Catch-22, A Movie With Too Many Stars? Cast List Of The 1970 WWII Farce

By | September 20, 2020

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Alan Arkin in 'Catch-22.' Source: IMDB

What could unite Alan Arkin, Orson Welles, Anthony Perkins, Art Garfunkel, Bob Balaban and more? Catch-22, a 1961 novel (by Joseph Heller) that caught fire as one of the great books of the 20th century. When a book goes from generational touchstone to star-studded film -- well, there's going to be a lot of hubbub around the cast list of the movie and the portrayals of the characters, many of whom are ridiculous parodies of military stereotypes. Many A-list actors, who normally played leading roles, filled out the ensemble cast of Catch-22 in supporting roles. Novelist Joseph Heller, whose work inspired the whole thing, deserves credit for writing a scenario that allowed for so many intriguing individual performances.

Catch-22 Had Stars, Stars And More Stars

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Jack Gilford, Norman Fell, Alan Arkin, Anthony Perkins, and Paula Prentiss in Catch-22. Source: IMDB

Catch-22 used satire to take a stand against war in an unorthodox style. Although the book revolves around World War II, its release during the Vietnam War encouraged the anti-war movement that would last throughout the next decade. Catch-22 tells the story of US Air Force Captain John Yossarian, who is repelled by the war and tries to convince the generals he is clinically insane so he can be sent home. The “catch” is that only crazy people would be willing to fly these dangerous missions, so it’s an even better reason for him to continue. Catch-22 takes a nonlinear approach focusing on a different character’s perspective of the war for each chapter instead of following a chronological order.

Mike Nichols, famous for directing the box office hit The Graduate, adapted Catch-22 into a film in 1970. Although the movie was considered a flop by critics and die-hard fans of the novel, Nichols assembled an all-star cast of some of the most popular actors of the era making it worth a watch. These icons might not be most remembered for their roles in this film, but they provide some incredible talent.