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The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954)

Approved | | Drama, Romance, War | December 1954 (USA)
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.

Director:

Mark Robson

Writers:

Valentine Davies (screenplay), James A. Michener (novel)
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
William Holden ... Lt. Harry Brubaker
Grace Kelly ... Nancy Brubaker
Fredric March ... Rear Adm. George Tarrant
Mickey Rooney ... Mike Forney
Robert Strauss ... Beer Barrel
Charles McGraw ... Cmdr. Wayne Lee
Keiko Awaji ... Kimiko
Earl Holliman ... Nestor Gamidge
Richard Shannon ... Lt. (j.g.) Olds
Willis Bouchey ... Capt. Evans (as Willis B. Bouchey)
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Storyline

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 grantss

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Taglines:

The screen's explosively real drama of love and war! (US 1959 reissue) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

1. The book uses the name of the decommissioned/mothballed escort carrier Savo Island instead of the name of an Essex-class carrier on which author James A. Michener was a journalist (an escort carrier is incapable of launching or landing jet aircraft and only had propeller driven aircraft in its air group). The U.S. Navy aided in the production of this film by allowing the use of its fleet carriers (it did not use escort carriers, as they were incapable of performing the jet aircraft attack missions that were required of the film). This did not mean that the CVEs were not used during the Korean War; in fact, the following escort carriers did serve: USS Rendova (CVE-114); USS Bairoko (CVE-115); USS Badoeng Strait (CVE-116); USS Sicily (CVE-118) flagship of Carrier Division (CarDiv) 15; USS Point Cruz (CVE-119). The CVEs carried piston-engined aircraft such as the F4U Corsair and A-1 Skyraiders. See more »

Goofs

When Brubaker is waiting to land with little fuel left in his tanks he radios "What about the Hornet?" The USS Hornet was never even close to Korea during the entire war. She was in a New York shipyard getting a significant update and reconfiguration. See more »

Quotes

Mike Forney: [to Lt.Brubaker as he's about to be assigned to another ship] What's the matter, sir? You look a little edgy. You know what I used to do? Go up to the forward edge of the flight deck and let the spray hit me right in the kisser. Works every time.
[shouting as he is hoisted away]
Mike Forney: You should try it, Lieutenant!
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Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: With Task Force 77 U.S. Navy Off the coast of Korea November, 1952 See more »

Connections

Referenced in Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Godfather of Gore (2010) See more »

User Reviews

 
Ted Williams must have appreciated this film
27 April 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

The famous Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer, Ted Williams, must have had a grimly ironic appreciation of The Bridges at Toko-Ri when this film came out. After serving in the Marines in World War II, Williams was called back to the Marines for the Korean War and for the better part of two years flew the jets that you see Bill Holden flying here in the Navy.

Just as the Korean War interrupted one of the best baseball careers of the last century in real life, in this film William Holden is recalled from a thriving law practice in Denver, Colorado, not to mention from his lovely wife Grace Kelly and their two children. He flies carrier based jets bombing targets in the Korean War wondering like Ted Williams what he did in life to get called for two wars.

A few years earlier Warner Brothers did a fine film called Task Force which depicted the history of naval aviation through the eyes of its protagonist, Gary Cooper. The history went as far as the end of World War II and we were still flying propeller planes.

Maybe today's viewer can identify with a film like Top Gun where the skills are now a learned routine. But the Korean War was the first fought with jet aircraft and pilots had to really learn and develop new skills to take off and land on an aircraft at supersonic speed. Everyone, even the Russians, were all new at this in 1950 when the Korean War started.

Some critics have said Grace Kelly was wasted in this part, basically doing a role June Allyson perfected. Actually if you pay close attention, she's not terribly different from her role as housewife and mother in The Country Girl where she got her Oscar. She's just married to someone different is all. She has a very effective scene with her husband's commander Admiral Fredric March when she flies to Japan to be with Holden, taking along their two children.

My favorite in this film however is Mickey Rooney. He plays a helicopter rescue pilot and we first meet him and his co-pilot Earl Holliman rescuing Holden from the deep blue sea. Rooney is an irreverent sort, on duty with a green scarf and green top hat, looking like one of the little craitures from Ireland. Quick to brawl, but a real friend when you need one, I love his philosophy that you can say anything to officers as long as you put a sir on the end of it. There weren't going to be too many promotions in his future.

The Bridges at Toko-Ri is filled with a lot of Cold War nostrums and dated in that respect for today's audience. But it is a great tribute to those jet pilots, the crews that supported them, and the families that loved them, trying out those new skills in a brand new kind of war.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

December 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Bridges at Toko-Ri See more »

Filming Locations:

USS Kearsarge, Pacific Ocean See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$4,700,000
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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