Being an Army doctor or nurse during the Korean War is a high-pressure job, but there are many ways to blow off steam. According to Robert Altman’s classic film, there’s gambling, praying, petty theft, practical jokes, weekend passes to Tokyo, sex, and tackle football. But the easiest stress reliever for the hard-working staffers of the 4077th is probably drinking.
To that end, Hawkeye (Donald Sutherland) has his own still, good for making homemade martinis, and he recognizes newcomer Trapper John (Elliott Gould) as a soulmate and drinking buddy par excellence when Trapper reveals that he carries with him a jar of olives. (A surgeon must always be prepared.)
Theirs is a bromance made in hell (the front lines) and cemented in heaven (a Japanese massage parlor). Their antics may have scandalized and enraged Army brass, but they helped make Sutherland and Gould into major movie stars, put Altman on the map as a director, and inspired the camaraderie that made the M*A*S*H TV series last for 11 seasons and become an enduring small-tube staple.
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