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  • Inchon exists in at least three versions, all of them very rare: a 90 minute British video version called "Operation Inchon"; a 105 minute version; and the full 140 minutes version released theatrically in 1981. This is a review of the 140 minute version.

    The past twenty years or so have turned Inchon into one of the film industry's great jokes. Its huge budget, and the meagre box office returns it made, have also destined it to forever be remembered as the biggest flop of all-time. If ever a film deserved to be labelled as "infamous", then Inchon is it.

    Laurence Olivier top-bills as Gen. Douglas MacArthur. Highly decorated for his WWII heroics, MacArthur is called upon to repel an army of communist forces from North Korea who have invaded their South Korean neighbours in 1950. Against the will of his colleagues, MacArthur masterminds an ambitious landing at the awkwardly-situated port of Inchon. Interwoven into this invasion story are several sub-plots, including the story of Barbara Hallsworth (Jacqueline Bisset), an American lady who leads a group of orphans to safety, and her husband Maj. Frank Hallsworth (Ben Gazzara), who is ordered to seize and hold a strategically important lighthouse in Inchon harbour.

    It is extraordinary that a budget of over $45 million was allocated to such a badly scripted film. The dialogue is utterly laughable, almost in the style of an exceptionally bad, cheesy TV mini-series. Left helpless in the firing line by the terrible script, the actors (many of them greatly talented) give undisciplined performances. Olivier's turn as MacArthur, for example, is surreal in its awfulness. The battle scenes are done on a big scale but fail to convey authenticity or realism. And, worst of all, there's a peculiar religious subtext as MacArthur repeatedly rants on about the God-given justness he senses in the cause of America and her allies. The film has curiosity value (it's perversely interesting to see so many stars in such deep trouble) but beyond that it offers nothing worth your time.
  • Eric-62-24 November 2006
    I am one of the few people on this Earth who actually saw "Inchon" during its brief theatrical run in 1982, and did not see it again until a cable recording came my way very recently. It was fascinating to revisit this train wreck of a movie that took what should have been a fascinating event in history, and instead with a bloated budget of $40 million and the interference of the Moonies, turned it into something that ultimately isn't the worst thing ever produced for the screen, but at the same time is something that could have been made cheaply for TV at a fraction of the cost.

    The thing "Inchon" most resembles is the godawful 1979 ABC miniseries "Pearl" which took the events of another famous event in history, and gave us a soapy, silly melodrama about a bunch of boring fictional characters. In "Inchon", the goings on of Ben Gazzara, Jacqueline Bisset (who looks stunning), Richard Roundtree and the wasted David Janssen could just as easily have been at home in some made for TV potboiler that utilized stock footage for the big moments. It's because "Inchon" had an A-level budget, and an inordinance of expensive set design and extras etc. that in the end made its flaws magnified in ways that a cheap TV miniseries like "Pearl" could keep obscured.

    The acting...sheesh, Olivier does get the look of MacArthur right but Terence Young was clearly asleep when giving him instruction on how to deliver his lines, and the script he was given didn't help matters either. As for the rest, they're okay in a TV movie kind of way, but that's largely damning with faint praise. Jerry Goldsmith's score is great, as is the cinemtaography.

    I will say one thing though to a couple reviewers though who think the greatest sin of this movie is its anti-communism. That is really about the ONLY thing you can give this movie a plus for, because the North Koreans of Kim Il Sung were a brutal thug regime and their invasion of the South was not a case of as one reviewer falsely implied one where atrocities were equally committed by both sides. The prologue to the movie that summarizes how Kim Il Sung flew to Moscow to receive permission from Stalin to go ahead with the invasion is dead accurate in its description of the real history and it sadly offers the initial hope that we're going to get a movie more in the mold of "The Longest Day" or "Tora! Tora! Tora!". Instead we got a movie that was as noted in the mold of "Pearl" and almost exclusively utilizing the bad fictional subplots that nearly wrecked "Midway." So yes, "Inchon" is bad, but not necessarily for the reasons that some people would like to have us think. It was ultimately more the fault of the scriptwriters, the actors and the director that "Inchon" turned out to be as bad as it was, than the heavy-hand of the Moonie cult (though their PR for the movie certainly dragged it down further).
  • It's inescapable that "Inchon" is a bad movie. I mean, look at its pedigree:

    *Funded by Moonies (Reverend Sun Myung Moon dipped deep in his pockets for this one),

    *A morbidly stupid script (originally authored by the screenwriter for "The Happy Hooker"? Please....),

    *A director working under haphazard circumstances (Young did great with the James Bond films but language barriers ruined countless shots and drove the cost of the film sky high),

    *A cast that is capable of greatness but not in this instance (Bisset, Gazzara, Roundtree, Janssen, Mifune, Olivier!!!!),

    *And a budget that most frequently disappears from the screen (how can $48 million not show on the screen? This is the movie that answers that question).

    I saw this many moons ago (get it? Ha ha....) at my local theater on a double bill with "The Last American Virgin" (yes, you read right) and I think "Virgin" suffered from the association.

    And Laurence Olivier has been in great things ("Wuthering Heights", "Rebecca", "Henry V", "Richard III", "Spartacus", "Sleuth") but has also been in his share of very bad things ("The Betsy", "The Boys from Brazil", "Dracula"/1979, "The Jazz Singer", "The Jigsaw Man", "Wild Geese II"). But as a putty-faced, mascara-smeared, gravel-voiced variation of General Douglas McArthur (more like his Loren Hardeman character from "The Betsy"), Olivier washes away all he'd accomplished with his Shakespeare work and takes on the guise of a wax dummy (with almost as much expressiveness).

    And the movie itself? Forget everything you thought you knew about the Korean War and all its planning, maneuvers and troop placements. It's just about soldiers running back and forth, explosions, ships sailing far out of camera range and Douglas McArthur reciting the Lord's Prayer. Oh, and Bissett bouncing around. That's entertainment (sort of)!

    On top of all of this, there was always the fear in its first-run status that Moonies would be posted at every theater in America to recruit Moonies-to-be. I escaped that but not the movie itself.

    In the end, I can see why this one isn't on video or TV or even bootlegged on Ebay. "Inchon" may have been an important battle but the only thing the movie is important for is showing that it can waste more money that "Heaven's Gate". Congratulations!

    No stars for "Inchon" - it shall NOT return.
  • For the most part no one has watched this film in the twenty plus years since it was released to theaters. Considering that almost no one saw it when it was released I think the producers certainly know what they are doing.

    While the film, which tells of the turning point in the Korean War, isn't good, or even fair, its not the worst war film ever made.Granted its close, but its not in the top ten or even top 25.

    As bad as it is it should be watched by anyone in film school as examples of what not to do for money. First and foremost is Olivier's performance as Mac Arthur which IS simply so bad that that every award he ever received should have had to have been given back. Its one of the screens worst moments, and a warning of what happens when wax figures are left too long in the sun. Olivier's make up makes him look like the left over at fire sale in a wax museum.

    The film is indifferently directed while the writing is bad TV soap opera. Its cleared no one cared about this film other than its producer who threw scads of money but to no avail.

    An example of how and why not to make a movie.
  • I never thought I'd ever hear that line in my entire life. Laurence Olivier is a highly esteemed well-established actor with many film accreditations under his belt from a career in the film industry that has spanned well over six decades. Why he chose to sign on to this monstrosity of a film is just beyond belief.

    "INCHON" had the misfortune of being released in 1981, the first year the infamous Golden Raspberry Award (a.k.a. Razzie) came into existence and it grandly swept nearly every category including Worst Picture and Worst Actor.

    Upon it's theatrical release, "INCHON" was heavily panned by the critics and played in theaters to which no one bothered showing up. It was pulled almost a few weeks after its initial release. The production and creativity involved with this highly-expensive film project involved nearly 5 whole years in the making, a crew of 250 technicians, 3000 actors (mostly extras), 18 tanks, 12 armored personnel carriers, 24 jeeps, a plethora of explosives and special effects and a bloated budget of nearly 48 million dollars. Did I also forget to mention that this film was financed by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon?

    Yes, in published interviews with Reverend Moon, he has openly stated that 'God' himself TOLD him to make this movie. With that controversy aside, "INCHON" itself is a repulsive scrap of film. The premise for "INCHON" is loosely based on the incidents involving the United Nations forces landing at Inchon, port city of Seoul, during the Korean War on September 15, 1950. It is a wretched retelling of General Douglas MacArthur's amphibious victory in the early stages of the Korean War.

    Laurence Olivier portrays MacArthur, supported by an international star cast which would include Ben Gazarra, Richard Roundtree, David Janssen and Jacqueline Bisset who looks absolutely ridiculous in the role as the wife of an Army Major. Unfortunately, the biggest problem here is that the director, Terence Young, finds it impossible to overcome the poor script which generally leaves only the wartime melodrama and pyrotechnics for interest.

    There is absolutely nothing positive about "INCHON" to talk about. The unedited version runs for nearly two and a half hours. It is a painful experience to watch this off-base and factually incorrect travesty. Furthermore, I find it extremely embarrassing to watch Laurence Olivier making a fool out of himself by appearing in this noisy and absurd garbage when he should have been finding time to redeem his reputation after starring in the Razzie-winning "THE JAZZ SINGER".

    Shame on everyone involved in this movie. It is extremely impossible to find a copy of "INCHON" at your local video store and no cable channel would dare run it, which is just as well. Trust me, you don't want to see this movie.

    My Rating - 0 out of 10
  • I never got to see this movie in a theatrical release; I got to see the first part of it cut up for cable TV -- on a cable channel not known for movies. I wanted, honestly, to see a reverential treatment of the UN side of the Korean War, a war whose importance is now greatly underrecognized, and especially of one of the key battles in history. The war was, after all, the first in which the commies did not succeed in turning over a domino, so to speak.

    The movie got off to a bad start with one of the actors (Ben Gazzara) launching into a long narrative monologue about the father of General MacArthur while on an airline flight. First of all, General Douglas MacArthur is the key figure of the movie, and his father was already long dead and irrelevant to the plot. Second, the long-winded monologue is not ordinary conversation of the type that one would expect between airline passengers! With the possible exception of university professors who can't be fired and dictators who can't be criticized, nobody gets away with such long-winded, irrelevant, narrative monologues in normal life.

    Absurdities pile upon absurdities, and irrelevancies pile upon irrelevancies. Soldiers synchronize watches whose second hands aren't moving, and one gets a closeup of such an action. If you are going to show a close-up of any action, then make it real. Maudlin events at an orphanage take up much footage. Well, the Korean War was a carnage for civilians of all types, wasn't it? Soldiers taking Inchon fail to show fear -- and I can't imagine anyone going behind enemy lines not being scared out of his wits unless a psycho. Taking the lighthouse at Inchon, soldiers notice that the lighting and lens assembly was made in France (anyone who knows anything about lighthouses == and I live in a state that has lots of them -- knows that the lighthouse mechanisms and lenses from about a century ago all came from France).

    The best movie about the Korean War remains MASH, and it centers upon support units. The brilliant invasion of central Korea at Inchon deserves far better treatment than this quicksand.
  • I recall the one weekend that this movie was in theatrical release. I was on a first date and there were absolutely no date-worthy movies playing. A bunch of well-dressed students (whom I later guessed to be Moonies)were lined up to see this one. Upon investigation I saw the producers were raffling off a Rolls Royce to all who bought a ticket. "Ooohh," she said. "Wouldn't it be fun if we won a car by going to see a movie?" OK, so I relented.

    In retrospect even if we had won the car it wouldn't have been worth it. It wasn't even laughably bad. It was just pathetic, watching Sir Laurence's career spiraling down the money pit. Just a few short months after watching him flounder in "The Jazz Singer," here he was with an inch of pancake makeup spouting religious homilies.

    It was a time when MacArthur was out of favor and the Cold War was in full swing, so the Reverend Moon was determined to use the latter to rectify the former. I am certainly not an expert on the military history of the Korean War so make no claims as to its historical accuracy. But with the over the top moralizing here I sat there knowing I was being manipulated, brainwashed, whatever.

    And, on cue, the proselytizing for the Unification Church began as soon as the final credits rolled.

    Uck, what a sickening experience. I never went out with her again.

    Fortunately Sir Laurence rebounded shortly after with Clash Of The Titans and a few other not-quite-so-bad performances on made-for-TV movies so we aren't stuck with this as the last impression of this great actor.
  • I will say that Inchon did have some nicely filmed battle sequences, but one of the greatest surprise military maneuvers of all time got a short shrift with the rest of the film. A nice documentary type film like The Longest Day would have been ideal. The back story certainly wasn't needed.

    And that horrible makeup job that Laurence Olivier was given must have been done by Tammy Faye Bakker's people. He looks like a refugee from Madame Tussaud's. He sounds nothing like Douglas MacArthur. Olivier had the further misfortune to have his role come so soon after Gregory Peck portrayed MacArthur in MacArthur.

    The story is that Olivier at some point in the early Seventies feeling he had nothing to prove any more to be at the pinnacle of his profession. So he began taking parts strictly for the cash. As this film was produced by the Reverend Sun Yung Moon no one ever said the Moonies lacked cash. Olivier uses the same American type accent he did in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof and in another of his for the money only projects The Betsy.

    The rest of the cast Ben Gazzara, Jacqueline Bisset, David Janssen, Toshiro Mifune etc. act with the smug confidence that they're Moonie checks just cleared the bank.

    The landing at Inchon, done at the dawn hours within a narrow framework of time determined by the tides and on the western side of the Korean peninsula was militarily drawing to an inside straight. No doubt Douglas MacArthur deserves all kinds of kudos for what he did, even his sternest detractors have said it was brilliant. Said it did not get a film worthy of the achievement.

    Inchon may have done one thing though. Laurence Olivier if not the only actor to win both an Oscar and a Razzie in his life certainly became the first to do it.
  • i just watched the 140 minute version of Inchon which i bought on DVD. while its list of shortcomings is long, it was reasonably entertaining. Olivier's performance seemed OK to me, it was believable. MacArthur was something of a prima donna and manly enough not to be shy about his belief in God. as mentioned by other reviewers here, the venom drizzled on Inchon comes in large part from people's animosity toward any mention of God in general and the Unification Church in particular. the version i saw included scenes with Rex Reed and David Janssen (who delivered the story about the death of Arthur MacArthur, not the Gazzara character). Olivier and MacArthur are both fascinating men, and Inchon in worth seeing.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I'm absolutely shocked by Inchon's terrible rating and the reviews portraying it as the worst thing in the history of mankind. OK, so it's not a masterpiece, but Jesus!... there are Adam Sandler movies that didn't get this kind of flak!

    I'm not gonna talk about the budget, who paid for what and all that stuff. Let's stick to the movie. The major problem is Robin Moore's awful screenplay. The war subject is treated superficially and the love story is dull and not believable. Ben Gazarra is an American officer stationed in South Korea. He's married to Jacqueline Bisset but their marriage sinks and he hooks up with a local girl. When the Korean war starts, he feels obligated to take his wife out of the country. They meet, talk for about five minutes and get back together. It's ridiculous, not to mention the fact that Bisset and Gazarra had zero chemistry.

    As far as the rest of the cast goes, Olivier does a great job as Macarthur. I never really cared for his American accent but he was such a consummate actor, such a master of his craft that even when he was not at the top of his game (he was ill at the time) it's still a pleasure to watch him perform. It's also a delight to see the wonderful ToshirĂ´ Mifune, even if they gave him a tiny role that doesn't do him justice. The Korean girls - actresses Karen Kahn (Lim) and Lydia Ley (Mila) - are pretty good. David Janssen e Richard Roundtree have small, rather pointless roles.

    Battle scenes are above average. Jerry Goldsmith's musical score is good. The editing sucks; apparently more than half an hour of finished film ended up on the cutting room floor. Sound is also weird; machine gun shots sometimes remind us of cartoon gunshots.

    Overall it's a flawed production but very far from being the horrible disaster people made it out to be. To my knowledge it hasn't been released on VHS or DVD, and that's very wrong. The worst thing I could say about Inchon is that rather than a Hollywood expensive A-list movie, it looks like a Lifetime movie of the week. Or a B movie. That's it.

    If you have a chance to watch it, by all means do.
  • And I have to thank Rev. Moonie for all of this! Why doesn't Moon just stick to his cult. But thankfully after this stinker, he STOPPED with making movies, since Inchon was a bomb in both North America and Asia (especially South Korea!).

    Now with the plot. Deals with General Mc Arthur and the US in Korean War ridden South Korea. I also leaves out that Mc Arthur helped out Japan before trying to deal with Korea. Grrrrr.....~_~

    Okay, the guy who play Mc Arthur may not act, but MANY great Korean actors in this film were wasted and looked really bored throughout the whole film. If fact, I read in an Asian cinema book, that a lot of the Korean actors and actresses deny ever being in this film.

    Stay away from Inchon! If you want a good WW2/Korean War history lesson, watch some Korean anime based on the events, because at least the Anime characters could act!

    However, Inchon is fun to do some MST3K-stlyed mocking time with.
  • Many years ago, before the existence of YouTube (where you can watch this movie if you really want to see it), I arranged for an Internet buddy of mine to watch my bootleg copy of it, since he really wanted to see it. After he saw it, his comment pretty much sums up my view of the movie: "Painfully dull and mediocre." Yes, you may have heard that the critical consensus at the time of the movie's release was that the movie was incredibly inept a la PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, but that's not the case. It's just boring for the most part, and unintentional laughs are hard to find. But there's more fault to be found than just that. It's frankly embarrassing at times to view Laurence Olivier, who was at this point far from his prime as well as being miscast. As a matter of fact, the rest of the cast doesn't do much better in giving compelling performances. And while an insane amount of money was spent on production, much of the movie has a made for television look and feel to it.

    I have a feeling that my comments won't stop people who really want to watch this movie (which as of this date has still not been issued on VHS or DVD) after hearing so many bad things about it over the years. To a degree I can understand this. But all the same, after you watch it, don't say that you weren't warned.
  • A solid epic with a quirky brilliant star performance, hid from view by

    Moonie Angst and obliterated in the popular imagination by

    contemporaneous politically-correct Hollywood production. Free Inchon!
  • I was an extra in the movie "Inchon" and my unit in Korea supplied all the generators and equip. for it. Instead of getting paid to sit around they cast me as an extra, dressed up as a French, Greek and American soldiers and worked my ass off. I met all the actors and they were pretty cool, Omar Sharif was the nicest. (left the set before shooting) We pushed a staff car up a hill and we weren't sweaty enough so the sprayed up down with water and made us do it again. We had a really cool bar fight, and a bunch of other things. Anyway the movie came out in '79 but when the military found out it was financed by Rev. Moon the took there name off and shelved the movie. It was only out for 3 months.
  • You know a movie is gonna be bad when it warns that the events depicted in this fictional movie are fictional, but that's the least of the problems with the over-budget, over-directed, and overly long wet blanket war epic Inchon. The movie takes place during the Communist overthrow in Korea and the Battle of Inchon in 1950. It also throws in stories involving Barbara (Jacqueline Bassett) driving through South Korea with orphan children to meet her ex-husband Lt. Hallsworth (Ben Gazzara) and Douglas MacArthur (Laurence Olivier) setting up plans for battle and raiding a lighthouse to signal the battleships. I guess Terence Young was trying to channel David Lean with a giant cast of extras in grand sets and landscapes, but in Inchon, the story and subplots connect so little it feels more like a pilot for a 1950's TV show than a movie. However, the cornball melodrama, overabundance on pyrotechnic effects, and horrendous writing makes it more on par with the material for B-movies. More problems: the Korean invasion scenes tie very little to what's going on in the story, the battle sequences seem randomly scattered for no coherent reason, every extra overacts when blown up, and the love story is meaningless. Worst of all, when MacArthur showed up thirty minutes in, the movie seemed to jump ship on one story and steer focus to another, almost as if the screenwriter forgot who the main characters were and wanted to mimic Patton. Well to my knowledge, Laurence Olivier is no George C. Scott and Robin Moore and Laird Koenig are no Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North, either. To compare Inchon to Michael Bay's Pearl Harbor would be an extraordinary insult, as Mr. Bay has more respect for explosions and knows how to keep his schlocky storylines consistently. Inchon, on the other hand, is a complete messy disaster from start to finish. (1 Corn Cob Pipe out of 5)
  • When I first saw all the bad comments of this movie, I thought this must be a boring one, and then Rev. Sun Myung Moon financed it also, it cant be that good.

    Anyways, I seemed interested in the fact that this was an 50 million dollar movie, so I went on searching for it. I must say it was very hard to find, but I finally found it.

    Having a critical mind about this movie I set on watching it, and this is the following I have to say:

    1- This movie is worth while watching, it is very professionally made, and comparing to other trashy movies which have gotten a much higher score this movie is obviously underscored.

    2- The 50 million dollars weren't for nothing put into this movie, you really get a 50 million dollar movie, tanks explode, airplanes crash, armies of thousands of men combat each other in a very real scene. Nothing compared to cheep crap which is done through computer, this is the real thing.

    3- Actors and storyline are great, I mean what else do you want, I really got touched.

    Conclusion: This movie has been obviously discarded by the media, and why, I think this movie could have hit the 1982 top, but rather disappeared as the mist. My guess why this is so? I think the reason for all these bad comments and scores, is only and only because of the person who financed this movie, The Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Religious leaders and media were very strongly opposing Sun Myung Moon in the 80's and logically a 50 million movie wouldn't be welcome.

    So don't believe all the nonsense written about the movie, watch it yourself and then you will know.
  • I wonder where the people who say they've seen this recently did so? It has never officially been released on VHS or DVD. Clearly there are bootlegs kicking around.

    The reviewers here are being way too hard on Laurence Olivier. Come on, MacArthur was a bad role for him, and he would have had trouble with it in his prime, and in 1980, he was NOT in his prime. The last time Lord Olivier looked and sounded good in a movie was in 1977's THE SEVEN PER CENT SOLUTION. By the time THE BETSY (1978) came along, his admirers were shocked at how frail he had become; his once powerful voice weak and high-pitched from his rapidly declining health. INCHON came after that yet, and in his condition, Olivier never had a chance with a role that was wrong for him in the first place. So, instead of denigrating his entire career (as some have done on this page) for his poor performance here, cut him some slack. His positive achievements far outweigh INCHON or anything else from his final period.