Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 7 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    100
    Clever camera setups, Altman's patented overlapping dialogue, wonderful sight gags and situations, and universally fine ensemble performances combine to make this one the most enjoyable war-themed films ever.
  2. 100
    We laugh, that we may not cry. But none of this philosophy comes close to the insane logic of "M*A*S*H," which is achieved through a peculiar marriage of cinematography, acting, directing, and writing.
  3. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    100
    M.A.S.H., one of America's funniest bloody films, is also one of its bloodiest funny films.
  4. Reviewed by: Clark Collis
    80
    Bitterly funny with perfect set-piece after perfect set-piece.
  5. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    70
    In the end M.A.S.H. succeeds, in spite of its glaring faults, because Gould, Sutherland, Skerritt, Jo Ann Pflug as the delicious Lt. Dish, and Roger Bowen, as the goof-off commanding officer who is bright enough to recognize his junior officers' medical competence and stay out of their way, are all believable and bitingly funny in their casual disdain for the Army.
  6. A somewhat adolescent if stylish antiauthoritarian romp about an irreverent U.S. medical unit during the Korean war
  7. Reviewed by: Roger Greenspun
    60
    Although it is impudent, bold, and often very funny, it lacks the sense of order (even in the midst of disorder) that seems the special province of successful comedy.
User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 20 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Mar 4, 2012
    6
    I come from the most peaceful time militarily in number of years. I've always known the stigma around Vietnam, and lord knows the concept of vulgar comedies has thrived in my lifetime. South Park, anyone? And though I know little of the Korean War, I get that M*A*S*H was groundbreaking when Robert Altman unleashed the film version of the book in 1970 because it not only made light of war, which, when the book was released in 1968, was a hot topic, but also because of the unique pacing of the film and the astoundingly vulgar situations, by even today's standards. The film, I didn't know, was originally given an X rating. However, I always thought the TV series was painfully boring. I still think it is one of the most overrated shows ever. So the desire to see the original film was not in me. Yet, I did. My take is that there is vulgar and there is disturbing. If I took M*A*S*H contextually at its time in history, I get it's relevance. I realize there was nothing like this movie at the time, and has been little like it since. I praise it for being such a groundbreaking film, but to watch it for the first time in 2012 is a hard thing to do. Especially as a Gen-Exer, who can't appreciate why making fun of war so strongly is a humorous thing. Why being so insensitive to women, blacks and authority in general while at war makes absolutely no sense to me. I found the movie dull. I may have chuckled a couple of times, but maybe this movie's genius is that it is such a strong portrayal, albeit unrealistic, of what war does to its participants and the inhumane conditions it expects modern people to accept, so the way they cope is to cure the boredom and sadness with as much outlandishness as can entertain them. I understand that the book was meant to be a satirical and over-the-top comedy about war told from someone who was very much against war, but had to participate in war, but calling it a comedy is stretching things a bit far. At best, it's an inside joke. To me, it just wasn't funny. Full Review »
  2. Jan 15, 2012
    9
    MASH delivers in the same ways all the truly great New Hollywood films do. It challenges both traditional Hollywood filmmaking (through unconventional titles and end credits, over-lapping dialogue and ad-libbing) and American government policy of the late 1960s (though the film is set in the Korean War, the subtext is clearly about the far more contemporary and relevant Vietnam conflict) Genre-smashing maverick Robert Altman directs, and he and writer Ring Lardner Jr put an interesting spin on the war film by including a liberal dose of black humour and satire. The MASH camp is presented like a highschool, with all the archetypal characters associated with that location - you've got the by-the book senior students (Robert Duvall's Major Frank Burns and Sally Kellerman's Major "Hot Lips" Houlihan), the jocks (Donald Sutherland's Captain "Hawkeye" Pierce, Elliott Gould's Captain "Trapper John" McIntyre and Tom Skerritt's Captain "Duke" Forrest), the nerds (Rene Auberjonois' Father "Dago Red" Mulcahy, John Schuck's dentist Captain "Painless" Waldowski, Gary Burghoff's Corporal "Radar" O'Reilly) and even an incompetent principal (Roger Bowen's Lt. Colonel Blake). The screenplay quite rightly won an Academy Award, and all the dialogue has a very naturalistic, believable feel. It's probably worth re-watching the film a few times to pick up on all the jokes - there are so many brilliant throw-away one-liners that are lost in amongst the overlapping dialogue. That's MASH's crowning achievement really - yes, it's intellectual, political and extremely well made and performed, but above all else it's side-splittingly funny. The film works on multiple levels, but works the best as an extremely black comedy that is as hard hitting now as it was in 1970. Full Review »
  3. Aug 27, 2010
    7
    As a movie with no running plot, the screenplay has to purely rely on the antics of all the characters interacting with each other to keep some sort of tether to the ground. Unfortunately, this tactic doesn't really start working until about 30 minutes into the film, when the viewer can finally start understanding some of what the hell is going on between the surplus of characters. Overall, it's just not as cohesive and smooth as Altman's later work, but is still a great directorial debut. Also, to be fair, it does have more than its share of hilarious and memorable moments. Full Review »