This unsatisfying war adventure is worth watching only for the central performances of Peter O'Toole as Murphy, an Irish seaman with a vendetta against a German U-boat; Sian Phillips (O'Toole's real-life wife at the time) as Hayden, a doctor who nurses Murphy back to health; and Philippe
Noiret as the French engineer who saves Murphy's life. In the final days of WW II Murphy is a member of the crew of an armed British merchant ship that is sunk off the coast of Venezuela by a German U-boat. The seamen who survive the initial attack, floundering helplessly in the water, are
mercilessly machine-gunned to death by the U-boat's commander, but Murphy survives and eventually winds up at a remote mission along the banks of the Orinoco. There he learns that the U-boat is hiding upriver, camouflaged and quietly awaiting the signing of the Armistice. Murphy, however, is bent
on revenge and plans to carry out his personal vendetta against the vessel even after the war has ended.
Though little more than a third-rate AFRICAN QUEEN, MURPHY'S WAR does boast some exciting action scenes and a picturesque South American locale. Unfortunately, the script drags, and the film sputters along like Murphy's dilapidated warplane. What promises to be an effective relationship between
Murphy and Dr. Hayden, a la Bogart and Hepburn, is quickly overshadowed by Murphy's slide into madness and his senseless vendetta, while the supposed antiwar message of the picture gets oddly obscured as Murphy wages war for personal reasons after the Armistice is signed.
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- Released: 1971
- Rating: GP
- Review: This unsatisfying war adventure is worth watching only for the central performances of Peter O'Toole as Murphy, an Irish seaman with a vendetta against a German U-boat; Sian Phillips (O'Toole's real-life wife at the time) as Hayden, a doctor who nurses Mur… (more)