The staff of a mobile army surgical hospital work and play near the front lines of the Korean war.
Robert Altman’s satire was released just as the tide of public opinion had began to turn against America’s presence in Vietnam and is clearly an analogy for the war, but unlike most other stories rooted in that particular conflict, M*A*S*H doesn’t have any real moral message or even plot to get your teeth into. It’s a loose collection of sketches in which double act Elliot Gould and Donald Sutherland crack wise, play practical jokes, football and golf in between stints in surgery. And that’s it. It’s never even particularly funny; more mildly amusing than laugh out loud funny – although Roger Bowen’s distinctly un-military camp commander did raise a few chuckles – but it is always entertaining.
Successful enough to spawn a long running TV sitcom, M*A*S*H is a fun if slight diversion that amuses but will never change anyone’s world.