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Un ponte per l'inferno (1986)

| War | 1986 (Italy)
Three prisoners from a Nazi prison camp (an American, an Italian and a German deserter), are trying to make their way through Nazi occupied territory and over to freedom. Along the way, ... See full summary »




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Cast overview:
Andy J. Forest ...
Lt. Bill Rogers
Carlo Mucari ...
Sgt. Mario 'Pazilbo' Espozi
Paki Valente ...
Blinz (as Paky Valente)
Francesca Ferre ...
Vanya (as Francesca Ferrè)
Zdenko Jelcic ...
(as Sdenko Jelèiè)
Vuk Mannic ...
SS Captain (as Vuk Mannic')
Zlatko Martincevic ...
SS Lieutenant
Drago Pavlic ...
Herzog (as Dragan Pavlic')
Jeff Connors


Three prisoners from a Nazi prison camp (an American, an Italian and a German deserter), are trying to make their way through Nazi occupied territory and over to freedom. Along the way, they encounter a group of resistance fighters trying to disrupt the German supply lines. In addition, they also hear about a priceless treasure hidden somewhere that the Nazis are searching for. What will win out, the desire for freedom, the desire for revenge or the desire for money? Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Their mission was to blow up the bridge... At all costs!




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Release Date:

1986 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

A Bridge to Hell  »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Edited from The Battle of Sutjeska (1973) See more »

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User Reviews

'Bombs are all the same if they fall on our heads.'
29 August 2006 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

In the late 1980s, exploitation giant Cannon Films released a series of direct-to-video action flicks called 'Action-Adventure Theater,' which sported the endorsement of 'B' movie icon Michael Dudikoff. These four movies were cheap, zero-budget knockoffs from smaller European producers that had no chance of being widely marketed in the United States.

'Un Ponte per l'inferno' AKA 'Bridge to Hell' is the lone title in this series with an historical context, set in Yugoslavia during World War II. The film was written and directed by Umberto Lenzi, whose career was in freefall at this point and would soon include more low-budget stinkers and hack television credits. Italian cult cinema fans are usually aware of Lenzi, who became a master of the giallo through such charmers as 'Orgasmo' and 'Seven Blood-Stained Orchids' while milking the war genre in 'Battle of the Commandos' and 'The Greatest Battle.' After becoming a recognized talent during the 1960s and 70s, however, Lenzi seemed to lose his mind, taking part in the deplorable 'Eaten Alive' and 'Cannibal Ferox' besides other trashy horror films.

Lenzi was clearly out of options in his directorial career by the time of this film, as its cheapness is apparent from the beginning. The action takes place in Yugoslavia during the time of German occupation and focuses on three escaped POWs who are trying to reach the allied forces in Italy: Lieutenant Bill Rogers (Andy J. Forest), a U.S. air force pilot; Sergeant Mario Espozi (Carlo Mucari), an Italian soldier; and Blinz (Paki Valente), an Austrian who has deserted the Wehrmacht. With help from an Orthodox priest, the trio is led to a band of partisans who need pilots to fly their two remaining airplanes and bombard German armaments in the hillsides. The POWs meanwhile learn from nun-turned-partisan Vanya (Francesca Ferre) of priceless gold chalices that are enshrined in her order's St. Basil convent. After running two aerial missions successfully, the POWs decide amongst themselves to steal the treasure. They exchange their flying services for weapons and get help from Vanya to find the chapel, unaware of their plan.

The premise of 'Bridge to Hell' is terribly weak and there is nothing in the script or production values to keep things afloat. It is all just a pretext for several lame action sequences in which a tiny partisan group fights hundreds of Germans and mows them down without breaking a sweat. Most of these sequences are badly acted and interspersed with stock footage from better-financed productions. This is obvious from how the film's characters are shown in tight locations and never integral to what is 'happening' nearby. There are times aplenty when continuity and editing skills are forgotten, leading to hilariously bad moments. The photography by adult film cinematographer Luigi Ciccarese is also overexposed and has washed-out color; it seems to have been downgraded in order for the aging stock footage to look more cohesive with Lenzi's own work.

There is nothing in the plot to generate dramatic tension and the film quickly becomes a ridiculous, poorly thought-out cycle of gunfights, aerial maneuvers, and running through forests (as in trees, not Andy J.). The aerial bombardments by these POWs involve two shod biplanes that seem like relics from World War I and bombs that are thrown from the planes by hand(!). No matter how old or new the planes are, the idea of two such aircraft taking on a swarm of advanced German fighters (which the stock footage clearly shows) is ridiculous. Partisans on the ground stave off dozens of Germans with a few machine guns when in real life they wouldn't have lasted for more than two seconds. There are also crazy plot gaps such as when German attack dogs emerge from thin air and are gone as quickly as they came. Additional treats are the horrible audio quality and synthesized music by Fabio Frizzi that is pretty much a single theme repeated over and over again (like the plot). The very small pluses in this film are occasional touches of humor (Forest and Mucari bet a Rita Hayworth photo and a broken pocket watch during bombardment) and the presence of Francesca Ferre, who draws attention rather easily.

One can never expect much from direct-to-video films, but it's clear that Umberto Lenzi hardly tried to make this film entertaining. Assuming he knew how cheap this movie would be, the director could have written a script that focused on character and did away with grandiose visions like 'The Greatest Battle.' But for one reason or another, Lenzi fooled himself into thinking that 'Bridge to Hell' could achieve those heights with the right amount of cleverness. This is largely why 'Bride to Hell' will stay buried in a tall mountain of 80s shlock, with little to no artistic merit.

-Turkey- (0 stars out of 4)

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