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A Bridge Too Far (1977)

PG | | Drama, History, War | 15 June 1977 (USA)
Operation Market Garden, September 1944: The Allies attempt to capture several strategically important bridges in the Netherlands in the hope of breaking the German lines. However, mismanagement and poor planning result in its failure.

Writers:

Cornelius Ryan (book), William Goldman (screenplay)
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Won 3 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 4 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Siem Vroom Siem Vroom ... Underground Leader
Marlies van Alcmaer Marlies van Alcmaer ... Underground Leader's Wife (as Marlies Van Alcmaer)
Erik van 't Wout Erik van 't Wout ... Underground Leader's Son (as Eric Van't Wout)
Wolfgang Preiss ... Field Marshal Gerd Von Rundstedt
Hans von Borsody ... Gen. Blumentritt (as Hans Von Borsody)
Josephine Peeper Josephine Peeper ... Cafe Waitress
Dirk Bogarde ... Lt .Gen. Browning
Paul Maxwell ... Maj. Gen. Maxwell Taylor
Sean Connery ... Maj. Gen. Urquhart
Ryan O'Neal ... Brig. Gen. Gavin
Gene Hackman ... Maj. Gen. Sosabowski
Walter Kohut Walter Kohut ... Field Marshal Model
Peter Faber Peter Faber ... Capt. 'Harry' Bestebreurtje
Hartmut Becker ... German Sentry
Frank Grimes ... Maj. Fuller
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Storyline

The true story of Operation Market Garden, the Allies attempt, in September 1944, to hasten the end of World War II by driving through Belgium and Holland into Germany. The idea was for U.S. airborne divisions to take the towns of Eindhoven and Nijmegen and a British airborne division, reinforced by a Polish airborne brigade, to take the town of Arnhem. They would be reinforced, in due course and in turn, by the British XXX Corps, land-based and driving up from the British lines in the south. The key to the operation was the bridges, as if the Germans held or blew them, the paratroopers could not be relieved. Faulty intelligence, Allied high command hubris, and stubborn German resistance would ensure that Arnhem was a bridge too far. Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Out of the sky comes the screen's most incredible spectacle of men and war! See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English | German | Dutch | Polish | Latin

Release Date:

15 June 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Brücke von Arnheim See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Stereo (35 mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Color (colour) (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the DVD, General R.E. Urquhart had no idea who Sir Sean Connery was, or why his daughters were so excited that he had been chosen to play their father in this movie. Sir Richard Attenborough picked Connery because of his strong resemblance to the younger Urquhart. See more »

Goofs

There is a German tank featured in several scenes. This tank is actually a German-made, post-war tank named "Leopard I" with a few modifications to look like a German Panzer V Panther tank of the World War II era. Given that the Leopard I is actually an offspring/based on the Panzer V this is a good choice. See more »

Quotes

[an SS officer is approaching under a white flag]
Major Harry Carlyle: Rather interesting development, sir.
[to the German]
Major Harry Carlyle: That's far enough! We can hear you from there!
SS Panzer Officer: My general says there is no point in continuing this fighting! He wishes to discuss terms of a surrender!
Major Harry Carlyle: Shall I answer him, sir?
Lt. Col. John Frost: Tell him to go to hell.
Major Harry Carlyle: We haven't the proper facilities to take you all prisoner! Sorry!
SS Panzer Officer: [confused] What?
Major Harry Carlyle: We'd like to, but we can't accept your surrender! Was there anything else?
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

The 1996 U.S video release confusingly removed all the titles in the film which described the location of certain scenes and replaced Elliott Gould's yell of "Roll the fuckers" with "Roll 'em fellas". The same print was used for the initial 1998 DVD release though later MGM 2-disc releases feature the original uncut version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Deadly Bees (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

3rd Movement
(from Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 in B-Flat Major, BWV. 1051) (uncredited)
Music by Johann Sebastian Bach
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

"It's All A Question Of Bridges"
14 February 1999 | by stryker-5See all my reviews

"Quite frankly," observes 'Boy' Browning, "this kind of thing's never been attempted before." But it has. In 1962, "The Longest Day" gave the epic star-studded treatment to the D-Day landings, and here we are, 15 years on, doing the same for the Arnhem debacle. It has to be said, the film looks great. From the gently-tinkling light fittings in the Dutch resistors' home to the beauty of the tank tracks in perspective, this is a gorgeously-photographed movie.

In 1944, the German armies were being pushed back across the Low Countries. The Allies' great strategic problem was the Rhine, the wide river which formed Germany's western border. A daring plan was conceived which would overcome the Rhine obstacle and open the road to Berlin. 'Market Garden', as the plan was codenamed, involved parachuting spearhead units onto the great bridges over the Rhine and securing them for the critical few hours it would take for an armoured column to drive up and relieve them.

It is easy now to point to the flaws in 'Market Garden', but at the time it looked like a daring and viable alternative to slogging it out against the Siegfried Line. No-one had anticipated that the Dutch people would pour out onto the streets in throngs, thinking that they had been liberated, and thus bog down the armour. The intelligence indications of heavily-equipped German units in the zone were ignored because they were inconvenient. Critically, the plan allowed for only one solitary road to be available to the Irish Guards for the all-important northward thrust. The film illustrates very effectively the way in which a plan can develop its own momentum, regardless of the shortcomings which riddle it.

The sequence of the boarding and dropping of the paratroops is a thrilling spectacle, shot on a colossal scale. The German ambush which delays the rolling of the armoured column is another terrific action sequence. Attenborough keeps tight control of a big, complex story, and interlards the large-scale stuff with 'human scale' passages, like James Caan's rescue of his buddy (incidentally, the tracking shot which follows his jeep through the forest is quite remarkable).

The fighting at Nijmegen is brilliantly-filmed. Note how the street on the British side grows increasingly littered with war debris as the battle rages. Robert Redford's assault across the river is a symphony in olive drab, leading to a wonderful moment of exhilaration.

Whether the viewer finds the singing of "Abide With Me" moving or grossly sentimental will depend on personal taste, but the subdued ending is very satisfying. 'Market Garden' may have helped shorten the war and may have achieved most of its immediate objectives, but it has to be seen as a tragic mistake.

The film is slick, professional and very pleasing on the eye. One can't help wondering, however, if this kind of 'tank opera' was worth the effort, given that "The Longest Day" had done it all so splendidly a generation earlier.


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