MASH, 1970 Film Phenom’

Mash Movie Poster, 1970

"Mash Movie Poster, 1970"

My memories of M*A*S*H come from years ago, summers spent visiting my grandparents in Brooklyn. We would watch re-runs of the television series between the nightly news and re-runs of All in the Family with the elegant Archie Bunker. Before the television series was Robert Altman’s 1970 feature film of the same name, minus the asteriks, MASH. The film was also an adaptation, taken from a book written by Richard Hooker, MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors.
Mash, 1970 film

"The doctors of Mash relax, 1970 film..."

The New Hollywood movement began in the mid-60’s. By the time the film version of MASH emerged, in 1970, the movement was still new but past the initial blow and in a full upswing. Carrying the same rebellious nature and built to attract the same demographic as it’s predecsors Bonnie and Clyde and The Graduate, Mash was set to attract young adults with it’s wit and satirical dark humor about a subject that was near and painful to many at the time. Audiences of the time could relate to the war story. It was probably refreshing to even be able to laugh or joke about such a sore subject. I believe M*A*S*H became such a big hit because it spoke to the generation and gave it something it craved. The combination of being highly relative to it’s time and built with a personality the generation could easily get along with probably lent a hand in the films overall success. This is no surprise since most films of the New Hollywood era were young, schooled in the artistic ways of film, and ready to produce something young, fresh, hip, and more realistic then anything seen during Classic Hollywood times.

Director Robert Altman (center) on the set of Mash, 1970 film

"Director Robert Altman (center) on the set of Mash, 1970 film masterpiece..."

Robert Altman, the director of MASH, learned most of his filmmaking skills while working at a private film company producing all sorts of documentary’s and educational films. I believe MASH’s realistic and documentarian tone was due to this sort of practice and experience in Altman’s career.

Compared to the eras pre and post New Hollywood, I would say this era proved to be a time of raw, rebellious, and realistic film making that can still be appreciated today.



In many ways, M*A*S*H is the epitome of what a New Hollywood film would be: unconventional themes, strong sexual references, fresh and hip feel, focused on a young adult crowd, rebellious, clever and witty.

Awards and Nods:
Nominee, Academy Award, Best Picture, 1970
Nominee, Academy Award, Best Director, 1970, Robert Altman
Nominee, Academy Award, Best Supporting Actress, 1970, Sally Kellerman
Winner, Academy Award, Best Screenplay, 1970 (Adapted), Ring Lardner Jr.
Winner, Cannes Film Festival, Palme d’Or, 1970, Robert Altman
Winner, Golden Globe, Best Motion Picture, 1971 (Musical or Comedy)*20th Century Fox/Aspen/Kobal Collection



Cinema Image Gallery

Robert Altman IMBD


M*A*S*H TV series IMBD 

MASH wikipedia

M*A*S*H TV series wikipedia

New Hollywood wikipedia

Robert Altman NY Times

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2 Responses to MASH, 1970 Film Phenom’

  1. Juan Monroy says:

    I too knew the TV show before the film, and the film’s very critical tone towards war surprised me, too.

    Why did you not use sources from the databases?

  2. rosemarie says:

    I’m really not sure why I didn’t use from the databases. I guess I’m not used to it yet..?? It took me a while to figure out how to log in and get to the cinema image gallery, and I did that after writing everything and using other sources already. I’ll definitely use the databases for the next one. Also, I’m now realizing I shouldn’t directly use wikipedia anymore, and why.

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