YMMV / Catch-22

  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: When Yossarian is recuperating from being stabbed by Nately's whore, a strange, thin man appears in front of him and says, "We've got your pal, buddy." We never find out who he is, who he's referring to, or if he was even real or an anaesthetic-induced hallucination.
  • Cult Classic: The movie, which was not well received in its day.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Aarfy getting away with committing rape is painted in an even grimmer light when one knows about the US military's long history of ignoring sexual assault.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The inclusion of a character named Snowden, after Edward Snowden's leaking of the NSA's phone tap practices.
    [...] and then there was Yossarian with the question that had no answer:
    'Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?'
    Group Headquarters was alarmed, for there was no telling what people might find out once they felt free to ask whatever questions they wanted to. Colonel Cathcart sent Colonel Korn to stop it, and Colonel Korn succeeded with a rule governing the asking of questions. Colonel Korn's rule was a stroke of genius, Colonel Korn explained in his report to Colonel Cathcart. Under Colonel Korn's rule, the only people permitted to ask questions were those who never did.
  • Ho Yay: The first two lines of the novel: "It was love at first sight. The first time Yossarian saw the chaplain he fell madly in love with him."
  • Magnificent Bastard: Features two examples.
    • Milo Minderbinder is the dark example. He starts out as a simple mess officer, is able to construct a black market empire with the help of the US military so he can deliver cheap but excellent food to USAAF messes. He becomes so adept at the world market that he is awarded high ranking positions around the world due to the profits he was creating. He gains so much power that he makes deals with almost every nation (including the Germans—but not the Russians, since they're communist), and it culminates with him accepting a contract from the Nazis to bomb his own base. He gets away with it scot-free.
    • Orr is the positive example. In spite of appearing as the worst pilot on base, who crashes every single plane he flies, it's ultimately revealed that he was just practicing for his master plan of faking his own death to escape the Air Force and survive the war. Only Yossarian figures it out eventually, and he's left breathless.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Several, many of them by the United States military, but the most notable happens with Aarfy's rape and murder of Michaela, which is then ignored by the police.
    • Milo Minderbinder crosses it by trading the squadron's parachutes and replacing them with IOUs.
      • And his refusal to help Yossarian find the Kid Sister because he wants to buy some illegal tobacco. By that point, however, it straddles the line between this and him going mad (he talks like a man possessed, raising the question of if he could have refused to buy it).
  • Spiritual Adaptation: Despite being directed by noted director Mike Nichols, the movie felt more like it was directed by Stanley Kubrick, with a mix of the anti-war satire of Dr. Strangelove and the vulgarity in terms of dark satire, violence and sexual content of A Clockwork Orange. It's further helped by the film's use of Also sprach Zarathustra (which was famously featured in Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey) in one scene and the fact originally George C. Scott was offered the role of Colonel Cathcart, only to turn it down as it felt too similar to his past work on Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove.
  • Vindicated by History: The book's anti-war and anti-bureaucratic tone was not relatable in the more conservative nature of 1961 America. It wasn't until the resistance towards The Vietnam War happened later in the decade did the subject matter begin to resonate among readers.
  • The Woobie: Major Major Major Major and, at some points, Yossarian. Also the Chaplain — poor worrywart.