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The Bridges of Madison County (1995)

PG-13 | | Drama, Romance | 2 June 1995 (USA)
1:15 | Trailer

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Photographer Robert Kincaid wanders into the life of housewife Francesca Johnson, for four days in the 1960s.



(screenplay), (novel)
2,991 ( 180)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Johnson
Richard Johnson
Young Carolyn (as Sarah Kathryn Schmitt)
Young Michael
Phyllis Lyons ...
Richard Lage ...
Lawyer Peterson
Lucy Redfield
Alison Wiegert ...
Child #1
Brandon Bobst ...
Child #2
Pearl Faessler ...
R.E. 'Stick' Faessler ...


The path of Francesca Johnson's future seems destined when an unexpected fork in the road causes her to question everything she had come to expect from life. While her husband and children are away at the Illinois state fair in the summer of 1965, Robert Kincaid happens turn into the Johnson farm and asks Francesca for directions to Roseman Bridge. Francesca later learns that he was in Iowa on assignment from National Geographic magazine. She is reluctant seeing that he's a complete stranger and then she agrees to show him to the bridges and gradually she talks about her life from being a war-bride from Italy which sets the pace for this bittersweet and all-too-brief romance of her life. Through the pain of separation from her secret love and the stark isolation she feels as the details of her life consume her, she writes her thoughts of the four-day love affair which took up three journals. The journals are found by her children after the lawyer was going over Francesca's will and ... Written by Mark Fleetwood <mfleetwo@mail.coin.missouri.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 on appeal for some sexuality and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

2 June 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los puentes de Madison  »


Box Office


$24,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Filmed in sequence. See more »


When Francesca is listening to the radio, the aria "Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix" from the opera "Samson et Dalila", can be heard. The aria is sung by Maria Callas. This recording however was never approved for release during Callas's lifetime. In the summer of 1965 Maria Callas was still alive. See more »


Robert: If you want me to stop, tell me now.
Francesca: No one's asking you to.
See more »


Featured in Eastwood Directs: The Untold Story (2013) See more »


Soft Winds
Written by Fletcher Henderson and Fred Royal
Performed by Dinah Washington with Hal Mooney and His Orchestra
Courtesy of Mercury Records
By Arrangement with PolyGram Special Markets
See more »

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User Reviews

A mature, believable, and truly moving love story

I admire the likes of Woody Allen, Chaplin and Clint Eastwood (just to name a few), who possess(ed) the chops to write, direct AND act. They're complete artists, and I wish I could be like that (I'll be already too happy if I can ever achieve my life passion of writing and directing, though, since my acting would be less convincing than Owen Wilson playing Hamlet).

Even though Eastwood didn't write this (Richard LaGravenese did it beautifully, based on a novel by Robert James Waller), he does a good job in front of the camera while also directing this human encounter between a photographer (played by himself) and an Italian housewife (Meryl Streep, magnificent) in 1960s Iowa. Their four days together would change their lives forever.

The premise doesn't sound too original, but Eastwood wonderfully captures all the raw emotions between these people, who seem throughly genuine, alive, and passionate. Lennie Niehaus' beautiful music score helps enhance the romantic atmosphere, and the slow pace is never a bore since it's necessary to make you live those brief but special moments with them. From westerns to female boxers to jazz musicians to war dramas, Clint Eastwood knows how to tell a good story, and "The Bridges of Madison County" ranks among his best. 10/10.

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