A Bridge Too Far 1977

A Bridge Too Far

Critics Consensus

A Bridge Too Far is a war movie too long, although top-notch talent on both sides of the camera keeps the end result consistently watchable.

64%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 25

86%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 43,271

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Movie Info

Late in 1944, the Allies seem to have the upper hand in the European land war. A combined British and American paratrooper force, led by American general Gavin and British general Urquhart (Sean Connery), plans to take a highway leading from the Netherlands into Germany, so that British ground troops led by Lieutenant General Horrocks (Edward Fox) and Lieutenant Colonel Vandeleur (Michael Caine) can enter enemy territory. But the Allies soon learn that they may be overconfident.

Cast & Crew

Dirk Bogarde
Lieutenant General Browning
James Caan
Staff Sergeant Dohun
Michael Caine
Lieutenant Colonel J.O.E. Vandeleur
Sean Connery
Major General Urquhart
Edward Fox
Lieutenant General Horrocks
Elliott Gould
Colonel Stout
Gene Hackman
Major General Sosabowski
Anthony Hopkins
Lieutenant Colonel Frost
Hardy Krüger
Major General Ludwig
Laurence Olivier
Doctor Spaander
William Goldman
Screenwriter
John Addison
Original Music
Geoffrey Unsworth
Cinematographer
Antony Gibbs
Film Editor
Miriam Brickman
Casting
Terence Marsh
Production Design
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News & Interviews for A Bridge Too Far

Critic Reviews for A Bridge Too Far

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (16) | Rotten (9)

Audience Reviews for A Bridge Too Far

  • Oct 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.
    Christian C Super Reviewer
  • Aug 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
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Nov 06, 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.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Aug 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.
    Alex r Super Reviewer

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