A Bridge Too Far Reviews

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Super Reviewer
October 27, 2012
Aside from a hokey sound track, this is an excellent WWII war film about real life events. And you'll see a cast of young stars who went on to greatness. Certainly worth watching.
Super Reviewer
½ November 6, 2011
So it seems the Allies did not win every battle of the WWll, despite what's depicted in popular film: There were occasions of sad defeat and this is one of them, British General Montgomery's ill-conceived plan to crash through the Netherlands into Germany. A large project from the get-go, a large Brit, Yank, German and Dutch cast attempt to convey why Operation Market Garden eventually failed. Great shots of Holland (my fav foreign country) abound.
Super Reviewer
August 28, 2011
A Bridge Too Far recreates Operation Market Garden. Set in September 1944, this film is a superb recreation of the failed operation that could have ended the war by Christmas of that year. A Bridge Too Far is one of the most accurate portraits of Operation Market Garden, along with the portrayal of the failed operation in HBO'S Band of Brothers. A Bridge Too Far is a superb war film with a collection of some of cinema's finest actors. Every actor here are phenomenal in the parts they play, and you really get insight from what happened during operation Market Garden. The operation failed of inaccurate or little intelligence and the Allies encountered heavier German resistance than they originally anticipated. A Bridge Too Far is a film that tries to focus more on the historical aspects of the battle, and with that in mind, it's not a pure action film. Yes, there is a lot of fighting, but this film isn't meant to be an action film, I see it more as a history lesson that brings to light why this operation failed. If you're expecting a straight forward action packed war film, you'll be sadly disappointed. Richard Attenborough tried to focus on the realities of war, and focus more on the failed operation than giving the viewer a more straight forward action picture. That's why I enjoyed A Bridge Too Far, I am a WWII nut, I am obsessed with the subject, and I really enjoyed the fact that they tried to stay truthful to the real event, and not ruin it with your typical Hollywood stylized action scenes. There are some great war scenes in this film of course, and it's thrilling to watch. The all star cast adds a lot more depth to this film, and they make this film worth watching. Sean Connery, Michael Caine and Edward Fox really stood out for me. The only complaint I had the film was the fact that they tried to include a bit of Hollywood style drama into the story, which I think was unnecessary, as this was a strong film altogether. This is one of the classic war films to watch.
Super Reviewer
½ February 20, 2011
There is a solid war film here hiding under a completely muddy narrative. The cast is great, though Gene Hackman's Polish accent was a turn-off - mainly because Hackman's voice and American accent are so essential to his performances. There are some compelling scenes and good ideas in there, but a narrative focus is sorely lacking.
Super Reviewer
June 7, 2010
My dad participated in Operation Market Garden as part of the 82nd Airborne Division, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment -- nicknamed the Devils in Baggy Pants. His group is the one led by Robert Redford. My dad was in the half that provides fire from the river bank for those who are trying to row across in those miserable little boats. He lost many friends. My dad loved this movie -- all movies about the WWII European Theater. He and I watched many of them again and again. He always said that Robert Redford was perfectly cast for the role of Major Julian Cook, but that Ryan O'Neal was too young to play Brigadier General James Gavin. I still watch this one often, and more than any other WWII movie, in memory of my dad, and in honor of his 20 parachute missions in Europe.
Super Reviewer
May 1, 2007
Ponderous telling of an unsuccessful invasion, a cast of mostly stellar actors are simply pushed here and there without enough time for anyone to make a real impression or when you start to become involved in their story they disappear from the narrative, additionally the film is at least an hour too long.
Super Reviewer
March 15, 2007
Lifeless, overproduced version of the fine Cornelius Ryan book about disastrous 1944 Allied airdrop behind German lines in Holland. Here goes another story of a famous battle with the traditional all-star cast that I like it.
Super Reviewer
November 19, 2006
And an hour too long. Sprawling WWII drama packed with an all-star cast, but the sheer number of supporting characters means that none are able to shine. A solid war film nonetheless.
Super Reviewer
November 2, 2006
Too long, slow, lifeless.
Super Reviewer
½ August 17, 2007
An overly long and complicated plot. William Goldman, who adapted the script from the novel and accounts from real service men involved in this conflict, insists that he and the other filmmakers took special care to show the events as they really happened. He says critics have unfairly accused the movie of being filled with Hollywood moments that can't be believed. In the special features I saw the filmmakers admit a few cases when they were not absolutely historically accurate. For instance, Robert Redford's character is actually the combination of a couple real life men. And Elliott Gould's character is fictional, but again a mash-up of some other real people. I particularly found it hard to believe a daring escape made by James Caan's character. And while I'm mentioning him, I thought that all of Caan's scenes could have been cut. They did not help move the main story forward, his character disappeared from the end of the movie without explanation, and such a long movie could have been shaved down in this case.

Bogarde plays British Lt. General Browning who is executing the Market Garden plan of General Montgomery. Browning meets with four Generals at the beginning but now I can't place who the fourth guy was. Attenborough explains that all the big name stars were hired to help people more easily follow the plot as it jumps from location to location. At least that effort helps. But I'm not as familiar with all the British stars and with many of the men in helmets or obscured by blood, it was still hard to keep up with all the elements of the plot. Anyways, Market Garden is about taking control of three bridges along the only road running through German occupied Holland to Germany. The first General meeting with Browning whose name I can't remember I think is sent to capture and hold the first bridge, or assign the job, or maybe he sends the first wave to capture and hold the third bridge. It's unclear in my mind and I don't remember seeing his face later in the movie. Moving on, O'Neal plays American Brig. General Gavin who is sent to the second bridge. Then from that same first meeting, Connery plays Scottish Maj. General Urquhart who is sent to lead the second wave to drop down near the third bridge. And Hackman plays Polish Maj. General Sosabowski who must deal with being the leftovers, he's to lead the third wave to help hold control of the third bridge. The whole plan involves a set of tanks moving up the road as each bridge is cleared and thousands of men parachuted down to fight for their respective bridges. There is Caine as Lt. Colonel J.O.E. leading the tanks. Gould plays Colonel Stout who organizes the troops in fixing the first bridge. O'Neal enlists Major Cook's (Redford) help in paddling across a river in broad daylight with his men to accomplish capturing both sides of the second bridge at once. Hopkins as Lt. Colonel Frost is leading the first wave to try to hold the third bridge. Except it is much more heavily defended than expected and before long they are just barely holding on for dear life. Connery's group lands in an area that is also more heavily defended than expected and it becomes more and more unlikely that his men will make it to the third bridge. Hackman's men are delayed by the weather and by the time they arrive to backup the third bridge the Germans are even more prepared. There are a couple German Generals who play major roles as well. Olivier plays a doctor and Ullmann a woman who lets many of the wounded stay at her house. It's a good story about an unsuccessful Allied campaign following D-Day. However, there is just a lot going on and too many Generals to keep track of. The movie could have been better focused.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
½ August 10, 2012
It's an overlong war epic with an ensemble star cast, a plot about a view of a military invasion during World War II from the standpoint of various members of every nation involved, as well as a title that talks about how long something spans, so I think that it's safe to say that this is pretty much more of a companion piece to "The Longest Day" than it is a companion piece to "Theirs Is the Glory", only it's maybe a bit more British. Seriously man, they got Richard Attenborough to direct, and the only way a film can get any more British is if it has a cast featuring Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins and Laurence Olivier, and you better believe that this film went to that level of British. Jeez, that's more British than I can handle, so much so that I pretty much forgot that the film didn't just focus on Brits, so they may as well as have trimmed up this film's excess fat, made it just about the Brits and saved money on James Caan Elliott Gould, Gene Hackman and Robert Redford. Well, in all fairness, they probably didn't cost a whole lot, because they were so bent on being somewhere in every film in the '70s that I can see them taking pay cuts just to be in a film at that time. ...Shoot, I can't even joke about that, because you know those boys got paid, and this film cost enough to make, so I suppose it's a good thing that audiences paid more money to this film than the Oscars paid attention. Well, the critics were just harsh on this film because "for daring to expose the fatal inadequacies of the Allied campaign." ...Shoot, I can't even joke about that either, because you know that they didn't want to admit in this film's making-of documentary that the film was criticised as overlong and overblown by everyone, their grandmother and, now, me, for although I like this film just fine, they aren't kidding when they say that this bridge is too far, because it sure takes a while for this film to get where it wants to go.

Just like "The Longest Day", the film attempts to tackled too much, going bloated to the rim with subplots that all flow together rather inorganically, not necessarily to the point of rendering the film uneven, but definately too the point of rendering the film convoluted and exhaustingly, as I said, overlong and overblown. This of course winds the film something fierce, and it doesn't help that all of these subplots are a touch too similar, in that, after a while, they begin to run into each other and make the film progressively more and more repetitious. This excessive repetition hazes the distinctiveness of each subplot and character, which not only exacerbates the film's convolution, but keeps us from finding a full grip on the many, many stories and characters, leaving them hardly fleshed out and the film itself even more disengaging. Of course, that is not the only problematic consistency in this film, as something that you can expect to find plaguing this film through and through is, of course, Richard Attenborough Brit-tastic slowness and dryness, which slows down the film's momentum even further, and the film is slow enough as it is, thus rendering the final product all too often rather dull, and certainly borderline ceaselessly disengaging. The film drags on and on, and even when things pick up and fall more into action, there's still too much exhausting bloating, and after a while, even the war sequences momentarily fail to sustain your full investment and attention. I joke about this film being pretty much another "The Longest Day", but really, this film is so very startlingly similar to that overlong, overblown mess, to the point of feeling rather unoriginal, outside of being colorized and with a few other relatively unique touches, which is a shame, because this is a unique concept that they could have explored differently with this film for better results, yet don't, instead choosing to succumb to the topes established by "The Longest Day", complete with exhausting excessiveness, disengaging slowness and, ultimately, underwhelmingness. However, "The Longest Day" certainly wasn't without its fair share of strengths, and reasonably strong ones at that, so sure enough, for every fault made by this film, there is a right move that keeps you sticking with it.

The film doesn't entirely deliver on the sweeping shots you would hope for out of an epic, nor does it provide especially dazzling lighting and color, yet Geoffrey Unsworth's cinematography remains generally impressive, having a degree of broadness in it that gives this film a bit of an epic scope, particularly when the occasional slick photography move occurs and really leaves this film to sweep. These sweeping moments certainly come in handy during the action sequences, which are, as I said, often rather exhaustingly overlong and with limited dynamicity, but remain well-done for the most part, with explosive grandness complimented by Unsworth's cinematography at its most sweeping, as well as typically piercing intensity formed from director Richard Attenborough's atmosphere manipulation. Still, the action isn't the only hit-or-miss aspect that hits more than misses... or it might very well be, because I don't particularly know if the substance hits more than misses, being that it's so messily handled, yet make no mistake, this film's substance does kick at enough points to sustain enough of your investment and attention throughout the film's bloated runtime of nearly three hours, particularly when this film pulls the occasional thing that "The Longest Day" didn't quite have the guts to go through with. People give "The Longest Day" a whole heap more credit simply because it's dirt-old, and don't tell me that's not the reason, because there's no getting around the fact that "The Longest Day" suffered from, well, a lot of things, including very '60s dramatic sensibilities, which picked up many potentially effective dramatic moments and either dropped them on the spot or cheesed them up with '60s Hollywood smoothness or unsubtlety, and while this film is considerably dramatcially flawed, if nothing else leaves it to transcend the quality of "The Longest Day", it's its having the advantage of being released in the late '70s with an R rating, and therefore more room to do what "The Longest Day" failed to do: provide audacious dramatic high points; and I mean "high" points. Sure, being that the film is such a mess, the dramatic points aren't especially effective, nor are they even all that frequent, yet when they do hit the scene, Richard Attenborough draws depth from them and cuts to the nitty and gritty, which rarely gets to be pessimistic, or rather, harshly realistic, but definately gets fairly potent in a fashion that sticks with the film through and through, leaving it to grow more and more compelling as it progresses, until by the final act, an engrossing, fairly powerful drama unexpectedly stands, which may sadly not be enough for this film, as a whole, to transcend to generally genuinely good, but definately gives this film some juice when it needs it most, and for this dramatic effectiveness, credit goes out to not only Attenborough, but William Goldman. Goldman's screenplay is certainly flawed, yet most of the film's flaws - of which, there are many - arise from faulty execution of Goldman's screenplay, as Goldman's screenplay is, for the most part, actually fairly sharp, with sharp dialogue, unique points and, yes, even a fair bit of nifty characterization, something that only faults as far as directorial execution is concerned, because when it comes to the performers behind the characters who are being fleshed out, you better believe they deliver, as well they should, considering their caliber. The film's cast is indeed star-studded, boasting countless talents, some of whom are better and with more material than others, yet all of whom deliver on colorful and even distinct charisma that emphasizes their characters and makes them memorable, even with their being messily handled when it comes to Attenborough's direction, and with this film being built around its acting talents - perhaps too much so -, expect plenty of color that may not drown out the film's missteps and render the final product genuinely good, but definately render the final product quite watchable - nay - quite enjoyable.

At the end of the bridge, or rather, the day it takes to watch this, the film lacks some of the uniqueness that was introduced in "The Longest Day", but definately boasts many of the flaws of "The Longest Day", going so excessively bloated with subplots that the substance within each subplot goes tainted with exhausting convolution, while the film, as a whole, goes tainted by immense repetition, and with consistent slowness making the final product even more disengaging, what we're ultimately left with is an epic that's not as good as it should have been, yet still remains fairly decent, boasting consistently fair and, at times, sweeping photography to compliment the dazzling action sequences, while screenwriter William Goldman delivers on generally fine structure that goes complimented by inspired moments in Richard Attenborough's direction, a gradual build in compellingness and, of course, by the immense charisma found throughout the star-studded cast of talents, thus leaving "A Bridge Too Far" to stand as a flawed and ultimately underwhelming, yet generally enjoyable multi-angle study on the WWII Allied forces' Operation Market Garden.

2.5/5 - Fair
Super Reviewer
½ July 21, 2011
An all-star cast that unfortunately only has a few instances of true greatness to showcase it's leads but ultimately is a bit muddled and overlong. Still, there is much worse you could do and there are some true moments of brilliance here.
Super Reviewer
February 2, 2009
If this film was better in every aspect "Spielberg's", Saving Private Ryan wasn't, what is that telling you?
Super Reviewer
½ April 6, 2007
Love war filsm so this is a must.
November 22, 2011
It's a very good movie that could have been made better with the cutting of 30-45 minutes. Terrific battle scenes.
June 30, 2013
I prefer this to The Longest Day if comparing similar war movies with a big cast. This one was more an anti-war story and more realism to it. Though almost 3 hours, the numerous subplots of the different men assigned to the same mission is compelling. Richard Attenborough brings some impressive and intense war scenes that are still not rivaled.

Grade: B
June 26, 2013
Though overlong, muddled, ponderous and overbaked, it's not without some impressive moments typical of many post WWII about WWII pix
March 20, 2009
The first 1/3 of the movie was quite slow leading up to the invasion. The war scenes to follow though were solid. The abundance of stars was distracting however. The plot would've been much better served concentrating on the action rather than the sideshow.
August 23, 2008
Attenborough's epic telling of Field Marshal Sir Bernard Law Montgomery's great fiasco, Operation: Market-Garden. This film is simply bursting with well-known -- and some not-so-well-known -- screen talent. Combine that with the best action of the pre-Saving Private Ryan era and the story itself (which needed to be told) and Germans that speak German and you get what you get: one of the best late-century WWII epics of international cinema... ever.
December 22, 2008
Great World War II classic film. Typical sweet PG rated war film which contains enough action to hold your attention but be able to be played on basic cable. Instant classic war film.
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