You Can't Win 'Em All

You Can't Win 'Em All is a 1970 war film, written by Leo Gordon (also an actor who appears in the film) and directed by Peter Collinson. It stars Tony Curtis and Charles Bronson.

You Can't Win 'Em All
1970 film poster by Frank McCarthy
Directed byPeter Collinson
Produced byGene Corman
Written byLeo Gordon
StarringTony Curtis
Charles Bronson
Fikret Hakan
Salih Güney
Michèle Mercier
Music byBert Kaempfert
CinematographyKen Higgins
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
24 July 1970
Running time
97 min.
CountryUnited Kingdom


The setting is the time of the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922), and the end of the Ottoman Empire. Two American soldiers of fortune - Adam (Curtis) and Josh (Bronson) - team up in 1922 Turkey with separate missions. Josh is interested in profiting from the turmoil prevailing as the Ottoman Empire collapses. Adam, the surviving heir to a shipping company, hopes to reclaim a ship seized by the Germans during World War I and interned in a Turkish Port. Before they can achieve their goals, they are captured by the forces of Osman Bey, an Ottoman governor. Bey is impressed by the Americans' firepower - which includes Thompson submachine guns - and enlists them in a mission to escort his daughters, seemingly to Mecca, but really to Cairo. Because of the war. Turkish ports are blockaded by the British. Knowing that an American ship is not subject to the blockade, Adam suggests using the one held by the Turks, once they have returned it to him.

With Osman Bey's consent, the group sets off for the coast with Bey's daughters, and also their guardian, the beautiful and formidable Aila. Along the way, they must contend with the dangers of the terrain, the war, the machinations of Osman Bey's opportunistic Colonel and also each other's greed. They also begin to realize that the Bey wasn't open with them about the real object of their mission, to safeguard a priceless treasure from the empire's enemies.


Production notes

The film was originally known as Dubious Patriots.

"The country, the people, were fabulous," said Tony Curtis shortly after filming ended. "The thing that did us in was the very shoddy British production set up. They promised certain things on location and didn't provide them. There were inadequate sanitary conditions: people got sick. The director, Peter Collinson? I have no comment about Mr Collinson. Some day I'll tell you about him."[1]

Aircraft sequences were flown and coordinated by Charles Boddington and Lewis Benjamin. The aircraft were owned by ex-RCAF pilot Lynn Garrison who shipped several of his S.E.5 replicas from Ireland to Turkey for the production. They were previously featured in The Blue Max and Darling Lili and would go on to star in Von Richthofen and Brown, Zeppelin, The Great Waldo Pepper, and numerous TV commercials.

See also


  • Benjamin, Lewis. "Turkish Delight!". Aeroplane Monthly. October 2008, Vol. 36, Issue 426, ISSN 0143-7240, pp. 32–37.


  1. Tony Curtis Ends Turkey Filming Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 05 Nov 1969: f15.

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