258 user 57 critic

A Bridge Too Far (1977)

PG | | Drama, History, War | 15 June 1977 (USA)
3:16 | Trailer
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.


Cornelius Ryan (based on the book by), William Goldman (screenplay by)
2,461 ( 19)
Won 3 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 4 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »





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


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


Mothers would lose their sons, wives, their husbands, girls their lovers, children their fathers and thousands of gallant young men would perish fighting against impossible odds, for a mission that would change the meaning of the word courage for all time...and for a bridge. A lousy bridge. See more »


Drama | History | War


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Sir Sean Connery played one of the largest roles in this movie, as General Urquhart, but was angered to discover that Robert Redford, in a much smaller role, was getting considerably more money. He went on strike for a short time until his fee was adjusted to his satisfaction. See more »


As the first British paratroopers are assembling, there are wide angle shots of activity. Most of the paratroopers are carrying the correct rifles, machine pistols or other weapons, but a few can be spotted carrying American M1 Garand rifles that were rarely used by British or Commonwealth forces. Later in the movie, as the tide turns and the British paratroopers have surrendered, German soldiers crossing a small foot bridge to the British command post can be briefly seen carrying M1s as well. M1s were issued to a small percentage of Commonwealth airborne troopers to increase the rifle fire-power of squads. Photos of Canadian airborne troops verify this. See more »


[Bittrich listens in amazement as Frost's troops relentlessly storm the Arnhem bridge]
Lt. Gen. Wilhelm Bittrich: [in German] Fool's courage...
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Alternate Versions

An older video release of the film (early 1980s) from The Magnetic Video Corporation differs vastly from the 1996 VHS and 1998 DVD releases. Most notable are the differences in translations shown in the German-to-English subtitles. See more »


Referenced in Band of Brothers (2001) See more »


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

Re-enactment of the attempt to end WWII by Christmas 1944
18 January 2004 | by BDrifterSee all my reviews

In the autumn of 1944 Field Marshall Montgomery conceived a plan called Operation Market Garden that would open a corridor across the Rhine river and allow Allied troops to attack the heartland of Germany. When he and his staff devised the plan the Allied forces were being held in their positions by both German resistance and lack of supplies. At the time it appeared the war would evolve into the same static-front contest of attrition which occured in the first world war and led to horrible loss of life on all sides.

A Bridge Too Far is such an accurate portrayal of the events which occurred during Operation Market Garden that much of the criticism for the film is veiled criticism of the plan itself and of the actions of the participants. The criticism of Montgomery is undeserved, as he was a capable, if seemingly over cautious general. The plan was the boldest of any that were made during the war and the reasons Eisenhower approved it instead of one by Montgomery's rival Patton are valid. The results of the operation have been incorrectly regarded by some as a failure, but in fact it made the defense of Germany untenable and facilitated the final push into Germany during the spring of 1945.

The film itself is well written and contains imagery of battles and troop movements of a scale that has not been equaled, at least in any realistic manner. Earlier comments have been made that Attenborough's attention to detail has resulted in an overly lengthy film but I disagree with that assessment. Any film which depicts a part of the war which directly effected the second half of the 20th century should be given as much time as necessary to tell it's story. There is only one part of the film that has no direct bearing on the narrative of events and that is the sub plot involving James Caan's character, which does add 20 minutes to the running time of 3 hours.

The scenes showing the drop of the British and American airborne forces are visually stunning and worth the price of a DVD for their own sake. Anthony Hopkins is at his best as the unenviable forward commander at the final bridge at Arnhem. My only regret is that the actual glider landings were not depicted, presumably because of the risk involved.

The film should be considered required viewing by anyone who claims to be a war film fan, or anyone interested in the events which occurred during the second world war.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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English | German | Dutch | Polish | Latin

Release Date:

15 June 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Bridge Too Far See more »


Box Office


$27,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

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


Black and White (archive footage)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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