Bitter Victory

Bitter Victory

Nicholas Ray (1957)

PG Certificate


Our Score
In director Nicholas Ray's taut and fraught war drama, Richard Burton and Curt Jurgens lead an assault on Rommel's HQ. But as the mission proceeds, Jurgens cracks up under the strain and takes it out on Burton. Everything stems from an affair Burton has had with Jurgens's wife (Ruth Roman). The picture veers from realism to surrealism (at one point we see Jurgens watching a scorpion crawl over Burton) and then to overblown melodrama. Jurgens is an impressive fraudulent hero, while Burton, in what many regard as one of his finest performances, comes across as a sort of TE Lawrence figure, the neurotic scholar-soldier. It's also refreshing to see Christopher Lee on the side of the angels for a change, playing a cockney sergeant in Burton's unit. It was filmed in Libya and heavily cut for American release.


Two British officers are assigned to lead a raid on a German stronghold in Libya and steal secret documents. However, one of the pair suspects the other of having had an affair with his wife and the tension between them threatens the mission. Second World War drama, starring Richard Burton, Curt Jurgens, Ruth Roman and Christopher Lee.

Cast & Crew

Capt Leith Richard Burton
Maj Brand Curt Jurgens
Mrs Brand Ruth Roman
Sgt Barney Christopher Lee
Mekrane Raymond Pellegrin
Gen Paterson Anthony Bushell
Lt Col Callander Alfred Burke
Lt Barton Sean Kelly
Lt Sanders Ramon de Larrocha
Sgt Dunnigan Ronan O'Casey
Director Nicholas Ray
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Other Information

Language: EnglishBlack and whiteTheatrical distributor: Columbia Picture Corp