A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Trapper John and Hawkeye are sexist: Trapper John calling Hot Lips a "sultry bitch" and demand she be stripped naked and brought to him. He also asks for a nurse "who knows how to work in close without getting her tits in my way." Duke doesn't want to share his bunk with a black man, calling him a "negro boy." When one character thinks he might be gay, they call him a "fairy" and a "raging queen" and joke that he's okay because "he hasn't started raping anyone yet." They both speak gibberish Japanese when they land in Japan. They drug the star football players to win. They gamble and Hawkeye steals a Jeep.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of emergency room blood: spurting blood, bloody body parts, sawing body parts. A doctor wants to kill himself because he thinks he's gay. Trapper John hits Burns. Burns attacks Hawkeye. Some football violence, including tackling and players being carted off the field on stretchers.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Lots of bawdy talk about brothels, masterbation, penis size, and lots of sexual comments about the female nurses on base. The guys rig it so Hoolihan exposes herself to the whole camp. Burns and Hoolihan have sex and their sounds are broadcast across the camp, Hawkeye has sex with a married nurse and encourages her to have sex with a man who thinks he's gay to "cure" him. Col. Blake is shown in bed with a much younger nurse.
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Considerable swearing, including "f--k," "hell," "son of a bitch," "ass," "dammit," "bitch," "goddamn" and "tits."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Considerable drinking and some smoking. Hawkeye and Trapper John drink martinis. Hawkeye talks about drinking gin and scotch separately. It's implied that characters are using speed. Everyone drinks beer. Football players are high.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this classic film is excellent -- and also shows the marks of its time (1970) and the era in which it was set (the Korean War in the 1950s) with considerable sexist, racist, and xenophobic behavior. Hawkeye and Trapper John sexually harass Hoolihan because she disagrees with their free-wheeling behavior. Duke calls a black neurosurgeon a "negro boy" and Hawkeye and Trapper John speak gibberish Japanese. There's also considerable sex and brief nudity, as well as lots of surgery-related blood and gore. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
It's easy to see why this blockbuster film became such a great TV show. Its series of wacky antics – including the pseudo suicide of a well-endowed dentist and golfing in Japan -- resemble nothing so much as a series of TV shows. There's no plot other than undoing the rigidness on which the military depends.
While this is all fun, it's also likely to be offensive to many viewers. The extreme sexism and sexualization of the female nurses, the homophobic comments about a man who thinks he might be gay, and the condescending attitudes about people of color may be accurate for their time, but are likely to mar some people's enjoyment of the film.
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Our Editors Recommend
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