Murphy's War (1971)

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Released 2-Aug-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category War None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1971
Running Time 101:39
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Peter Yates

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Peter O'Toole
Siân Phillips
Philippe Noiret
Horst Janson
John Hallam
Ingo Mogendorf
Case Amaray Variant
RPI $9.95 Music John Barry
Ken Thorne

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Murphy (Peter O'Toole) is a sailor aboard the RNMS Mount Kyle. While sailing near South America they are attacked by a German U-Boat. The U-Boat sinks their ship and then proceeds to gun down any survivors in the water.

    Murphy survives the encounter and is rescued by some natives. The natives bring him to the local hospital, where Dr. Hayden (Sian Phillips) tends to his wounds. A short time later the pilot of the seaplane on board the Mount Kyle is found by natives, and is brought to the same hospital as Murphy. His plane was damaged and he is badly injured. It appears they are the only two survivors of the attack.

    Physically, Murphy makes a full recovery, but mentally he is still disturbed by the events that have happened. He sets out with the local Frenchman, Louis Brezon (Philippe Noiret), to bring back the damaged plane and repair it.

    What then follows is Murphy's personal vendetta against the German U-Boat. He will try any means possible to sink it. He repairs the seaplane, and then proceeds to make some giant Molotov cocktails in the hope of dropping these on the U-Boat. However, shortly after these events, the war comes to an end. While the Germans are happy to give up the fighting, Murphy is not. He wants his revenge.

    Peter O'Toole is excellent, as always, and he is well supported by Sian Phillips and Philippe Noiret. The cinematography, shot in Venezuela, is beautiful and looks great at 2.35:1. The movie is interesting for the most part, but does seem slow at times. The viewer can sympathise with Murphy for the most part, but towards the end Murphy does seem quite mad.

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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is reasonable for a film of this age. It starts off badly with the titles wobbling their way onto the screen, but generally the quality isn’t too bad. The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced, true to the original theatrical aspect ratio.

    There are some film artefacts. The number of film artefacts varies from scene to scene, from having almost no artefacts to frequent artefacts.

    Colour and sharpness are quite good. There is some grain and some MPEG artefacts, but not an excessive amount of either.

    There are a few scenes with particularly bad aliasing, such as at 48:15.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There is only one audio track, which is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 kbps. The audio starts off badly with lots of hiss, crackling and popping at the start of the movie. Fortunately, this is less noticeable in the rest of the movie, but every now and then it becomes more apparent and consequently more annoying.

    The dialogue is clear, and there are no drop outs.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This DVD is also available in Region 1 and Region 2. The Region 1 version appears to be very similar. It has a 2.35:1 anamorphic image, and a Dolby Digital 2.0 (Dual mono) soundtrack. The Region 2 version is quite different, as shown below.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 2 version of this disc misses out on;

    This movie has some nice cinematography, and looks great at 2.35:1. It would be a crime to give it the pan and scan treatment. Therefore, the Region 2 version cannot be recommended.

    The Region 1 version does not offer anything over the Region 4 version. There are no special features, and it is also a single layer transfer.


    This is an interesting film about revenge. At first you can understand Murphy’s desire for revenge, but later you feel he has gone mad as he pursues it too far. The video quality is reasonable, with the highlight being some nice 2.35:1 cinematography. Unfortunately, the DVD is let down by a poor audio track and a complete lack of extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Brumby (read my bio)
Friday, April 01, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba SD-1300Y, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic PT-AE500 Widescreen High Definition Projector onto a 102" screen. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V800
SpeakersAaron ATS-5 Front, Aaron CC-240 Centre, Aaron SS-240 Rear, Yamaha YST-SW320 Sub

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