This WWII film follows the perspectives of American, Polish and British soldiers attempting to capture key bridges behind German lines in a complicated parachute and armoured assault. Written by
Keith Loh <email@example.com>
Over 2.7 million feet of film were shot. See more »
When General Horrocks is on the stairs of a factory and uses binoculars to look at his tanks, he covers one lens with his fingers while looking thru the binoculars. On a second shot, it looks OK. See more »
Major General Urquhart:
[looking at the escaped lunatics pointing and laughing at the British paratroops]
Think they know something we don't?
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This film is, in my opinion, the greatest war film ever made.
My favourite scenes are those that involve XXX Corps and the British Paras. The sheer audacity and bravery of these men, in the face of almost certain death, is astounding.
If you do some research you'll find that the real troops actually showed more disdain for bullets than their portrayal in the film. For instance, Col John Frost refused to run from building to building during the Arnhem battle as he feared it would show him in a bad light in front of his men!
Anthony Hopkins provides a powerful, and yet understated, performance as Frost.This understatement may have been because the estimable Colonel, by then a Major General, was, along with many of the other senior staff, a military consultant for the film.
Edward Fox gives a great (and entertainingly hammy) performance as Lieutenant-General Brian Horrocks. If you've seen 'The World At War', the definitive WW2 documentary series made in Britain in the 1970's, which features several interviews with the General, you'll notice that Edward Fox captured Horrocks' persona very nicely (if a tiny bit exaggerated). The briefing scene ("This will be a story you'll tell your grandchildren....and mightily bored they'll be") is a classic. Also, where Horrocks is driving in a jeep with Van De Leur (Michael Caine) past the massed, waiting troops ("Morning Bob, hope that's not my funeral you're going to!") is priceless. Fox also bears an uncanny resemblance to General Horrocks...
Sean Connery is perfect as Major General "Roy" Urquhart and his, slightly lumbering, exploits within the German haunted backstreets of Arnhem, following his separation from the majority of his troops, are more astounding for their basis in fact.
When the British Paras stage their first attack across the bridge at Arnhem, in broad daylight, led by Major Carlyle (a fictional representation of a real officer) brandishing just an umbrella, before being beaten back by machine gun fire, it is frighteningly realistic. The way the camera dwells on the groaning, wounded soldiers left behind really brings it all home to you. Would you be able to charge at a machine gun nest? I doubt very much if I could.
So, in summary, a superb film that demands repeated viewing. I watch it at least once a year!
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