A Bridge Too Far


2h 56m 1977
A Bridge Too Far

Brief Synopsis

Epic re-staging of the Allies' heroic airdrop behind Nazi lines in Holland.

Film Details

Also Known As
Bridge Too Far, En bro för mycket, pont trop loin
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Action
War
Release Date
1977

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 56m
Sound
Stereo
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

The story of the Allied defeat at Arnhem in 1944.

Cast

Sean Connery

Robert Redford

Laurence Olivier

Mark Sheridan

Timothy Morand

Jack Galloway

Mary Smithuysen

Brian Haughton

John Stride

Ray Boyd

George Innes

Simon Chandler

Ben Howard

Jack Mckenzie

Richard Ommaney

Jonathon Hackett

Michael Wolf

David Auker

Tim Beekman

Ferd Wiliams

Ben Cross

Harry Ditson

Wolfgang Preiss

Jason White

Ray Jeers

David English

Michael Graves

Barry Mccarthy

Stephen Moore

Patrick Ryecart

Michael Stock

Edward Fox

James Caan

Frank Grimes

Peter Quince

Brian Hawksley

Shaun Curry

Hartmut Becker

Gerald Sim

Walter Kohut

John Peel

John Ratzenberger

Henny Alma

Hilary Minster

Stephen Churchett

Michael Bangerter

Nicholas Campbell

Milton Cadman

Robin Scobey

Paul Vaughan-teague

David Killick

Anthony Hopkins

Paul Maxwell

Don Douglas

Edward Seckerson

James Wardroper

Sebastian Abineri

Niall Padden

John Morton

Farrell Sheridan

Alun Armstrong

Dan Lon

Stuart Blake

Maximilian Schell

Patrick Dickson

Paul Rattee

Dirk Bogarde

Gene Hackman

Feliks Arons

Erik Van't Wout

Ian Liston

Tom Van Beek

Michael Byrne

Hans Croiset

Neil Kennedy

Edward Kalinski

Josephine Peeper

Andrew Branch

Paul Copley

Dick Rienstra

Christopher Good

Brian Gwaspari

Garrick Hagon

Adrian Gibbs

Mark York

Erik Chitty

Richard Kane

Stephen Rayment

John Judd

Pieter Groenier

Liv Ullmann

Lex Van Delden

Ryan O'neal

Hans Von Borsody

Jeremy Kemp

Jason Gregory

Peter Settelen

Toby Salaman

Tony Mchale

Philip Raymond

Bertus Botterman

Anthony Pullen

Hardy Kruger

Frank Jarvis

Peter Gordon

Norman Gregory

Jon Croft

Elliott Gould

Michael Graham Cox

Edward Mcdermott

James Snell

Adrienne Kleiweg

Michael Caine

Stanley Lebor

Georgette Reyevski

Johan Te Slaa

Geoffrey Hinsliff

Arthur Hill

Donald Pickering

Keith Drinkel

Myles Reithermann

Anthony Howden

Anthony Garner

Denholm Elliott

Anthony Milner

Francis Mughan

Colin Farrell

Sean Mathias

John Salthouse

Gerald Martin

David Stockton

Chris Williams

Patrick Hannaway

Peter Faber

Siem Vroom

Stewart Guidotti

Crew

John Addison

Music

Bill Aylmore

Other

Richard Bamber

Production Manager

Bert Batt

Assistant Director

Robin Browne

Photography

Roy Button

Assistant Director

Joe Caroff

Titles

Terence A Clegg

Production Manager

Sheila Colins

Production Assistant

Stuart Craig

Art Director

Peter Dukelow

Construction Manager

J D Frost

Consultant

James H Gavin

Consultant

Anthony Gibbs

Editor

William Goldman

Screenplay

Frank A Gregg

Technical Advisor

Peter Horrocks

Sound Editor

Peter Howitt

Set Decorator

Gerry Humphreys

Sound

Judy Humphreys

Production Assistant

Alf Joint

Stunts

Alf Joint

Stunt Coordinator

Gabriel Katzka

Production Consultant

Simon Kaye

Sound

Steve Lanning

Assistant Director

Joseph E. Levine

Producer

Richard P Levine

Producer

Peter Macdonald

Camera Operator

Charles Mann

Other

Terence Marsh

Production Designer

Anthony Mendelson

Costume Designer

Robin O'donoghue

Sound

Loretta Ordewer

Production Assistant

John Palmer

Associate Producer

John Partington-smith

Photography

Eric Rattray

Production Supervisor

John Richardson

Special Effects

Cornelius Ryan

Book As Source Material

Geoffrey Ryan

Assistant Director

Kathryn Morgan Ryan

Technical Advisor

Ronnie Sloan

Hair

Tom Smith

Makeup

Michael Stanley-evans

Producer

Roy Stannard

Art Director

David Tomblin

Assistant Director

Alan Tomkins

Art Director

Jack Towns

Property Master

Geoffrey Unsworth

Dp/Cinematographer

Geoffrey Unsworth

Director Of Photography

Cornelius Van Eijk

Liaison

J O E Vandeleur

Consultant

Wally Veevers

Photography

Dena Vincent

Production Assistant

J L Waddy

Technical Advisor

Peter Waller

Assistant Director

David Waterston

Photography

Harry Waxman

Camera Operator

Les Wiggins

Sound Editor

Connie Willis

Continuity

Film Details

Also Known As
Bridge Too Far, En bro för mycket, pont trop loin
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Action
War
Release Date
1977

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 56m
Sound
Stereo
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Articles

A Bridge Too Far


"Whenever anyone says, 'Let's play the war game today,' everybody dies." Gene Hackman, A Bridge Too Far (1977)

With only his third film as a director, Richard Attenborough undertook one of the most massive productions in film history, A Bridge Too Far (1977). For the then-astronomical cost of $26 million, he and producer Joseph E. Levine set out to re-create Operation Market-Garden, one of the biggest disasters in military history. In September 1944, the Allies tried to bring World War II to an early end by parachuting 35,000 troops into Holland to secure six bridges leading to Germany. Through a combination of bad weather, worse luck, and even worse planning, they lost almost half their troops and never made it over that last bridge. But the heroic efforts of the men and women on the ground, in stark contrast to the poor planning of their leaders, stand as a testament to the brotherhood of the battlefield.

Levine wasn't taking any chances with his investment. A Bridge Too Far was adapted from a book by historical writer Cornelius Ryan, whose work had earlier inspired 20th Century-Fox's mega-hit The Longest Day (1962). To bring to life this powerful true story, he cast "14 international superstars" in key roles - including Oscar-winners Gene Hackman, Laurence Olivier, and Maximilian Schell, and future Oscar-winners Michael Caine, Sean Connery, and Anthony Hopkins - then sent many of them to the actual locations in Holland where the events had taken place.

His choice of Attenborough as director may have seemed a little more chancy, but it wasn't totally out of the blue. After years of acclaim as a stage and screen actor, Attenborough had turned to film direction with another look at military madness, the 1969 World War I musical Oh! What a Lovely War. He'd continued his personal take on modern warfare with Young Winston (1972), a look at Winston Churchill's early military career. Then he set out to find backing for his dream project, a film biography of Mahatma Gandhi. Levine's interest in the subject brought them together. Though he ultimately passed on Gandhi (1982), Levine signed Attenborough to a two-picture deal that kept him busy while raising money for his own film about the Indian political and spiritual leader. A Bridge Too Far was their first picture together, followed by the 1978 thriller Magic. Four years later, Attenborough would produce his masterpiece, winning both Best Picture and Best Director Oscars for Gandhi.

Levine's all-star casting of A Bridge Too Far was praised by several critics for helping audiences keep track of the several plot strands unraveling through the course of the three-hour film. Among those earning strong reviews for their work were Anthony Hopkins, James Caan, and Edward Fox, who won the British Academy Award and the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor. For many critics, along with those working on the film, the highlight was Laurence Olivier. Olivier was in the middle of a career resurgence following a bout with ill health. He had recently won an Emmy for Love Among the Ruins (1975), with Katharine Hepburn, and an Oscar nomination for Marathon Man (1976). At the time he filmed his role in A Bridge Too Far, he was involved in a series of filmed plays for British television, many of which aired in the U.S. as well. In fact, between scenes on location, he flew to England to co-star with Natalie Wood, Robert Wagner, and Maureen Stapleton in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. In contrast to his position as Lord Olivier, he showed up on the set wearing an old suit and a pair of battered black shoes. He informed Attenborough that he had been gardening in the shoes for a month so that they would look just right for the character, a Dutch farmer and doctor who risks his life to tend the wounded.

Producer: Joseph E. Levine, Richard Levine, Michael Stanley-Evans
Director: Richard Attenborough
Screenplay: William Goldman
Based on the book by Cornelius Ryan
Cinematography: Geoffrey Unsworth, Harry Waxman
Art Direction: Terence Marsh, Roy Stannard, Stuart Craig, Alan Tompkins
Music: John Addison
Principal Cast: Dirk Bogarde (Lt. Gen. Frederick Browning), James Caan (Staff Sgt. Eddie Dohun), Michael Caine (Lt. Col. "Joe" Vandeleur), Sean Connery (Major Gen. Robert Urquhart), Edward Fox (Lt. Gen. Brian Horrocks), Elliott Gould (Col. Bobby Stout), Gene Hackman (Major Gen. Stanislaw Sosabowski), Anthony Hopkins (Lt. Col. John Frost), Laurence Olivier (Dr. Spaander), Ryan O'Neal (Brig. Gen. James M. Gavin), Robert Redford (Major Julian Cook), Maximilian Schell (Lt. Gen. Wilhelm Bittrich), Liv Ullmann (Kate Ter Horst).
C-177m. Letterboxed.

by Frank Miller
A Bridge Too Far

A Bridge Too Far

"Whenever anyone says, 'Let's play the war game today,' everybody dies." Gene Hackman, A Bridge Too Far (1977) With only his third film as a director, Richard Attenborough undertook one of the most massive productions in film history, A Bridge Too Far (1977). For the then-astronomical cost of $26 million, he and producer Joseph E. Levine set out to re-create Operation Market-Garden, one of the biggest disasters in military history. In September 1944, the Allies tried to bring World War II to an early end by parachuting 35,000 troops into Holland to secure six bridges leading to Germany. Through a combination of bad weather, worse luck, and even worse planning, they lost almost half their troops and never made it over that last bridge. But the heroic efforts of the men and women on the ground, in stark contrast to the poor planning of their leaders, stand as a testament to the brotherhood of the battlefield. Levine wasn't taking any chances with his investment. A Bridge Too Far was adapted from a book by historical writer Cornelius Ryan, whose work had earlier inspired 20th Century-Fox's mega-hit The Longest Day (1962). To bring to life this powerful true story, he cast "14 international superstars" in key roles - including Oscar-winners Gene Hackman, Laurence Olivier, and Maximilian Schell, and future Oscar-winners Michael Caine, Sean Connery, and Anthony Hopkins - then sent many of them to the actual locations in Holland where the events had taken place. His choice of Attenborough as director may have seemed a little more chancy, but it wasn't totally out of the blue. After years of acclaim as a stage and screen actor, Attenborough had turned to film direction with another look at military madness, the 1969 World War I musical Oh! What a Lovely War. He'd continued his personal take on modern warfare with Young Winston (1972), a look at Winston Churchill's early military career. Then he set out to find backing for his dream project, a film biography of Mahatma Gandhi. Levine's interest in the subject brought them together. Though he ultimately passed on Gandhi (1982), Levine signed Attenborough to a two-picture deal that kept him busy while raising money for his own film about the Indian political and spiritual leader. A Bridge Too Far was their first picture together, followed by the 1978 thriller Magic. Four years later, Attenborough would produce his masterpiece, winning both Best Picture and Best Director Oscars for Gandhi. Levine's all-star casting of A Bridge Too Far was praised by several critics for helping audiences keep track of the several plot strands unraveling through the course of the three-hour film. Among those earning strong reviews for their work were Anthony Hopkins, James Caan, and Edward Fox, who won the British Academy Award and the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor. For many critics, along with those working on the film, the highlight was Laurence Olivier. Olivier was in the middle of a career resurgence following a bout with ill health. He had recently won an Emmy for Love Among the Ruins (1975), with Katharine Hepburn, and an Oscar nomination for Marathon Man (1976). At the time he filmed his role in A Bridge Too Far, he was involved in a series of filmed plays for British television, many of which aired in the U.S. as well. In fact, between scenes on location, he flew to England to co-star with Natalie Wood, Robert Wagner, and Maureen Stapleton in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. In contrast to his position as Lord Olivier, he showed up on the set wearing an old suit and a pair of battered black shoes. He informed Attenborough that he had been gardening in the shoes for a month so that they would look just right for the character, a Dutch farmer and doctor who risks his life to tend the wounded. Producer: Joseph E. Levine, Richard Levine, Michael Stanley-Evans Director: Richard Attenborough Screenplay: William Goldman Based on the book by Cornelius Ryan Cinematography: Geoffrey Unsworth, Harry Waxman Art Direction: Terence Marsh, Roy Stannard, Stuart Craig, Alan Tompkins Music: John Addison Principal Cast: Dirk Bogarde (Lt. Gen. Frederick Browning), James Caan (Staff Sgt. Eddie Dohun), Michael Caine (Lt. Col. "Joe" Vandeleur), Sean Connery (Major Gen. Robert Urquhart), Edward Fox (Lt. Gen. Brian Horrocks), Elliott Gould (Col. Bobby Stout), Gene Hackman (Major Gen. Stanislaw Sosabowski), Anthony Hopkins (Lt. Col. John Frost), Laurence Olivier (Dr. Spaander), Ryan O'Neal (Brig. Gen. James M. Gavin), Robert Redford (Major Julian Cook), Maximilian Schell (Lt. Gen. Wilhelm Bittrich), Liv Ullmann (Kate Ter Horst). C-177m. Letterboxed. by Frank Miller

Quotes

What can you see?
- Field Marshal Model
Nothing. But they're going to try a river assault.
- General Ludwig
It will fail.
- Field Marshal Model
Of course. But what do we do if it doesn't?
- General Ludwig
Sir.
- Corporal Hancock
Hancock. I've got lunatics laughing at me from the woods. My original plan has been scuppered now that the jeeps haven't arrived. My communications are completely broken down. Do you really believe any of that can be helped by a cup of tea?
- Major General Urquhart
Couldn't hurt, sir.
- Corporal Hancock
What's the best way to take a bridge?
- Brigadier General Gavin
Both ends at once.
- Maj. Julian Cook
I'm sending two companies across the river by boat. I need a man with very special qualities to lead.
- Brigadier General Gavin
Go on, sir.
- Maj. Julian Cook
He's got to be tough enough to do it and he's got to be experienced enough to do it. Plus one more thing. He's got to be dumb enough to do it... Start getting ready.
- Brigadier General Gavin
I've just been on to Monty. He's very proud and pleased.
- Lt. General Frederick 'Boy' Browning
Pleased?
- Major General Urquhart
Of course. He thinks Market Garden was 90% successful.
- Lt. General Frederick 'Boy' Browning
But what do you think?
- Major General Urquhart
Well, as you know, I always felt we tried to go a bridge too far.
- Lt. General Frederick 'Boy' Browning
Everyone knows you have never lost a battle.
- Major General Gunther Blumentritt
I'm still young, give me time.
- Field Marshall Gerd von Runstedt

Trivia

The producers were only able to locate four of the many Sherman tanks seen on the screen. The rest were plastic molds set on top of VW Beetle chassis. The tank treads didn't reach the ground, but the film is edited so that this isn't noticeable.

Originally rated "R" by the MPAA for strong language, it was lowered to "PG" upon appeal.

There are 13 Oscar-winners associated with the movie, six of them actors (though none earned their Academy Awards for this picture).

Despite the film being made over thirty years after the actual battle, a number of its principle characters were able to be employed as military consultants during production. The list of people includes: Brian Horrocks (Fox), James Gavin (O'Neal), J.O.E. Vandeleur (Caine), John Frost (Hopkins), and R.E. Urquhart (Connery).

'Steve McQueen' and Audrey Hepburn were originally cast to play Major Julian Cook and Kate Ter Horst repectively. But they were dropped when Hepburn's asking salary price was too high, and McQueen only wanted to appear in starring roles, not all-star assembled projects.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1977

Released in United States 1977