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I saw this movie when it was first released , i was 16 Years of age, it
ever since been my anchor point on my view of what war is all
A group of teens under the guidance of an old man to old to be a warrior
anylonger is tasked to defend the towns sole connection to the rest of the
In the real worl of teenagers and peer groups this occours all the time , though not in a global conflict setting, where death is a regular participant in the drama, but the issues of friendship, loyalty to group , let alone nation, is just as real. The futility of war and its inability to solve problems in any way other than it's irreversible finality is shown with great finesse here.
Youthfull spirit and age/experience leavened judgment clash as they allways seem to do and nobody wins. In the end the destruction of war is shown in its full futility. I liked the movie when i first saw it , it greatly impressed me then with its full character development. Other war movies can take a page from it in that it does not glorify war as so many other movies do.
When I saw the title "Die Bruecke" I wasn't quite sure what to think. The
title doesn't point out what the movie could be about, but when I watched
I found out why the title of the movie is "Die Bruecke".
The movie was directed by Bernhard Wicky and in my opinion he has done an
excellent job. "Die Brucke" is a classical movie but it has some
of some movies today. The preformance of the acting crew I found to be
teriffic. "Die Brucke" is surely one of the most interesting movies I
Dijaz Bernandin Merzihic March 31, 2003
This German contender for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar is an
unflinching war effort that obviously draws comparisons in its
narrative depicting the disillusionment experienced by a number of
schoolboys-turned-soldiers with ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT
(1930), albeit dealing with the subsequent world conflict. Though only
rated * by the "Leslie Halliwell Film Guide", it boasts a favourable
write-up therein on the other hand, I was under the impression that
it was given more than *** in the Leonard Maltin equivalent! For the
record, it has received its due in "War Movies" an oversized but
appealing book on the subject owned by my father and is even listed
in the all-time top 3,000 movies ranked by the "Wonders In The Dark"
The acclaim this garnered upon release won Wicki the co-director gig on Darryl F. Zanuck's super production revolving around the D-Day landings THE LONGEST DAY (1962); his brief Hollywood tenure also comprised THE VISIT (1964) and, another WWII adventure, MORITURI (1965) a distinguished actor in his own right, he is perhaps best-known for his supporting turn in Michelangelo Antonioni's LA NOTTE (1961). With respect to the film's cast, only the face of a youthful Fritz Wepper future co-star of CABARET (1972) and the "Derrick" TV series was familiar to this viewer. Oddly boasting no credits on the print I watched (except for the title and company credits!), this competed at the Oscars against Italy's THE GREAT WAR a viewing of which followed in quick succession that concerned itself, albeit on a vaster scale and in a serio-comic tone, with WWI but they were surprisingly defeated by the exotic French entry i.e. BLACK ORPHEUS.
The movie is basically divided into three parts: the first 40 minutes showing the boys in school; the next 30 illustrating their basic training and posting; and the last half-hour being devoted to the combat sequences. Most of the teenage boys are coming-of-age and experience their first sexual hang-ups before being sent to the front: a blond boy with the only female student in the class; another the salesgirl in his father's shop (who is also the boss' lover); and the cowardly Mayor's son towards the gymnasium instructor in a nearby girls' school. The battle scenes are certainly effectively rendered and appropriately harrowing, if occasionally over-the-top: a G.I., astonished to be confronted by a bunch of 16 year-olds, tells them to run off to their mothers but they find his condescending attitude insulting and he is literally gutted by their response!; an equally disdainful local, then, has his face blown off and body scarred by a backfiring bazooka, etc. The supreme irony of the film is that, while the boys' superior officer (who is himself shot almost instantly for apparent desertion by his own compatriots!) orders them to defend the expendable bridge ostensibly to keep the kids out of harm's way, the fact that the German forces intend blowing it up regardless so as to stem the Allied advance ensures that all but one of the fresh-faced soldiers sacrifice their lives to the fatherland unnecessarily!
It's always a bit of a problem watching a movie with subtitles. Some of
the dialogue on this is so quick I had to pause and rewind to catch all
that was said.
Despite this I found myself drawn in to the story. The acting of the boys covered so many of the traits you would expect to find in youths. The futility of continuing the war is well portrayed as is the impact on the general population.
The haunting aspect is the eagerness that young (soon to be) men have for war and the ease with which their minds are led to believe that they must fight for a cause. This movie was set during WWII but that aspect of the story could just as easily apply today in other conflicts today.
The closing action scenes have a few flaws, as noted by other reviewers, but this doesn't detract from the main focus of the movie.
It is an anti-war movie, but not in the glossy manner of Saving Private Ryan.
This film is a surprise. After all these years it still is possible to find a film who can astound. Probably one of the best anti-war films ever made. Maybe even the best. And that is saying a lot. The story is stripped down to the bone. All that matters is the message it brings. And it is a magnificent message. The film takes you back to the last weeks before the end of what probably is the greatest catastrophe in German (if not European) history. It leaves the viewer with a vicious taste of all that is foul and dirty in war. The stench of death and pointless destruction. This film is nothing short of a true masterpiece. I have seen most 'warmovies' in my life, but 'Die Brucke' tops them all. This film should be on anybody's short list. Momentous, grand and a stroke of genius.
I saw this on television one night when I was about eleven or twelve
years old. Walter Cronkite introduced the movie as a German-made,
anti-war film. He warned the audience of its disturbing nature and the
depiction of young boys, Hitler Youth, being used to defend a bridge in
Three things I still remember occurring in the story: One of the boys becoming enraged when one of the American soldiers facing them called out, "Go back to kindergarten!". Another was when one boy fired his Panzerfaust and the back blast caught another boy full in the face. Lastly, what I remember.....I could be wrong......to be the last lines in the movie being a boy calling out to one of his friends, "Karl! Karl!" and the look of terror on his face.
I only saw this movie once many years ago and yet its impact has stayed with me all this time. I would like very much to see it again and that, I believe, is a mark of a good movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"The irony about bridges that they actually connect things. And that
makes them interesting to capture. And that makes them points of
conflict. Like the bridge at Remagen, A bridge too far or the bridge in
Saving Private Ryan." Henry tapped a large map on the wall of the
garage turned movie theater. He was wearing a bucket for a helmet.
"You might call this one the final bridge." Kristl said. She had refused to wear any silly items, but then she hardly needed to as she was already dressed in army gear with her combat boots and leather jacket.
"So how is it to have things reversed?" Said Henry.
"You mean that this movie does not center around Americans?" Kristl said.
"US as baddies?"
"I got the feeling those Americans were not actually portrayed as bad. More as opponents really. They were a bit miffed that they were shot at and shooting at kids."
"Uhm...they were more like regulars. Not Nazi's."
"And they kicked ass. Almost wiped out a whole unit of Americans that hightailed it outta there." Kristl said gleefully.
"Hmm.. They acted kind of silly. Driving headlong at a bridge. I think they wouldn't have done that in reality."
"You mean.. it might not be very historical?" Kristl said. Her smile was just a tad too wide."Like say... an unit of SS armored vehicles frontally assaulting dug in US airborne troops in a village without any infantry support?"
"I know what you are getting at." Henry said, "So it was fun."
"Yeah. It was fun having things reversed."
"So that is what the movie is all about for you?"
"Not all. The movie is another one that shows the futility of war. Kids play at soldiers defending a bridge that did not need defending at the end of the war. I think it was well acted. It breathes the revulsion of war that Germany in those days felt. Pointless killing in a pointless act of war." "The actual fight didn't really last long."
"No. It was a small part of the movie."
"I must say I had a hard time connecting to the kids though. With them speaking German and all."
"I must say I had some problems with that too. Not because of them talking German, but it felt like I was watching a story from a distance. I think it is because the movie is over fifty years old and we have seen many with the same message. But we should not forget that this was one of the first. We often forget that."
"Maybe. For action lovers not the best of movies I think."
"No. This is not Rambo.. or the Bridge at Remagen. It is slower and less violent overall. Although the end is still said. Still a very watchable movie."
"For a German..."
"I am not German.." Kristl said.
"I never said you were, but to be precise, make it: for an European."
"Sounds like that is something bad."
"It is not American."
"Well, next time you get invaded, you get to make a movie about the futile defense of a bridge of your choice."
"That is never going to happen. Who is going to invade us.. Let alone succeed?"
"Hmm. Yeah. They might stand a chance. American zombies, of course."
"Your patriotism is commendable."
"Yeah." And Henry sang the first couplet of the star spangled banner.
And Kristl thought that no power, either temporal or spiritual, on Earth or beyond, could face off Henry's singing prowess and survive.
I've been getting "The Bell and Blade" catalog since forever. One film
in there has intrigued me for the longest time "Die Bruke" from Germany
made in 1959. So many reviews of how marvelous this film is and how any
WWII historian should view it to get one of Germany's first post war
views of itself. Well, I couldn't rent it from Netflix so I finally
broke down and bought the thing. I watched it last night... I must say
I was quite disappointed. While I wasn't expecting "The Best Years of
our Lives" I was expecting a more in depth treatment of the late war,
Hitler Youth mentality than I got!. It' wasn't the worst but man, the
climactic bridge battle scene was from hunger. Farm tractors
(literally) painted up to look like Sherman Tanks. Death scenes
straight out of the silent era for muggery and anquish. Pheh... I'm
sorry but I was very disappointed.
I have seen the movie in original language in school back in ... 2004 :p. This movie pictures some boys with idealistic view on war until they finally see it. It could be a nice movie worth whole eight or nine points if it was made after the student disorders at the end of 60s which changed the popular point of view on the life in the third Reich. In the German village shown in the movie, everybody hates the Nazi regime to a different degree except one one-dimensional evil, bad, greedy, vile, fat and ugly guy who also finally turns out to be a coward. Another low point is that the boys fight as if they were absolutely 1337, and that on their first day in service! The good side of this movie that it shows something new about the ww2, that it shows it from the 'other side' which is seldom seen in cinema about it. The boys play quite well while the American soldier and the pacifist teacher seem to act too lively and that disturbs the experience.
A group of German boys, their first day in the army, are told to guard a
bridge in order to keep them out of any real fighting.
I last saw this film in the early '70's when I was a little younger than the boys are in the film and when a certain war in South-East Asia was very fresh in everyone's mind. Needless to say, I thought it was one of the best things I had ever seen.
A quarter century has passed since then, so my perspective now is quite a bit different.
Is this actually supposed to be a realistic portrait of a German town in the spring of 1945? Especially one that's supposed to be only a few miles from the front line? You can't tell there's even a war on. No one seems to care about imminent, humiliating German defeat. There's no panic. No refugees. No malnutrition. No Hitler Youth or Gestapo. Is this a town in Germany, or some spa in neutral Switzerland? There is no tension in the town or in the film. The teenagers in "American Graffiti" were under greater emotional strain. The mood here is so relaxed it's like the fishing scenes in "A River Runs Through It". Surely I'm exaggerating? I only wish I were.
I was reminded strangely of the early scenes in "All Quiet on the Western Front" -- euphoria, jubilation, enthusiastic students joining up and receiving their first training. But those scenes take place in the flag-waving "Deutschland über alles in der Welt" of 1914, not the collapsing Germany of 1918.
I was appalled watching this. It hardly seems the same film I remember at all.
Things don't improve much once the battle gets underway. It's their FIRST DAY in the army. They know how to belt-feed a light machinegun, do they? They face hardened US vets, but our boys are knockin' out tanks with panzerfausts like they're hittin' cans with peashooters. The US Army in 1945 was noted for its hardened and totally inept infantrymen and tankers, was it? The Allies in 1945 were accustomed to fighting fanatical Hitler Youth children. As I understand it, their customary response was to shoot back, not shout "Go back to kindergarten!"
Panzerfausts are the sole reason for history buffs to see this film. You get to see them used. You get to see someone hit by the backblast. The film is "brutal" to that extent anyway.
Am I missing the whole point of "The Bridge"? Maybe. Or maybe I assimilated the point a couple of decades ago and my standards are higher now. Have I seen "Hell Is For Heroes", or "Castle Keep", or either version of "Red Badge" recently? No, I haven't. Perhaps I would see those classics with more discriminating eyes too.
I happened to see the subtitled video version of this film. The subtitles are © 1995, but you can tell they are still the haphazardly translated, low quality ones from the '50's. Panzerfausts are called "tank grenades". When a German says "Diese verdammten Schweine!", that is translated as "The swine!" in order to protect sensitive Eisenhower-era viewers from "strong" language. The translations are poor to say the least. Someone says "Schokolade"; it appears on screen as "candy" since there's no such English word as "chocolate". I think we are losing some of the impact the film probably does have, due to the casual and arbitrary way in which it was translated. If a German says "Yes, Captain", why do the titles read "Yes, sir"? How is that a quantifiable improvement? The German words "Heimat" and "Vaterland" both appear as "Fatherland". What happened to subtlety and shades of meaning? If a German says "Mutter", it's translated as "Mammy", but if he actually does use the informal "Mutti", then that's translated as "Mother". Isn't it easier to translate the actual film dialogue than to invent your own? Why aren't we being allowed to see the same film that Germans get to see?
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