IMDb > Brooklyn Bridge (1981)

Brooklyn Bridge (1981) More at IMDbPro »

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Down 6% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Amy Stechler (written by)
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Release Date:
November 1981 (USA) See more »
This documentary chronicles the world-famous Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. The difficult construction... See more » | Add synopsis »
Nominated for Oscar. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Movieman-187 was right about this one.... See more (4 total) »


  (in credits order)
Paul Roebling ... Washington Roebling (voice)

Julie Harris ... Emily Roebling (voice)

Arthur Miller ... Himself

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. ... (voice)
Richard Pini ... (voice)
Fred Sherry ... (voice)
Austin Stevens ... (voice)
Richard Rescia ... (voice)
David McCullough ... Narrator (voice)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Mel Blanc ... Bugs Bunny (clip from 'Bowery Bunny') (voice) (archive sound) (uncredited)
Sheelah Feinberg ... Herself (uncredited)
Paul Goldberger ... Himself (uncredited)

Oliver Hardy ... Himself (clip from "Way Out West") (archive footage) (uncredited)
Anna Hostvedt ... Herself (uncredited)

Stan Laurel ... Himself (clip from "Way Out West") (archive footage) (uncredited)
Lewis Mumford ... Himself (uncredited)

George Raft ... Himself (clip from "The Bowery") (archive footage) (uncredited)
Adam Schefflan ... Himself (uncredited)

Frank Sinatra ... Danny Webson Miller (archive footage) (uncredited)
Xanthus Valan ... Himself (uncredited)

Johnny Weissmuller ... Himself (clip from "Tarzan's New York Adventure") (archive footage) (uncredited)

Directed by
Ken Burns 
Writing credits
Amy Stechler (written by)

Produced by
Ken Burns .... producer
Roger Sherman .... producer
Buddy Squires .... producer
Amy Stechler .... producer
Original Music by
Jesse Carr 
Cinematography by
Ken Burns 
Film Editing by
Amy Stechler 
Production Management
Roger Sherman .... production manager
Sound Department
Lee Dichter .... sound mixer
Camera and Electrical Department
Terry Hopkins .... additional photography
Buddy Squires .... additional cinematography
Editorial Department
John Dowdell .... colorist (uncredited)
Music Department
John Colby .... musical director
Other crew
Thomas Lewis .... researcher

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

58 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

The film made its national premiere on PBS on 24 May 1982 - the 99th anniversary of the bridge's opening.See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Ken Burns: America's Storyteller (2017) (TV)See more »


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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful.
Movieman-187 was right about this one...., 2 October 2011
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida

It seems quite fitting that this Ken Burns documentary was narrated by the historian, David McCullough. That's because McCullough has written a book detailing exactly what you'll see in this PBS film--the building of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Speaking of Ken Burns, this film marks his first production. He directed and produced this film--a film that would lead to many amazing PBS documentaries, such as "The Civil War" and "Lewis & Clark".

And, in an interesting twist, the voice for Washington Roebling (the son of the man who designed the bridge and who actually built the bridge) is provided by Paul Roebling--who I assume is a descendant of Washington Roebling, though IMDb gives no information about Paul other than a few film credits.

The film is broken into two major parts. The first portion consists of the events leading up to construction of the bridge and work on the bridge itself. I agree with another poster who felt that the best part of the film was this portion. Then, once the bridge was completed, comes the final part where people wax poetical talking about the bridge and it's about the impact of the bridge on our culture. Much of this sounds like a lot of blather, actually--like heavy padding. I really wish that more time had been spent on the building of the bridge and the final portion eliminated or severely truncated. Sure, it's an impressive engineering feat for its day, but talking about it at such length just seemed unnecessary. I'd give the first portion a 9 and the final portion a 3. But, since the first portion is much longer, I think an overall score of 7 is merited.

By the way, late in the film it shows the New York City skyline and the narration talks about Roebling's death in 1926. Oddly, the clip was of the city over a decade later, as you can see the swastika-bedecked dirigible flying over the city--a rather sloppy mistake. I assumed it was the Hindenburg but it could have been the Graf Zeppelin after its Nazi insignia was added.

Also by the way, I watched this streaming from Netflix and the sound and action were out of sync--and watching people talking in the later portions of the film was kind of freaky! You may want to look for the DVD instead.

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