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
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 »
The film includes an event in which a British staff officer brought a complete Corps-level operations order with maps and graphics, which was never supposed to leave Britain, with him on a transport glider and then inadvertently left it on the glider when it landed in Holland. The Germans eventually overran the glider landing zone and found the operations order. But the Germans were convinced that this was a set of fake documents planted for deception by the British, and actually maneuvered contrary to what the documents indicated for the first few days of the battle. This was a result of Operation Mincemeat, prior to the Allied invasion of Sicily 14 months earlier, in which British Military Intelligence prepared a corpse wearing a Royal Marine staff officer's uniform and lifejacket, and with a courier briefcase handcuffed to its wrist which contained documents indicating that the target of the impending Allied invasion was Sardinia and not Sicily. The corpse was dropped by submarine off a beach in Spain where the British knew that the pro-German Franco regime would likely find the corpse and documents and pass the information in the documents to the Germans. The plan succeeded in diverting several German divisions from Sicily to Sardinia, and was the subject of the film The Man Who Never Was (1956). See more »
Operation Market Garden began on Sunday, 17 Sept. 1944; in the movie, Gen. Browning correctly refers to a Sunday departure in the initial briefing, and later we see a church service disrupted by the aircraft passing overhead. But on the morning of the departure, we see on Col. Frost's bedside table a calendar with all the days crossed off until the 17th... which is a Tuesday on that calendar. Furthermore, the calendar clearly shows a 31-day month, matching October 1944 and not September. See more »
[Stout and Vanderleur are discussing how to get the Bailey bridge through town]
Lt. Colonel J.O.E. Vandeleur:
When you refer to Bailey crap I take it you mean that glorious, precision-made, British-built bridge which is the envy of the civilized world?
[looks at the crowd of Dutch civilians]
Lt. Colonel J.O.E. Vandeleur:
I don't know how you're going to get it through this crowd.
Col. Robert Stout:
No sweat. I got a back way staked out that will avoid all this. American ingenuity.
Col. Joe. Vanderleur:
Col. Robert Stout:
Actually, I was born in Yugoslavia, but what the hell.
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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 »
The movie is a cut above most cinematic portrayals of historical events, likely due to it's being based on historian Cornelius Ryan's excellent book, and it's not as overproduced or staged as the film version of another of his books, The Longest Day. The producer admits to crediting one assault to the Americans, when in the event the British were first to attack, but overall the movie relates a good sense of history and geography, and respects the timeline of the actual events. It shows the national and class tensions affecting the Allied leadership, and gives a sense of the character of the participants. The writing gives the plethora of good actors something to work with despite no single leading role (and it's fun to watch so many actors in a single film.) Relevant information is included in the character's dialogue rather than through narration. The editing adds to the flow of events, balancing the suspense borne by the individuals involved with interest and action for the viewer. Add in the Intelligent direction by Richard Attenborough, and it makes this one of my favorite World War Two films.
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