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.
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
According to the DVD production notes, James Caan agreed to do this movie, because of the scene in which he forces a reluctant Army surgeon to operate on one of his buddies at gunpoint. He said, "When Richard Attenborough came to see me in Los Angeles, he offered me the choice of several roles. I chose the Sergeant, chiefly for that one scene." See more »
When COL Robert Stout is talking to LT COL J.O.E. Vandeleur about bringing up the Bailey Bridges, he talks about using American ingenuity and then adds that he "was born in Yugoslavia". COL Stout is based on real-life COL Robert Sink. However, COL Sink was born in Lexington NC, not Yugoslavia. It is possible that COL Sink simply intended this line as a joke. See more »
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 »
"Private Ryan" may have served up more blood and guts, but it had a fanciful plot and it didn't really tell audiences anything about D-Day. By contrast, "A Bridge Too Far" is like something the History Channel would produce; it's full of maps and narration and endless tactical discussions that, amazingly enough, really held my attention - and really enlightened me about the battle of Market Garden.
It helps that the ensemble cast is great - perhaps the best ever assembled - and the characterization, though a bit thin (as in most war movies), is certainly good enough considering how heavily the plot dominates. The film's one major weakness is that it telegraphs the battle's result from too early on; all the smart characters think that the operation will be a disaster, and lo and behold, it's a disaster.
I love this movie anyway, maybe because of the production style, which is more realistic than the cornball war films of previous decades but not quite so over-the-top as "Private Ryan." The battles are both thrilling and terrifying, a nicely struck balance. When the end credits roll, I always feel tired - like the characters - which is a testament to how involving (and effective) the movie is.
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