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.
The true story of Operation Market Garden, the Allies attempt, in September 1944, to hasten the end of WW2 by driving through Belgium and Holland into Germany. The idea was for US airborne divisions to take the towns of Eindhoven and Nijmegen and a British airborne division, reinforced by a Polish airborne brigade, to take the town of Arnhem. They would be reinforced, in due course and in turn, by the British XXX Corps, land-based and driving up from the British lines in the south. The key to the operation was the bridges, as if the Germans held or blew them, the paratroopers could not be relieved. Faulty intelligence, Allied high command hubris and stubborn German resistance would ensure that Arnhem was a bridge too far. Written by
Major Fuller (Frank Grimes), the officer who is told not to "rock the boat" over the aerial intelligence, was actually named Brian Urquhart. His name was changed in the film, so that the audience would not confuse him with Sir Sean Connery's character, Major R.E. Urquhart (no relation). See more »
As the first British paratroopers are assembling, there are wide angle shots of activity. Most of the paratroopers are carrying the correct rifles, machine pistols or other weapons, but a few can be spotted carrying American M1 Garand rifles that were rarely used by British or Commonwealth forces. Later in the movie, as the tide turns and the British paratroopers have surrendered, German soldiers crossing a small foot bridge to the British command post can be briefly seen carrying M1s as well. M1s were issued to a small percentage of Commonwealth airborne troopers to increase the rifle fire-power of squads. Photos of Canadian airborne troops verify this. See more »
Field Marshal Model:
No reinforcements to Arnhem. Von Runstedt says we will need them for our counter attack.
Lt. General Bittrich:
Counterattack! With what?
Field Marshal Model:
Paratroopers are lightly armed and equipped. They cannot hold out for long. If we can hold up their infantry on the road to Arnhem, they will be forced to surrender.
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The movie is a cut above most cinematic portrayals of historical events, likely due to it's being based on historian Cornelius Ryan's excellent book, and it's not as overproduced or staged as the film version of another of his books, The Longest Day. The producer admits to crediting one assault to the Americans, when in the event the British were first to attack, but overall the movie relates a good sense of history and geography, and respects the timeline of the actual events. It shows the national and class tensions affecting the Allied leadership, and gives a sense of the character of the participants. The writing gives the plethora of good actors something to work with despite no single leading role (and it's fun to watch so many actors in a single film.) Relevant information is included in the character's dialogue rather than through narration. The editing adds to the flow of events, balancing the suspense borne by the individuals involved with interest and action for the viewer. Add in the Intelligent direction by Richard Attenborough, and it makes this one of my favorite World War Two films.
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