Operation Market Garden, September 1944: The Allies attempt to capture several strategically important bridges in the Netherlands in the hope of breaking the German lines. However, mismanagement and poor planning result in its failure.
It is near the end of WWII. The Germans have lost most of France, and the Allied forces decide to give them the final hit. They plan to drop thousands of paratroopers in the Netherlands and keep a few key positions there, until reenforcements arrive. The most important spot is the bridge of Arnhem; once it's captured, it can block everything west of Germany Written by
Chris Makrozahopoulos <email@example.com>
Dame Daphne Du Maurier, the widow of Lt. General Browning, complained that her husband had been "made the fall guy" for the failure of "Operation Market Garden" by this film. Browning and the unseen Field Marshal Montgomery, who are shown as responsible for the failure, had both died by the time the film opened in 1977 (unlike the other commanders involved). Director Richard Attenborough defended his depiction of Browning by pointing to the final scene, where he says, "As you know, I've always thought we were going a bridge too far". Browning did actually say something very similar to this (hence the title of Cornelius Ryan's original book and this film), but he said it well before the operation started. See more »
Most of the C-47 aircraft in the movie are incorrectly painted a yellowish-brown. The actual color would have been olive drab. See more »
Maj. General Roy Urqhart:
When you first named me to this command, I told you I had never jumped before, but I felt I should at least give it a go. You told me, 'Roy, you're much too old and far too large for that sort of thing.' Well, I didn't tell you at the time, but you did me a favor. You see, I'm prone to airsickness.
Lt. General Browning:
Good God. Every time?
Maj. General Roy Urqhart:
Well, we'll soon see.
See more »
A Bridge Too Far was the last of a long line of the "General's" war-films that came out of Hollywood since WWII. Afterwards, the production for these films wavered, probably because of the fact that A Bridge Too Far did not fare so well in the box office.
One of the main reasons A Bridge Too Far did not succeed as it might have was because of the American audience. The film was a) targeted towards a British audience and b) made very soon after the end of America's involvement in Vietnam. The combination of time and subject killed the film. But anyone can tell you that every time this film is shown on a TV broadcast, the ratings are quite high.
The film itself, contrary to what many would claim, IS NOT another glorification of American heroism. While there is a certain American involvement which is rightly due, the film is very much centered on the Brits at Arnhem. Afterall, they were the ones that got massacred, right? Adding to that, the initial setup of the operation (which the film took surprisingly long to cover, and probably killed off the interest of the average movie-goer/critic) was almost solely concerned with the British planning, with one or two references to the American G.I. (I guess they had to put in those mini-episodes of American servicemen to attract the American viewing public).
But enough about the bad side of the film, now onto the amazing part:
This is the first film I have seen from that generation to create a realistic picture of what the setting was like (down to the very streets and houses of Holland, which, for comparison, The Battle of the Bulge managed to get ALL wrong --- as a sidenote: if you have seen the aforementioned film, have you noticed how during the climatic battle, tanks drove across a DESERT? The battle took place in January during the WORST winter storm of Europe in Belgium... and how they managed to convince the public that if a tank is painted with an iron cross, even though it's an American M48 main battle tank built in the late 50's, that it must be a German Tiger tank... sorry for the rambling). I am most impressed by the Arnhem bridge itself (sadly, they dedicated much too short a sequence of cheering soldiers to the bridge at Grave, which is probably one of the greatest Allied success EVER for a bridge assault, up there with Remagen and Pegasus), which is shot on location with probably the most accurate feel of just how desperate the situation was (and none of Private Ryan's heroism/John Wayne-invincibility either).
Characters are excellently portrayed, although how they really acted historically might be somewhat different. Camera-work was phenomenal, given the difficulty of shooting on scene (they couldn't close down the Arnhem Bridge for extended periods of time, one must realize). The most dramatic sequence was probably the launch of the planes and the subsequent breakout by XXX Corps, which to this day remains my favourite battle sequence in any movie (yes, even when compared with the Omaha scene from Saving Private Ryan).
Like the movie, my review has become unnecessarily long. But to conclude, this film deserves a good watch, or maybe even a couple of viewings, for any serious history/war-film lover or those who just want to learn more about those who have sacraficed so much for us. 9/10.
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