A Bridge Too Far (1977)
Lt. Colonel J.O.E. Vandeleur: Remember what the general said; we're the cavalry. It would be bad form to arrive in advance of schedule. In the nick of time would do nicely.
John Frost: I'm awfully sorry, but I'm afraid we're going to have to occupy your house.
Lt. General Horrocks: This is a story you will tell your grandchildren; and mightily bored they'll be.
Major General Urquhart: [looking at the escaped lunatics pointing and laughing at the British paratroops] Think they know something we don't?
Lt. General Frederick "Boy" Browning: I've just been on to Monty. He's very proud and pleased.
Major General Urquhart: Pleased?
Lt. General Frederick "Boy" Browning: Of course. He thinks Market Garden was 90% successful.
Major General Urquhart: But what do you think?
Lt. General Frederick "Boy" Browning: Well, as you know, I always felt we tried to go a bridge too far.
Lt. General Horrocks: Kickoff will be at 14:35 hours tomorrow afternoon. The Irish Guards under the command of Col. Vandeleur will take the lead.
Lt. Colonel J.O.E. Vandeleur: [sotto voce] Christ, not us again.
Lt. General Horrocks: What'd you say to that, Joe?
Lt. Colonel J.O.E. Vandeleur: Delighted, sir, truly delighted.
Lt. General Horrocks: I've selected you to lead us, not only because of your extraordinary fighting ability, but also because, in the unlikely event the Germans ever get you, they will assume from your attire that they've captured a wretched peasant and immediately send you on your way.
[Carlyle has asked to see Frost before he dies]
Lt. Col. John Frost: Hello, Harry.
Major Harry Carlyle: Hello. Johnny.
Lt. Col. John Frost: You know, Harry; I always wanted to ask you, but didn't because I knew you so very much wanted me to and I didn't want to give you the satisfaction; but why do you always carry that umbrella?
Major Harry Carlyle: Bad memory. Never could remember the password. Knew no Jerry would carry one. Had to prove I was an Englishman, you see.
U.S. medical colonel: Sergeant Dohun pulled a gun on me and threatened to kill me unless I did precisely what he ordered. I want you to put him under arrest.
Lt. Rafferty: Yes sir.
U.S. medical colonel: I want you to keep him there. I want you to keep him there for at least ten seconds.
Lt. Rafferty: I'm not all that sure I understand, Colonel.
U.S. medical colonel: Count to ten, Lieutenant, fast.
Lt. Rafferty: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Like that, sir?
U.S. medical colonel: [dismisses him] Thank you, Lieutenant.
[an SS officer is approaching under a white flag]
Major Harry Carlyle: Rather interesting development, sir.
[to the German]
Major Harry Carlyle: That's far enough! We can hear you from there!
SS Panzer Officer: My general says there is no point in continuing this fighting! He wishes to discuss terms of a surrender!
Major Harry Carlyle: Shall I answer him, sir?
Lt. Col. John Frost: Tell him to go to hell.
Major Harry Carlyle: We haven't the proper facilities to take you all prisoner! Sorry!
SS Panzer Officer: [confused] What?
Major Harry Carlyle: We'd like to, but we can't accept your surrender! Was there anything else?
[German officer walks off]
Lt. Col. John Frost: Well, that's that.
[the officer returns to General Bittrich, and they converse in German]
SS Panzer Officer: They rejected our surrender offer. What are your orders, Herr General?
Lt. General Bittrich: Flatten Arnhem.
Corporal Hancock: Sir.
[Offers mug of tea]
Major General Urquhart: Hancock. I've got lunatics laughing at me from the woods. My original plan has been scuppered now that the jeeps haven't arrived. My communications are completely broken down. Do you really believe any of that can be helped by a cup of tea?
Corporal Hancock: Couldn't hurt, sir.
[Urquhart accepts his mug of tea]
Brig. General James Gavin: So that's it. We're pulling them out. It was Nijmegen.
Lt. Colonel J.O.E. Vandeleur: It was the single road getting to Nijmegen.
Lt. General Horrocks: No, it was after Nijmegen.
Lt. General Frederick "Boy" Browning: And the fog, in England.
Maj. General Stanislaw Sosabowski: Doesn't matter what it was. When one man says to another, "I know what let's do today, let's play the war game."... everybody dies.
Col. Robert Stout: I'm Bobby Stout.
Lt. Colonel J.O.E. Vandeleur: Have you ever been liberated before?
Col. Robert Stout: I got divorced twice, does that count?
Lt. Colonel J.O.E. Vandeleur: That counts.
Lt. General Frederick "Boy" Browning: Hello, Roy. How are you?
Maj. General Roy Urqhart: I'm not sure I'll know for a while. But I'm sorry about how it turned out.
Lt. General Frederick "Boy" Browning: You did all you could.
Maj. General Roy Urqhart: Yes, but did everyone else?
Lt. General Frederick "Boy" Browning: They've got a bed for you upstairs if you want it.
Maj. General Roy Urqhart: I took ten thousand men into Arnhem. I've come out with less than two. I don't feel much like sleeping.
Field Marshal Model's aide: Field Marshal, thousands of paratroops have landed in this area, three kilometres from here.
Field Marshal Model: What? Why? There is nothing important here... me! I'm important! They must've landed here just to capture me.
[stands from his lunch and moves to the door]
Field Marshal Model: Get my car ready.
[makes to leave]
Field Marshal Model's aide: Yes, sir!
[about to leave himself]
Field Marshal Model: [pops back in and shouts] And don't forget my cigars!
[Horrocks is about to brief his XXX Corps on Operation Market Garden]
Lt. General Horrocks: Gentlemen, this is a story that you shall tell your grandchildren, and mightily bored they'll be.
[the entire corps laughs]
Lt. General Horrocks: The plan is called "Operation Market Garden". "Market" is the airborne element, and "Garden", the ground forces. That's us.
[Horrocks points to a map behind him of Holland, showing the positions of the Allied forces, and the path the Corps will take]
Lt. General Horrocks: Now, this is our position on the Belgian border, here. Tomorrow, three airborne divisions will begin landing in Holland. 35,000 men taking off from 24 airfields in troop-carrying planes or towed in gliders. The American 101st, here, around Eindhoven, the American 82nd, here, south of Nijmegen, and our own 1st airborne boys, and a Polish brigade, here, at Arnhem, 64 miles behind enemy lines.
[the corps murmurs at the details of the operation]
Lt. General Horrocks: [Continuing with the briefing] Now, their job is to take and hold all the bridges in these three areas. Our job is to punch a hole through the German front line, here, and then drive like hell up this road, linking up with each airborne division on the way. Speed is the vital factor. The plan is to reach Eindhoven in two to three hours, and Arnhem in two to three days. That, gentlemen, is the prize - the bridge over the Rhine, the last bridge between us and Germany. Kickoff will be at 1435 hours tomorrow afternoon. The Irish Guards, under the command of Colonel Vandeleur, will take the lead.
Lt. Colonel J.O.E. Vandeleur: [whispering to his adjutant] Christ, not us again.
Lt. General Horrocks: [Hearing Vandeleur's statement to his adjutant] What do you say to that, J.O.E?
Lt. Colonel J.O.E. Vandeleur: [getting up from his chair and addressing General Horrocks] Uh, delighted, sir. Truly delighted.
[the corps erupts in laughter again as Horrocks smiles. Vandeleur sits back down]
Lt. General Horrocks: Now, I've selected you to lead us not only because of your extraordinary fighting ability, but also because in the unlikely event that the Germans ever get you, they will assume from your attire that they've captured a wretched peasant, and immediately send you on your way.
[the corps laughs at Horrocks' comments]
Lt. General Horrocks: Now, maintaining the speed of our advance will no doubt be tough going, as it's a single highway. But no matter what, we must reach those 1st airborne boys in 48 hours. Now, gentlemen, I'm not saying that this will be the easiest party that we've ever attended, but I still wouldn't miss it for the world
Lt. General Horrocks: I'd like to think of this as one of those American western films. The paratroops, lacking substantial equipment, always short of food - these are the besieged homesteaders, the Germans, well naturally, they're the bad guys, and XXX Corps, we my friends, are the cavalry, on the way to the rescue.
[the room bursts into applause]
[film opens with montage footage of a World War II era bomber dropping ordinances. Suddenly, the footage freezes, and we hear a woman speaking]
Kate Ter Horst: It's hard to remember now, but Europe was like this in 1944.
[the video resumes, showing footage of the fighting while the narrator continues on with the introduction]
Kate Ter Horst: The Second World War was in its fifth year and still going Hitler's way. German troops controlled most of Europe. D-Day changed all that.
[the archive footage cuts to the invasion of Normandy and the liberation of Paris]
Kate Ter Horst: D-Day, June 6, 1944, when the Allied forces, under their commander, General Eisenhower, landed on the northern coast of France. By July, they were able to begin their own offensive. By August, Paris was liberated. Everywhere the Germans retreated.
[we then see archive footage showing the Allied advance through northern France]
Kate Ter Horst: But with the Allied victories came problems. Supplies still had to be driven from Normandy, over 400 miles away, and became dangerously short. The Allied advance began to come to a halt.
[the archive footage then goes to video of General Eisenhower, General Patton, and Field Marshal Montgomery]
Kate Ter Horst: Another problem facing Eisenhower was this. His two most famous generals - Patton, who was in the south, and Montgomery in the north - disliked each other intensely. Their long-standing rivalry had never been more fierce. There simply were not enough supplies for both armies. Each wanted to be the one to defeat the Germans. Each wanted to beat the other to Berlin.
[we now see footage of the planning stages of "Operation Market Garden" as well as hear background music as the woman continues with the introduction]
Kate Ter Horst: In September 1944, Montgomery devised a new and spectacular plan code named "Market Garden". Eisenhower, under great pressure from his superiors, finally sided with Montgomery, and "Operation Market Garden" became a reality. The plan, like so many plans in so many wars before it, was meant to end the fighting by Christmas, and bring the boys back home.
[we see the archive footage freeze, and watch it zoom in on General Eisenhower before fading to black]
[Before jumping out of a plane]
Maj. General Stanislaw Sosabowski: God bless Field Marshal Montgomery.
Major General Urquhart: I thought everyone knew that God was a Scotsman.
SSgt. Eddie Dohun: Where's the captain?
SSgt. Eddie Dohun: Didn't ask you how he was. I asked you where he was.
Lieutenant Colonel Giles Vandeleur: Joe? Joe, how the hell do they expect us to keep schedule on a road like this?
Lt. Colonel J.O.E. Vandeleur: You don't know the worst. This bit we're on now?
Lt. Colonel J.O.E. Vandeleur: It's the wide part.
Lt. General Horrocks: Do you think you'll be able to pull it off, Joe?
Lt. Colonel J.O.E. Vandeleur: I have nothing else planned for this afternoon.
Col. Robert Stout: Could you get a message down to XXXth Corps on that dingus?
Radio Operator: Yes, sir. Uh, we just got word from the 82nd up ahead. They captured the Graves bridge completely intact!
Col. Robert Stout: Aw, that's terrrific. Except XXXth Corps ain't about to reach the godam intact Graves bridge until the godam Son bridge gets fixed. Tell our British cousins to hustle up some Bailey stuff.
Radio Operator: Yes, sir.
Col. Robert Stout: I'll meet 'em in Eindoven when they get there. Tell those schmucks to do this right and have their Bailey stuff at the front of their column. Got that?
Radio Operator: Yes, sir.
Col. Robert Stout: And be sure to say please.
Radio Operator: Yes, sir.
U.S. medical colonel: You scared the shit out of me, you stupid bastard.
SSgt. Eddie Dohun: You did a fine job yourself, sir, if it makes you feel any better.
U.S. medical colonel: You're goddamn right it does.
General Ludwig: Forgive me, but there is a battle. And we are in the process of winning it.
Dr. Jan Spaander: Winning and losing is not our concern - living and dying... is.
Maj. Julian Cook: [reporting another delay to his officers] Ah, I suppose you're wondering why I called you here. I want to tell you that I've decided to cross the river like George Washington; standing in the prow of the boat.
Lt. General Bittrich: Yes, thousands of paratroopers have landed in Nijmegen... right on top of Field Marshal Model.
General Ludwig: I'll bet they landed in his soup!
Lt. General Bittrich: You'd like that, wouldn't you?
Maj. Julian Cook: Those are British troops at Arnhem. They're hurt bad. And you're just gonna sit here... and... drink tea?
[after the fighting is over, Bittrich rides in to meet the English captives. He sees Frost, who is sitting on the ground with a leg injury. He offers a bar of chocolate and says something in German]
Bittrich's Aide: My general says, please take it. It's very good chocolate. Your planes dropped it to us yesterday.
[Frost waits a few moments, then takes the chocolate]
Lt. Gen. Wilhelm Bittrich: English?
[Bittrich listens in amazement as Frost's troops relentlessly storm the Arnhem bridge]
Lt. Gen. Wilhelm Bittrich: [in German] Fool's courage...
Field Marshall Gerd von Runstedt: Let's get to the point. Air power?
Major General Gunther Blumentritt: Air power, Field Marshal...
Field Marshall Gerd von Runstedt: Briefly, please.
Major General Gunther Blumentritt: Air power is minimal.
Field Marshall Gerd von Runstedt: Ammunition?
Major General Gunther Blumentritt: Also minimal.
Field Marshall Gerd von Runstedt: Tanks, troops, replacements?
Major General Gunther Blumentritt: Minimal.
Field Marshall Gerd von Runstedt: Morale?
[Blumentritt hesitates, then says nothing]
Field Marshall Gerd von Runstedt: [sighs] Nonexistent.
Field Marshall Walther Model: Why do all my generals want to destroy my bridges?
John Frost: [to Home Owner] I'm terrible sorry about all this, you know.
Maj. Julian Cook: Hail Mary full of grace... Hail Mary full of grace...
Field Marshal Model: What can you see?
General Ludwig: Nothing. But they're going to try a river assault.
Field Marshal Model: It will fail.
General Ludwig: Of course. But what do we do if it doesn't?
Brigadier General Gavin: What's the best way to take a bridge?
Maj. Julian Cook: Both ends at once.
Brigadier General Gavin: I'm sending two companies across the river by boat. I need a man with very special qualities to lead.
Maj. Julian Cook: Go on, sir.
Brigadier General Gavin: He's got to be tough enough to do it and he's got to be experienced enough to do it. Plus one more thing. He's got to be dumb enough to do it... Start getting ready.
U.S. captain: What was all that about, Major?
Maj. Julian Cook: Well someone's come up with a real nightmare. Real nightmare.
Major General Gunther Blumentritt: Everyone knows you have never lost a battle.
Field Marshall Gerd von Runstedt: I'm still young, give me time.
Old Dutch lady's son: She says you are much too noisy.
John Frost: She does realize there's something of a war going on, doesn't she?
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.
[Stout and Vanderleur are discussing how to get the Bailey bridge through town]
Lt. Colonel J.O.E. Vandeleur: When you refer to Bailey crap I take it you mean that glorious, precision-made, British-built bridge which is the envy of the civilized world?
[looks at the crowd of Dutch civilians]
Lt. Colonel J.O.E. Vandeleur: I don't know how you're going to get it through this crowd.
Col. Robert Stout: No sweat. I got a back way staked out that will avoid all this. American ingenuity.
Col. Joe. Vanderleur: Really?
Col. Robert Stout: Actually, I was born in Yugoslavia, but what the hell.
[final plans are being discussed]
Lt. Gen. Frederick Browning: Only the weather can stop us now.
General Stanislaw Sosaboski: Weather. What of the Germans, General Browning. Don't you think that if we know Arnhem is so critical to their safety that they might know it too?
Lt. General Frederick Browning: See here, General Sosaboski, I should think you would have more faith in Field Marshal Montgomery's plan.
General Stanislaw Sosaboski: Faith? I will tell you how much faith I have. I am thinking of asking for a letter from you stating that I was ordered to go on this mission in case my men are massacred.
Lt. General Frederick Browning: I see... I do see. Do you wish such a letter?
General Stanislaw Sosaboski: No... In the case of massacre: what difference will it make?
[Gavin is discussing the glitches that have come up]
Captain Harry Bestebreurtje: I don't want to hear any more. Is there any more?
Brigadier General James Gavin: You're my Dutch advisor, Harry.
Captain Harry Bestebreurtje: What's that supposed to mean?
Brigadier General James Gavin: Just that the Germans first tried to take Nijmeagen Bridge in 1940; and got slaughtered.
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.
Capt. Glass: My problem is, I'm not totally crazy about the prospect of dying.
SSgt. Eddie Dohun: So don't die. Drinking that garbage isn't gonna keep you alive, is it?
Capt. Glass: What is?
SSgt. Eddie Dohun: What is? Well, not gettin' shot.
Capt. Glass: What can guarantee that?
SSgt. Eddie Dohun: Nothing, for sure.
Capt. Glass: You will.
SSgt. Eddie Dohun: I will what?
Capt. Glass: You tell me, Eddie. You tell me I won't die.
SSgt. Eddie Dohun: Alright, you won't die.
Capt. Glass: No, no. Guarantee me. I want you to guarantee me I won't die.
SSgt. Eddie Dohun: [seriously] I guarantee you.
SSgt. Eddie Dohun: Colonel, if you don't look at him right now, he's going to die.
U.S. medical colonel: He's dead now.
SSgt. Eddie Dohun: It would mean a lot to me, sir, if you'd check him out.
U.S. medical colonel: Come on, Sergeant! For Chrissakes get him out of here!
SSgt. Eddie Dohun: Would you look at him please, sir.
[draws his .45]
SSgt. Eddie Dohun: Right now. Or I'll blow your fuckin' head off.
[cocks the .45]
SSgt. Eddie Dohun: Right now.
U.S. medical colonel: I can give him a quick examination if you like.
SSgt. Eddie Dohun: Thank you very much, sir.