130 user 46 critic

Catch-22 (1970)

R | | Comedy, Drama, War | 24 June 1970 (USA)
A man is trying desperately to be certified insane during World War II, so he can stop flying missions.


Mike Nichols


Joseph Heller (novel), Buck Henry (screenplay)
3,751 ( 236)

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Alan Arkin ... Capt. John Yossarian
Martin Balsam ... Col. Cathcart
Richard Benjamin ... Maj. Danby
Art Garfunkel ... Capt. Nately (as Arthur Garfunkel)
Jack Gilford ... Dr. 'Doc' Daneeka
Buck Henry ... Lt. Col. Korn
Bob Newhart ... Maj. Major Major
Anthony Perkins ... Chaplain Capt. A.T. Tappman
Paula Prentiss ... Nurse Duckett
Martin Sheen ... 1st Lt. Dobbs
Jon Voight ... 1st Lt. Milo Minderbinder
Orson Welles ... Brig. Gen. Dreedle
Bob Balaban ... Capt. Orr
Susanne Benton ... Dreedle's WAC
Norman Fell ... First Sgt. Towser


A bombardier in World War II tries desperately to escape the insanity of the war. However, sometimes insanity is the only sane way to cope with a crazy situation. Catch-22 is a parody of a "military mentality", and of a bureaucratic society in general. Written by Jeffrey Struyk <Catch22@ix.netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The anti-war satire of epic proportions.


Comedy | Drama | War


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »





English | Italian

Release Date:

24 June 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Trampa-22 See more »

Filming Locations:

Empalme, Sonora, Mexico See more »


Box Office


$18,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Bob Newhart started a prank rumor that Bob Balaban had died. See more »


When Major Major begins talking to Sgt Towser in his office about when others can see him, a portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt can be seen hanging on the wall behind his desk. Major Major then walks away from, then back to his desk twice more, and each time the portrait is seen, it has changed - from FDR to Winston Churchill to Joseph Stalin. This was an inside joke, done intentionally by the filmmakers to further emphasize the dream like state of the film. See more »


[first lines]
Lt. Col. Korn, XO: [speaking to Yossarian] All you have to do is be our pal.
Colonel Cathcart: Say nice things about us.
Lt. Col. Korn, XO: Tell the folks at home what a good job we're doing. Take our offer Yossarian.
Colonel Cathcart: Either that or a court-martial for desertion.
See more »


Referenced in Dawson's Creek: Catch-22 (2003) See more »


Also sprach Zarathustra
Written by Richard Strauss
Conducted by Fritz Reiner
(when Yossarian first sees Luciana)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Beyond perfect
14 July 2009 | by scottydawgSee all my reviews

There are several films I consider perfect. Not all are brilliant. There are quite a few I consider brilliant, and only a few of those are perfect. Catch-22 is not only perfect, but if there is a stronger word than brilliant, it's that too. The camera shots, the editing, the sound, the pacing, the casting, the flawless acting, the incredibly complex staging of many scenes: all done to perfection. Mike Nichols directs films sparingly, but his list of titles reads like a who's who of the greatest classics. Catch-22 is his masterpiece, as far as I'm concerned. You may not know that he earned an Oscar (not for this), a Tony and an Emmy all as best director. He may be unique in this regard, but I don't know. The book was absolutely wonderful. No movie can be an exact depiction of the book--it just doesn't work that way. However, this movie delivers the story, spirit and theme, not to mention the egregious comedy of the book better than I ever would have imagined. I could write a whole book on what I like about this film, and I won't, but after all my sweeping superlatives I need to cite a few concrete examples. 1. The mess hall conversation with Martin Sheen and others: very complex, with overlapping dialog, wonderful facials and voice characterization by Sheen and a few timely cuts, not to mention the incredible rapid fire lines delivered by Arkin. 2. The runway scene with Doc and Yossarian in which the essence of catch-22 is explained: the sound--the roar of the engines that almost but not quite drown out the dialog in spots, the incredible inverted shot of Doc handing Yossarian his hat and responding, "it's (catch-22) the best there is!" Then, the incredible visual of the planes taking off--staying with the shot, showing the sheer beauty of it and pausing from the story for a minute, so we can catch out breath. I would say Nichols is Hitchcock's equal at providing incredible visuals and being innovative at doing it. 3. The scene about Nately's 60 shares of M&M Enterprises. The cut to the close up delivery of, "then they'll understand." Exquisitely chilling line. 4. The endless stream of priceless cameo scenes: Orson Welles - "Take that man out and shoot him." The movie is outrageously funny, the script and dialog are incredibly witty and intelligent, the acting is inspired, the theme is clear without touting itself at all. A final aside: for those of you who were not in the military, I wouldn't be surprised if you thought the whole military depiction was just silly beyond words, but I can assure you that it's only one or two degrees of hyperbole. I had my share of Yossarian-like experiences in the navy.

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