Catch-22


2h 2m 1970

Brief Synopsis

Set on a small island just off Italy, circa 1944, Captain Yossarian is an American bombardier who attempts to have himself grounded by claiming he's insane.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Drama
War
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1970
Premiere Information
New York opening: 24 Jun 1970
Production Company
Filmways, Inc.; Paramount Pictures
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (New York, 1961).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 2m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

Captain Yossarian, stationed on a Mediterranean island during World War II, begs Doc Daneeka to certify him unfit for flying. Daneeka explains, however, that "Catch-22" prevents him from grounding Yossarian for insanity since anyone who voluntarily flies a bombing mission is crazy; therefore, anyone requesting to be grounded must be sane. Meanwhile, the ambitious Colonel Cathcart, who longs to be the subject of a feature article in The Saturday Evening Post , forces more missions on the men, and the inevitable strain results in bizarre behavior on the part of all. Milo Minderbinder sells parachutes and morphine from the flyers' first aid kits as part of his black market operation; Major Major agrees to admit visitors to his office only when he is away from the premises; the idealistic Captain Nately decides to marry an Italian whore, but he is killed in a bombardment of the airbase arranged by Milo in another of his financial schemes; General Dreedle awards medals to the participants of a mission who dropped their bombs in the sea; Yossarian arrives naked at the ceremony because Gunner Sergeant Snowden died in his arms and drenched his uniform with blood; Yossarian's attempt to make love with Nurse Duckett on the beach fails, and she kicks him in the groin; and Captain McWatt, flying over the ocean, slices fellow airman Hungry Joe in half with his propeller. Yossarian goes AWOL to inform Nately's whore in Rome of her lover's death and discovers that all the prostitutes now work for Milo's corporation. Later, Colonel Cathcart offers to send Yossarian back to the United States if he promises to go on a public relations tour for their unit. On the way back from the colonel's office, however, Yossarian is stabbed by Nately's whore who is disguised as a soldier. While recuperating in the hospital, he learns from Chaplain Tappman that Orr, who has crashed many planes, is now in Sweden after paddling across the sea for 16 weeks. Inspired by Orr's success, Yossarian jumps out of the hospital window, races to a rubber raft, and begins paddling across the Mediterranean.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Drama
War
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1970
Premiere Information
New York opening: 24 Jun 1970
Production Company
Filmways, Inc.; Paramount Pictures
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (New York, 1961).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 2m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Quotes

Get back in the car, you smirking slut!
- General Dreedle
Let me see if I've got this straight: in order to be grounded, I've got to be crazy and I must be crazy to keep flying. But if I ask to be grounded, that means I'm not crazy any more and I have to keep flying.
- Yossarian
Yossarian!
- Danby
I can do it, Danby!
- Yossarian
They'll catch you, they'll bring you back!
- Tappman
I can do it!
- Yossarian
This is insane!
- Danby
Those bastards are trying to kill me.
- Yossarian
No one is trying to kill you sweetheart. Now eat your dessert like a good boy.
- 1st Lt. Milo Minderbinder
Oh yeah? Then why are they shooting at me Milo?
- Yossarian
They're shooting at everyone Yossarian.
- Dobbs
And what difference does that make?
- Yossarian
Nately died a wealthy man, Yossarian. He had over sixty shares in the syndicate.
- 1st Lt. Milo Minderbinder
What difference does that make? He's dead.
- Yossarian
Then his family will get it.
- 1st Lt. Milo Minderbinder
He didn't have time to have a family.
- Yossarian
Then his parents will get it.
- 1st Lt. Milo Minderbinder

Trivia

George C. Scott turned down the role of Colonel Cathcart, saying he had effectively played the same part in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964).

While on a tirade in his office, Major Major walks past a framed photo of Franklin D. Roosevelt. In a continuous shot, he paces around his office, and when he passes the picture again, it is of Winston Churchill, as he makes one more round of his office and grabs the fake mustache out of his filing cabinet, the photo has changed to that of Joseph Stalin.

Paul Simon was originally going to be in the film, but his role was written out.

Director 'Mike Nichols' wanted 36 B-25's to create the big Army Air Force base, but the budget couldn't stretch to more than 17 flyable Mitchells, with an additional non-flyable hulk to be burned and destroyed in the landing crash scene.

The film has one of the most uninterrupted scenes made. The scene, where two actors talking against a background, 17 planes took off at the same time. As the scene progresses, the actors entered a building and the same planes were seen through the window, climbing into formation. The problem was, for every take, the production manager has to call the planes back and made to take off again for every take of the particular scene.

Notes

Location scenes filmed in Mexico and Rome. Folk musician and songwriter Art Garfunkel, famous for his partnership with Paul Simon as "Simon and Garfunkel," made his film debut in Catch-22.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Summer June 24, 1970

Released in United States on Video May 22, 2001

Opening film at new Tel-Aviv Cinematheque June 10, 1989.

Released in United States Summer June 24, 1970

Released in United States on Video May 22, 2001