The Bridge (1959)
"Die Brücke" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, War  |  1 May 1961 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 5,166 users  
Reviews: 44 user | 26 critic

In 1945, Germany is being overrun, and nobody is left to fight but teenagers.


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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 15 wins. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Folker Bohnet ...
Hans Scholten
Fritz Wepper ...
Albert Mutz
Michael Hinz ...
Walter Forst
Frank Glaubrecht ...
Jurgen Borchert
Karl Michael Balzer ...
Karl Horber
Volker Lechtenbrink ...
Klaus Hager
Günther Hoffmann ...
Sigi Bernhard
Cordula Trantow ...
Wolfgang Stumpf ...
Günter Pfitzmann ...
Heinz Spitzner ...
Siegfried Schürenberg ...
Lt. Colonel
Ruth Hausmeister ...
Mrs. Mutz
Eva Vaitl ...
Mrs. Borchert
Edith Schultze-Westrum ...
Mother Bernhard


A group of German boys is ordered to protect a small bridge in their home village during the waning months of the second world war. Truckloads of defeated, cynical Wehrmacht soldiers flee the approaching American troops, but the boys, full of enthusiasm for the "blood and honor" Nazi ideology, stay to defend the useless bridge. Written by Miranda Callahan

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


They look for love in a world of violence!


Drama | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »





Release Date:

1 May 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Bridge  »

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Company Credits

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film is set in Cham, in Bavaria, Germany. See more »


The action takes place within a couple of days in the late spring of 1945 as the US forces were moving through Bavaria. However, the trees clearly show their late Autumn remaining foliage, instead of spring buds and new leaves. See more »


Featured in Loriots 80. Geburtstag (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

The Boys' War
20 April 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Made in 1959, "The Bridge" is one of the few films from the former West Germany that squarely faces the theme of Nazi defeat. It is a courageous work where content is all important, so much so that it hardly matters that the direction is rather limp and pedestrian and the acting somewhat less than impressive. It is an elegy to lost youth concluding with a caption that vents such anger through the irony of understatement that it earns without question a rightful place among the most seriously committed of anti-war films. The setting is an unspecified small town in Germany where to begin with, apart from a bomb dropped in the river and conversations about hardship and shortages, the war seems far more than a distant rumble away. We follow a group of seven 15 year old boys at school and play until the time when the rapidly approaching American front necessitates their call up and hasty military training. As the military front creeps ever closer they are given the role of defending a bridge over a river, the wisdom of which is seriously questioned by several of their superior offices but which they eagerly take on in the spirit of boyhood heroism combined with what one can well imagine to be the ideology instilled into them by past experience of the Hitler Youth. The terrible last half hour in which their baptism by fire is recorded in graphic detail through the stages of excitement, terror and death is gruelling to watch, the more so because the youth of the sufferers generates so much anger at such waste and loss. I would not for one moment claim the "The Bridge" is in the same league as Kubrick's "Paths of Glory", Helma Sanders-Brahms's "Germany, Pale Mother" or Klimov's "Come and See" - Bernhard Wicki is a lesser director who never quite succeeds in making each of the seven protagonists a memorable character - but nevertheless he manages convincingly to flesh out in dramatic form the terrible reality behind that awesome newsreel footage of Hitler encouraging boy troops amid the rubble of Berlin. "The Bridge" brings home more than most films the madness of it all.

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