7.7/10
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4 user 3 critic

Brooklyn Bridge (1981)

This documentary chronicles the world-famous Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. The difficult construction process is described in interesting detail; later parts of the film interview ... See full summary »

Director:

Ken Burns

Writer:

Amy Stechler
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Paul Roebling Paul Roebling ... Washington Roebling (voice)
Julie Harris ... Emily Roebling (voice)
Arthur Miller ... Himself
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. ... (voice)
Richard Pini Richard Pini ... (voice)
Fred Sherry Fred Sherry ... (voice)
Austin Stevens Austin Stevens ... (voice)
Richard Rescia Richard Rescia ... (voice)
David McCullough ... Narrator (voice)
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Storyline

This documentary chronicles the world-famous Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. The difficult construction process is described in interesting detail; later parts of the film interview current notables who describe the effects that the Brooklyn Bridge has had upon New York society and beyond. Written by Rush Wickes <rushwickes@usa.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

TV-G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

November 1981 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film made its national premiere on PBS on 24 May 1982 - the 99th anniversary of the bridge's opening. See more »

Connections

Edited from The Bowery (1933) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Movieman-187 was right about this one....
2 October 2011 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

It seems quite fitting that this Ken Burns documentary was narrated by the historian, David McCullough. That's because McCullough has written a book detailing exactly what you'll see in this PBS film--the building of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Speaking of Ken Burns, this film marks his first production. He directed and produced this film--a film that would lead to many amazing PBS documentaries, such as "The Civil War" and "Lewis & Clark".

And, in an interesting twist, the voice for Washington Roebling (the son of the man who designed the bridge and who actually built the bridge) is provided by Paul Roebling--who I assume is a descendant of Washington Roebling, though IMDb gives no information about Paul other than a few film credits.

The film is broken into two major parts. The first portion consists of the events leading up to construction of the bridge and work on the bridge itself. I agree with another poster who felt that the best part of the film was this portion. Then, once the bridge was completed, comes the final part where people wax poetical talking about the bridge and it's about the impact of the bridge on our culture. Much of this sounds like a lot of blather, actually--like heavy padding. I really wish that more time had been spent on the building of the bridge and the final portion eliminated or severely truncated. Sure, it's an impressive engineering feat for its day, but talking about it at such length just seemed unnecessary. I'd give the first portion a 9 and the final portion a 3. But, since the first portion is much longer, I think an overall score of 7 is merited.

By the way, late in the film it shows the New York City skyline and the narration talks about Roebling's death in 1926. Oddly, the clip was of the city over a decade later, as you can see the swastika-bedecked dirigible flying over the city--a rather sloppy mistake. I assumed it was the Hindenburg but it could have been the Graf Zeppelin after its Nazi insignia was added.

Also by the way, I watched this streaming from Netflix and the sound and action were out of sync--and watching people talking in the later portions of the film was kind of freaky! You may want to look for the DVD instead.


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