A Bridge Too Far (1977)

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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., Rovi
Rating:
PG
Genre:
Action & Adventure , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
United Artists

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Cast

Michael Caine
as Lt. Col. Joe Vandeleur
Robert Redford
as Maj. Julian Cook
Anthony Hopkins
as Lt. Col. John Frost
Ryan O'Neal
as Brig. Gen. James M. Gavin
Sean Connery
as Maj. Gen. Roy Urquhart
James Caan
as SSgt. Eddie Dohun
Maximilian Schell
as Lt. Gen. Wilhelm Bittrich
Laurence Olivier
as Doctor Spaander
Arthur Hill
as Tough Colonel
Gene Hackman
as Maj. Gen. Sosabowski
Edward Fox
as Lt. Gen. Brian Horrocks
Denholm Elliott
as RAF Meteorological Officer
Ben Cross
as Trooper Binns
Dirk Bogarde
as Lt. Gen. Roy Browning
Elliott Gould
as Col. Bobby Stout
Liv Ullmann
as Kate Ter Horst
Sean Mathias
as Irish Guards Lieutenant
Simon Chandler
as Private Simmonds
Nicholas Campbell
as Capt. Glass
Neil Kennedy
as Colonel Barker
Niall Padden
as British Medical Officer
John Hackett
as Glider Pilot
John Judd
as Sergeant Clegg
Gerald Sim
as Colonel Sims
Hardy Kruger
as Maj. Gen. Ludwig
John Ratzenberger
as US Lieutenant
Stephen Moore
as Major Steele
Patrick Ryecart
as German Lieutenant
Frank Grimes
as Major Fuller
Michael Graham Cox
as Captain Cleminson
Peter Faber
as Capt. Harry
Wolfgang Preiss
as Field Marshal von Rundstedt
Fred Williams
as Captain Grabner
Chris Williams
as Corporal Merrick
John Stride
as Grenadier Guards Major
Hans von Borsody
as General Blumentritt
Alun Armstrong
as Corporal Davies
Hartmut Becker
as German Sentry
Donald Douglas
as Brigadier Lathbury
Michael Byrne
as Lieutenant Colonel Giles Vandeleur
John Salthouse
as Private 'Ginger' Marsh
Jeremy Kemp
as RAF Meteorological Officer
Erik Chitty
as Organist
George Innes
as Sergeant Macdonald
Ray Jewers
as US Radio Operator
Hilary Minster
as British Medical Officer
Stanley Lebor
as Regimental Sergeant Major
Paul Maxwell
as Major General Maxwell Taylor
Christopher Good
as Maj. Carlyle
Harry Ditson
as US Private
David Auker
as 'Taffy' Brace
Garrick Hagon
as Lieutenant Rafferty
Jack Galloway
as Private Vincent
Peter Gordon
as US Sergeant
Donald Pickering
as Lieutenant Colonel Mackenzie
Lex van Delden
as Sergeant Matthias
Ben Howard
as Sergeant Towns
Paul Copley
as Private Wicks
Jack McKenzie
as Soldier
Walter Kohut
as Field Marshall Model
Siem Vroom
as Underground Leader
Richard Kane
as Colonel Weaver
Anthony Milner
as Private Dodds
John Morton
as US Padre
Jon Croft
as Soldier
Michael Wolf
as Field Marshall Model's Aide
Mary Smithuysen
as Old Dutch Woman
Keith Drinkel
as Lt. Cornish
David English
as Private Andrews
Frank Jarvis
as Soldier
Ian Liston
as Sergeant Witney
Jason White
as Soldier
David Stockton
as Soldier
Milton Cadman
as Private Long
Shaun Curry
as Corporal Robbins
Barry McCarthy
as Privare Clark
Toby Salaman
as Private Stephenson
James Snell
as Soldier
Peter Settelen
as Lt. Cole
Eric Vant Wout
as Child with Spectacles
Donald Douglas
as Brigadier Lathbury
David Stockton
as Soldier
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Critic Reviews for A Bridge Too Far

All Critics (11)

Consistently reinforces the horrors of war by depicting not only the disasterous military engagements and their toll on heroes, but also the witless political decisions that led to needless, excessive loss of life. [Blu-Ray]

Full Review… | June 1, 2008
Groucho Reviews

Though overlong, muddled, ponderous and overbaked, it's not without some impressive moments.

Full Review… | May 29, 2007
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Dozens of stars do not a classic WWII flick make. James Caan fares best of them all in a memorable sequence.

August 1, 2005
Video-Reviewmaster.com

A gripping bit of cinema

July 4, 2005
Moviehole

Recreates this complicated and tragic military venture with breathtaking sweep, historical accuracy and sober-eyed humanism.

Full Review… | January 22, 2004
Spirituality and Practice

Fantastic WW2 epic with a 1970's "all star" cast.

March 19, 2003
eFilmCritic.com

Audience Reviews for A Bridge Too Far

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.

Christian C
Christian C

Super Reviewer

½

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.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

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.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

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