Set during the Korean War, a Navy fighter pilot must come to terms with with his own ambivalence towards the war and the fear of having to bomb a set of highly defended bridges. The ending of this grim war drama is all tension.
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It is the Korean War and Lt. Harry Brubaker is a fighter-bomber pilot on the aircraft carrier USS Savo Island. A WW2 veteran and Naval Reserve pilot, he was drafted back into service from civilian life. This makes him quite resentful and cynical about the war. Now he has a dangerous mission to perform, and he is not sure he is up to the task.Written by
The U.S. Navy's cooperation in the movie's making included the use of 19 ships. See more »
Based on the 1953 novel by James Michener, the aircraft flown were actually F2H Banshees, not the more prevalent by 1955 F9F Panthers. See more »
Lt. Harry Brubaker:
Did you ever hear Admiral Tarrant go on about the war? About the chosen few who have to lay it on the line?
Naw, me and Nester don't do too much fraternizing with admirals.
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Opening credits prologue: With Task Force 77 U.S. Navy Off the coast of Korea November, 1952 See more »
The Korean War is the setting for `The Bridges At Toko-Ri,' a story of individual sacrifice and the high cost of freedom, from director Mark Robson. Navy fighter-pilot Harry Brubaker (William Holden), a veteran of World War II, is called to serve again when the conflict in Korea escalates, which takes him away from his wife, Nancy (Grace Kelly), two young children and a successful law practice. When his plane goes down after a mission, into the sea just short of the carrier, he survives; but he bitterly questions the fairness of what he has been asked to do, while everyone back home is able to go on with the routine of their lives, uninterrupted. Rear Admiral George Tarrant (Fredric March), a man who has had his own share of personal tragedy (he looks upon Brubaker as the son he has lost to the war, himself), tells Brubaker it's a matter of distance; we do this because we're here; back home they're only doing just as you would be doing if you were there. When Brubaker is granted shore leave, strings are pulled, and arrangements are made for Nancy and the children to join him; a brief respite, after which he must return to face his most formidable challenge yet, flying against the bridges that span the canyons at Toko-Ri. Very probably a suicide mission, it is nevertheless believed that knocking out these particular bridges could bring about a turning point in the war, and Lieutenant Brubaker is called upon once again to play a pivotal roll in deciding the outcome. An excellent supporting cast ably brings to life the characters that infuse this drama with humanity. Mickey Rooney is unforgettable as Mike Forney, the fighting, Irish helicopter pilot who fishes Brubaker out of the sea when his plane crashes. Memorable as well are Earl Holliman (Nestor Gamidge, Forney's partner), Robert Strauss (Beer Barrel), Charles McGraw (Commander Wayne Lee), Keiko Awaji (Kimiko) and Willis bouchey (Captain Evans). An excellent precursor to the more recent `Saving Private Ryan,' and `U-571,' `The Bridges At Toko-Ri' is an intimate study of individual courage and responsibility, and of the moral fortitude of which man is capable in times of crisis. There is a finality to the climax of this film that underscores the intense personal aspects of the larger conflict, and of the price demanded by certain individuals chosen to fulfill a seemingly random destiny. At the end of the movie, Admiral Tarrant sums it up succinctly when he ponders aloud: `Where do we get such men?' To which we can only answer: Where, indeed. I rate this one 9/10.
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