A Bridge Too Far

( 12 )


It's late 1944, and the Allied armies are confident they'll win the World War II and be home in time for Christmas. What's needed, says British general Bernard Law Montgomery, is a knockout punch, a bold strike through Holland, where German troops are spread thin, that will put the Allies into Germany. Paratroops led by British major general Robert Urquhart (Sean Connery) and American brigadier general James Gavin (Ryan O'Neal) will seize a thin road and five bridges through Holland into Germany, with paratroops ...
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It's late 1944, and the Allied armies are confident they'll win the World War II and be home in time for Christmas. What's needed, says British general Bernard Law Montgomery, is a knockout punch, a bold strike through Holland, where German troops are spread thin, that will put the Allies into Germany. Paratroops led by British major general Robert Urquhart (Sean Connery) and American brigadier general James Gavin (Ryan O'Neal) will seize a thin road and five bridges through Holland into Germany, with paratroops led by Lieutenant Col. John Frost (Sir Anthony Hopkins) holding the most critical bridge at a small town called Arnhem. Over this road shall pass combined forces led by British Lieutenant Gen. Brian Horrocks (Edward Fox) and British Lieutenant Col. Joe Vandeleur (Michael Caine). The plan requires precise timing, so much so that one planner tells Lieutenant Gen. Frederick Browning (Dirk Bogarde), "Sir, I think we may be going a bridge too far." The plan also has one critical flaw: Instead of a smattering of German soldiers, the area around Arnhem is loaded with crack SS troops. Disaster ensues. Based on a book by historian Cornelius Ryan, A Bridge Too Far is reminiscent of another movie based on a Ryan book, The Longest Day. Like that movie, it is loaded with more than 15 international stars, including Sir Laurence Olivier, Robert Redford, Hardy Krueger, Gene Hackman, Maximilian Schell, and Liv Ullman. ~ Nick Sambides, Jr.
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Special Features

Disc 1: Audio commentary with screenwriter William Goldman and key crew members; feature-length trivia track.
Disc 2: "A Bridge Too Far:" Heroes from the Sky documentary; "A Distant Battle: Memories of Operation Market Garden" featurette; "Richard Attenborough: A Filmmaker Remembers" featurette; behind-the-scenes photo gallery.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Screenwriter William Goldman called this movie his generation's answer to The Longest Day (1962), and it's a fairly apt analogy. A Bridge Too Far was, like Day, based on a book by historian Cornelius Ryan, and has a galaxy of stars, including Sir Laurence Olivier, Robert Redford, Sean Connery, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Hardy Krueger, Michael Caine, Gene Hackman, Maximilian Schell, James Caan, Elliott Gould, and Liv Ullman. It also reflects the 1970s in that it is a far darker, less patriotic film (it examines the disastrous battle of Arnhem, in which a division of British paratroopers was nearly wiped out) than the almost jingoistic Day, which trumpeted the Allies' successful D-Day landing. Yet, as directed by Sir Richard Attenborough and lensed by cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth, the film is far superior to The Longest Day. The film is gorgeous, and the Oscar-winning Goldman handles the plot's necessary exposition far more deftly than did Ryan, who wrote The Longest Day. That's the film's primary improvement on Day and it's significant. The film is also bloodier, which makes the battle scenes more realistic. A Bridge Too Far is a good movie that tells a terrible story of a military disaster. It's long, it's detailed, it won't cheer you up, but it may engross you.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/25/2005
  • UPC: 027616921642
  • Original Release: 1977
  • Rating:

  • Source: Mgm (Video & Dvd)
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 2:56:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Dirk Bogarde Lt. Gen. Frederick Browning
James Caan Sgt. Eddie Dohun
Michael Caine Lt. Col. Joe Vandeleur
Sean Connery Maj. Gen. Robert Urquhart
Edward Fox Lt. Gen. Brian Horrocks
Elliott Gould Col. Bobby Stout
Gene Hackman Maj. Gen. Stanislaw Sosabowski
Anthony Hopkins Lt. Col. John Frost
Hardy Kruger Gen. Ludwig
Laurence Olivier Dr. Spaander
Ryan O'Neal Brig. Gen. James Gavin
Robert Redford Maj. Julian Cook
Maximilian Schell Lt. Gen. Wilhelm Bittrich
Liv Ullmann Kate Ter Horst
Arthur Hill Tough Colonel
Wolfgang Preiss Field Marshal von Rundstedt
Siem Vroom Underground Leader
Mary Smithuysen Old Dutch Woman
Nicholas Campbell Capt. Glass
Christopher Good Maj. Carlyle
Keith Drinkel Lt. Cornish
Peter Faber Capt. Harry Bestebreurtje
Hans von Borsody General Blumentritt
Paul Maxwell Major General Maxwell Taylor
Walter Kohut Field Marshall Model
Hartmut Becker German Sentry
Frank Grimes Major Fuller
Jeremy Kemp RAF Meteorological Officer
Donald Pickering Lieutenant Colonel Mackenzie
Donald Douglas Brigadier Lathbury
Stephen Moore Major Steele
Michael Byrne Lieutenant Colonel Giles Vandeleur
Paul Copley Private Wicks
Gerald Sim Colonel Sims
Harry Ditson US Private
Erik Chitty Organist
Brian Hawksley Vicar
Colin Farrell Corporal Hancock
Alun Armstrong Corporal Davies
Anthony Milner Private Dodds
Barry McCarthy Privare Clark
Lex Van Delden Sergeant Matthias
Michael Wolf Field Marshall Model's Aide
Sean Mathias Irish Guards Lieutenant
Ray Jewers US Radio Operator
Fred Williams Captain Grabner
John Judd Sergeant Clegg
Ben Cross Trooper Binns
Hilary Minster British Medical Officer
David English Private Andrews
Ben Howard Sergeant Towns
Michael Graham Cox Captain Cleminson
Denholm Elliott Met Officer
Peter Gordon US Sergeant
Garick Hagon Lieutenant Rafferty
Neil Kennedy Colonel Barker
John Salthouse Private 'Ginger' Marsh
John Hackett Glider Pilot
Stanley Lebor Regimental Sergeant Major
Jack Galloway Private Vincent
Milton Cadman Private Long
David Auker 'Taffy' Brace
Richard Kane Colonel Weaver
Toby Salaman Private Stephenson
John Morton US Padre
John Ratzenberger US Lieutenant
Patrick Ryecart German Lieutenant
Ian Liston Sergeant Witney
George Innes Sergeant Macdonald
John Stride Grenadier Guards Major
Niall Padden British Medical Officer
Simon Chandler Private Simmonds
Shaun Curry Corporal Robbins
Chris Williams Corporal Merrick
Stephen Churchett Soldier
Jon Croft Soldier
Patrick Dickson Soldier
Frank Jarvis Soldier
Edward McDermott Soldier
James Snell Soldier
David Stockton Soldier
Jason White Soldier
Jack McKenzie Soldier
Peter Settelen Lt. Cole
Hardy Kurger
Technical Credits
Richard Attenborough Director
John Addison Score Composer
Miriam Brickman Casting
Roy Button Asst. Director
Terence A. Clegg Production Manager
Stuart Craig Art Director
Antony Gibbs Editor
William Goldman Screenwriter
Peter Howitt Set Decoration/Design
Simon Kaye Sound/Sound Designer
Steve Lanning Asst. Director
Joseph E. Levine Producer
Richard P. Levine Producer
Peter MacDonald Camera Operator
Terence Marsh Production Designer
Anthony Mendleson Costumes/Costume Designer
John Palmer Associate Producer
John Richardson Special Effects
Tom Smith Makeup
Michael Stanley-Evans Co-producer
Roy Stannard Art Director
David Tomblin Asst. Director
Alan Tomkins Art Director
Geoffrey Unsworth Cinematographer
Harry Waxman Cinematographer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- A Bridge Too Far
1. Start [5:36]
2. The Sound of German Panic [5:19]
3. A Question of Bridges [6:52]
4. A Problematic Plan [10:07]
5. Speed Is Vital [8:55]
6. Off to Holland [6:29]
7. Goals and Gallows Humor [4:00]
8. The Initial Drop [6:59]
9. Shot on All Sides [9:03]
10. There, But No One Knows [4:07]
11. Series of Delays [5:01]
12. "Fool's Courage" [7:36]
13. Gerry on the Way [6:02]
14. Urquhart's Surrounded [6:38]
15. A Guarantee Seen Through [9:48]
16. New Bridge...36 Hours Late [:39]
17. No Good News [4:59]
18. Risking All for Supplies [4:21]
19. New Hospital, New Trouble [4:03]
20. Nightmare by Daylight [5:44]
21. "Hail Mary" [4:14]
22. Unstoppable? [8:57]
23. One Question Answered [3:51]
24. Hope for the Boys [9:25]
25. Aborted Assistance [4:32]
26. A Brief Ceasefire [3:53]
27. "The War Game" [2:56]
28. Operation Over [5:41]
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Disc #1 -- A Bridge Too Far
   Play Movie
   Audio Set Up
      English 5.1
      English Stereo
      Fran├žais 5.1
      Subtitles Off
   Scene Selections
   Special Features
      Audio Commentary With William Goldman and Crew On
      Audio Commentary With William Goldman and Crew Off
      Trivia Track On
      Trivia Track Off
Disc #2 -- A Bridge Too Far
   A Bridge Too Far: Heroes From the Sky
   A Distant Battle: Memories of Operation Market Garden
   Richard Attenborough: A Filmmaker Remembers
   Photo Gallery
      Original Theatrical Trailer
      Bridge on the River Kwai
      The Best of WWII Movies
      The Great Escape
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Solid Star Cast With Great Direction

    Richard Attenborough's 1977 adaptation of Cornelius Ryan's novel covering Operation Market-Garden: one of all too many of General Montgomery's poorly devised strategies that uncecessarily cost the lives of many brave Allied soldiers. The audacious plan of dropping over 3 divisions of airborne troops behind the German defensive line in Holland was of limited success because of Montgomery's poor logistical planning which led the allies to having serious tactical limitations in their offensive. The film shows how the campaign was too dependent on rigid assumptions for which there could be no certainty in the fog of war and, which a brilliant general would incorporate in formulating his overall strategy. Uncertainties such as whether the troops would actually land where they were supposed to (most major airborne operations such as Normandy and Cyprus had shown that precise drops are the exception as opposed to the norm), whether radios specially designed for the desert would actually work in a wet climate such as Holland, and the actual amount of time it would take each operational element to reach its objective. As it happened, all of those uncertainties became horrible realities from which the lightly armed Allied airborne troops (especially the British at Arnheim) suffered massive casualties. The troops were scattered over areas far from their anticipated drop zones, their radios didn't work, most of the troops were on foot because too few light vehicles were provided, and,finally, British intelligence grossly underestimated enemy strength by choosing to ignore increasing evidence of a German SS Panzer division positioned in Arnheim. The result was the British suffering high casualties near Arnheim and the remnant of their division being forced to surrender. The characters are fleshed out enough to make them believable and to give the story substance. The movie isn't so much about the characters but about the campaign and the operation of its individual components: hence, the movie is actually quite complex but fluid in structure. The batlle scenes are good for their time, the Germans actually speak German, and the all-star cast sweeps the audience away into all the triumphs and failures of Operation Market Garden. Again, with an all-star cast starring Michael Caine, James Caan, Robert Redford, Gene Hackman, Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Olivier, Dirk Bogarde, Sean Connery, Liv Ullmann, Ryan O'Neil, Maximillian Schell, and others, how can you go wrong?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Operation Market Garden at its best!

    This star-studded film is a must see film for those interested in World War II. This is one of the '70s big budget war films which covers Operation market garden. Field-Marshall Montgomery's plan which took place September 1944. The Allies attempt to break out of the deadlock in France, and thereby dramatically shorten the winning of the Second World War. Operation Market-Garden was the largest daylight airborne raid of all time . They tried to capture several bridges in the Netherlands and by capturing and holding them, provide the Allies with a direct road into the German heartland. Of course this film shows how the term ''Military Intelligence'' is an Oxymoron. Recon showed that their was armor in the area and the strength of German forces in the area were in actuality much larger than expected. The British General's with their own agenda's (beating Patton to Berlin) ignored all warnings.It stars Sean Connery, Dirk Bogarde, Gene Hackman, Michael Caine, and Anthony Hopkins.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    A classic war film in every sense of the word

    I saw this movie on the big screen when it came out in 1977 and at the time I thought, Wow! because of the lengths they went to recreate the various battles, equipment, aircraft, etc.

    It was with a sense of nostalgia that I bought the collector's edition DVD in 2006. I eagerly popped it into my new TV/DVD player as soon as it arrived - and discovered that big screen does not always translate well into small screen in terms of visual and dramatic impact.

    That said, "A Bridge Too Far" is still one of the best war movies ever made, in terms of scope, presentation and attention to detail. However, I can readily see how someone who is not a student of WWII history could get lost as the movie jumps from scene to scene, and if you don't have even a basic grasp of geography, you're going to be confused more often than not, because the movie only offers a brief (about 2 minute) look at the Market-Garden plan in the form of a (ridiculously oversized) map as the key commanders are briefed in on how the generals "hope" things will go.

    The battle scenes are well executed and seem fairly realistic, as do the pauses and stretches where not much is going on - that's the way it is in real life, and this movie was attempting to capture the essence of one of the major battles of WWII, not do another cheap action flick! "A Bridge Too Far" does a good job of putting you in the middle of each situation, and allows you to experience it much as the people who were actually involved might have. The incredibly brave assault on the Arnhem bridge, and then the desperate attempt to hold it; the suicidal crossing over the Waal River in broad daylight; the increasingly futile efforts to reach the marooned Allied airborne troops before the Germans can overwhelm them - all of this is captured in rich and thorough detail.

    Of special note is how the point of view of the Dutch civilians is included, something often glossed over or outright ignored in many war movies; I cannot even imagine what it would be like to go from living in an occupied but relatively quiet city to fierce combat zone in the course of just a few days.

    I can't say as much about the bonus disc included in the collector's edition - I could never get the picture slide shows to work, and I would have liked to have seen a lot more of the behind the scenes efforts the producers had to go through to state some of the battles in the same locations the real ones were fought in. All in all, though, an enjoyable movie that should be in any WWII buffs collection.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Lots of Famous Names, Little Quality

    I originally purchased this movie thinking it would have some memorable performances, especially since there are many famous actors in their youth. Unfortunately, this story of a very badly managed campaign in WWII is just as poorly told on the screen. Gene Hackman is supposed to be a polish commander, and when you hear the accent he's trying to speak you're wondering what country he's really trying to be from! Robert Redford's part is minimal, as are most of the parts of some young but now famous actors.

    As far as war movies go, it's not too bad; I've seen worse. I think one problem is that the campaign, in reality, was so badly managed that it literally shows on the screen. I have some WWII books and this campaign is not mentioned in a one.

    If you're not into WWII, don't buy this movie. It was marginally interesting for this person who loves WWII movies, books, etc. The acting is sub-par and you could do better watching "All Quiet On the Western Front" or other war movies that actually have depth.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    best war movie ever

    A bridge too far is a great anti-war masterpiece with the Operation market garden disaster fueling its message. It's a long, depressing epic that clearly states that war sucks period and is relevant today with the mess going on in Iraq. Phenomenal cast, solid direction, effective storytelling, get this movie now.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2009

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    Posted September 10, 2010

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    Posted January 24, 2009

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    Posted November 5, 2011

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    Posted January 9, 2010

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    Posted April 11, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2008

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews