with the horrors of war. MASH opens with Hawkeye and Duke arriving at the MASH unit and immediately butting heads with Major Frank Burns (Robert Duvall), a by-the-book officer who takes his job far too seriously. The two newcomers quickly acclimate to life at the camp, which is characterized by practical jokes, casual sex, and heavy drinking. The camp is a place where the surgeons can temporarily escape the horrors of the war and indulge in their vices. As the movie progresses, the surgeons encounter various patients with a range of war-related injuries, including mental illness, traumatic amputations, and near-fatal gunshot wounds. Despite the grueling conditions, the surgeons try to maintain a sense of humor and camaraderie, often playing elaborate pranks on each other and the other officers in the camp. Alongside Hawkeye, Duke, and Major Burns is Captain John McIntyre (Elliott Gould), who is renowned for his surgical skills but is also a bit of a wild card. McIntyre is often seen flirting with the nurses and giggling during surgery, which creates friction with Burns, who disapproves of the surgeonâs behavior. As the film progresses, the MASH unit receives a surge of casualties, including a group of wounded soldiers who arrive on Christmas Eve. The doctors work tirelessly to save as many lives as possible, but one patient, a young boy, dies on the operating table. The loss deeply affects the doctors, and they are unable to hide their grief. MASH is a film about the absurdity of war and the people who must endure its horrors. Through its combination of slapstick humor and poignant drama, the movie portrays the medical personnel as flawed, complex individuals coping with the traumas of war in their own unique ways. The film was ahead of its time in its frank depiction of casual sex, drug use, and gallows humor, and it remains a classic piece of anti-war cinema. The performances in MASH are outstanding, with Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould delivering standout performances as the two primary protagonists. Tom Skerrittâs performance as Duke is quietly effective, and Robert Duvall steals every scene heâs in as the uptight Major Burns. The film was a box-office success and was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It won the Palme d'Or at the 1970 Cannes Film Festival. In summary, MASH is a dark comedy about the absurdity of war and the unconventional methods that healthcare professionals use to cope with its traumas. It contains a mix of poignant drama and slapstick humor and features excellent performances from its all-star cast. The movie continues to be considered a classic in the anti-war genre and remains a must-watch for fans of satirical comedy.