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
Over 2.7 million feet of film were shot. At the normal speed of 90 feet a minute (24 fps) for 35 mm film, this equals 500+ hours. See more »
(at around 2h 10 mins) When the German Field Marshall is talking to his subordinate officer overlooking the bridge, silhouettes of modern vehicles can be seen crossing the bridge from a distance. 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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"Private Ryan" may have served up more blood and guts, but it had a fanciful plot and it didn't really tell audiences anything about D-Day. By contrast, "A Bridge Too Far" is like something the History Channel would produce; it's full of maps and narration and endless tactical discussions that, amazingly enough, really held my attention - and really enlightened me about the battle of Market Garden.
It helps that the ensemble cast is great - perhaps the best ever assembled - and the characterization, though a bit thin (as in most war movies), is certainly good enough considering how heavily the plot dominates. The film's one major weakness is that it telegraphs the battle's result from too early on; all the smart characters think that the operation will be a disaster, and lo and behold, it's a disaster.
I love this movie anyway, maybe because of the production style, which is more realistic than the cornball war films of previous decades but not quite so over-the-top as "Private Ryan." The battles are both thrilling and terrifying, a nicely struck balance. When the end credits roll, I always feel tired - like the characters - which is a testament to how involving (and effective) the movie is.
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