Interpersonal conflict -- Drama, Soldiers -- Drama, War -- Psychological aspects -- Drama, World War, 1939-1945 -- Africa, North -- Drama, World War, 1939-1945 -- Commando operations -- Africa, North -- Drama, World War, 1939-1945 -- Moral and ethical aspects -- Drama

Bitter Victory

Restored Full-Length ‘Scope Print

Bitter Victory is not a reflection of life, it is life turned into a film . . . at once the most direct and the most secret of films, the most subtle and the crudest.

Jean-Luc Godard

Curd Jürgens, Richard Burton, Ruth Roman, Raymond Pellegrin,

In 1942, two British officers in the Libyan desert lead a commando raid to steal secret papers from Rommel's headquarters, all the while locked in bitter personal conflict. Richard Burton is compelling as Captain Leith, a seeming idealist. In the other corner is Curd Jürgens's Major Brand, whose acts of cowardice reflect both a disquieting personality trait and a calculated revenge born of jealousy. Ray constructed a war drama of bitter paradoxes—the raid succeeds but fails, and the coward is branded a hero—one that was also a breakthrough in the realist aesthetic.

Judy Bloch
  • Nicholas Ray
  • Gavin Lambert
  • Rene Hardy
Based On
  • the novel by Hardy

  • Michel Kelber
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 'Scope 35mm
  • 103 mins
  • Sony Pictures

CineFiles is an online database of BAMPFA's extensive collection of documentation covering world cinema, past and present.

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Bitter victory (review), Reader (Chicago, Ill.), Jonathan Rosenbaum, 2004

Prisoners of war (review), Reader (Chicago, Ill.), Jonathan Rosenbaum, 2004

The cinema is Nicholas Ray (program note), Cinematheque Ontario/a division of Toronto International Film Festival Group, James Quandt, 2003

Amère victoire (program note), Cinémathèque Française, Jean Luc Godard, 1981

The films of Nicholas Ray (program note), Pacific Film Archive, 1973

Bitter victory (review), Variety, Robert F. Hawkins, 1957

Bitter victory (review)

Amere victoire (review), Monthly Film Bulletin

[Nicholas Ray films] (program note), National Film Theatre (London, England)

Bitter victory (distributor materials), Kit Parker Films

Displaying 10 of 15 publicly available documents.

View all Bitter Victory documentation on CineFiles.