A Bridge Too Far (1977) - Drama, History, War

Hohum Score



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.

IMDB: 7.4
Director: Richard Attenborough
Stars: Sean Connery, Ryan O'Neal
Length: 175 Minutes
PG Rating: PG
Reviews: 31 out of 228 found boring (13.59%)

One-line Reviews (134)

It successfully portrays the vast waste of human life invvoled and offers no happy ending to justify the suffering.

It also shows the power of film to bring history to life without being patronizing, overly dramatic or dull.

The film is extremely well detailed, using authentic vehicles, superb destruction sequences and stunning locations.

" and "Catch-22" all from 1970 and then just after this one in 1978 and 1979, "The Deer Hunter" and "Apocalypse Now," all offer something more contemporary and compelling in terms of style and movie-making.

Painfully, agonizingly slow.

The action is raw, in-your-face and intense, and quite graphic at times.

Mostly downbeat film is well acted of course, but goes on far too long telling its ultimately doomed account of this failed mission.

What A Waste of Life .

Overall, A Bridge Too Far is worth watching, only if to see the ambition and creativity that was put forth into this film.

But most of the time, it's a bore.

Christened 'an hour too long' on its original release, this is 3 hours of strategic conversations and battle scenes interspersed with one or two stand alone scenes of some quality - Caan trying to save his buddy, Fox driving past his troops.

A Bridge Too Far is an entertaining and ambitious re-telling of Operation Market Garden, an unsuccessful attempt by Allied forces to capture key areas and bring about a quick end to WWII.

The final damning indictment on the film was completed by the Pathe newsreel type music and the nauseatingly predictable and stereotypical background speech and shouted comments of the soldiers 'all doing their bit'.

Too many long, dull pauses, aimless dialogue over story points that carry little if any impact to the major story lines.

It may look and sound like a history lesson, but it's an interesting and exciting lesson to learn.

Because that's the real problem of the movie; It is big, ambitious and ponderous, the beat being much too slow and heavy for the sake of inserting all of these starry cameos and to prove how serious it has been researched.

This sequence is intense and magnificently shot, with a great concluding scene.

The movie acurrately showed what a waste the brave 82nd airborne daylight river crossing was only to have the British armor stop for tea time a mile away from rescuing their own Paratroops.

The music didn't help either, but parts of the movie are great and the all-star cast does lift it beyond the mundane, if you can get past Gene Hackman's strangled-cat attempts to reproduce a Polish accent.

Large-scale boredom.

Really suspenseful too, even though I already know exactly how everything will play out.

Michael Caine is laconic,Lawrence Olivier and Liv Ullman are compassion personified,Ryan O'Neal is intense and harassed and Gene Hackman gives one of his best perfomances of all time as a Polish General with grave misgivings about the whole thing.

The whole needless arc of a gruff non-com (James Caan) and a scared young officer who looks to him for protection is predictable from their first exchange.

And yet the whole thing is structured to provide a blend of the informative, the exciting and the moving.

It's a very enjoyable mix.

The ideas are good, but the scope of the project was just way too large to coherently squeeze into a near 3 hour film and the disjointed multiple story lines end up zapping most of your interest in the outcome.

The editing is strong as well, especially in the battle sequences which create the air of chaos and confusion to give the viewer an idea of the "fog of war" first hand.

The many star parts are both enjoyable and distracting.

When the allies dropped four airborne units(one a Polish brigade) into Holland near the end of 1944, only to have one of them defeated by unexpected resistance from German units and cheering crowds of Dutch, nobody took in account that they would make a movie about it some decades later.

Thoroughly entertaining and interest raiser .

What happens indeed is a lot of confusion and flaws, lack of communication and coordination of the operation, bad planning, meteorological problems, resulting in the death of thousand of men.

A movie however needs more than just a fascinating premise.

Flawed epic that has stolen 3 hours of my life.

The scale of it is breathtaking.

Enjoyable, action-packed war epic .

It is a worthwhile film for war buffs, as there are a few rewarding battle scenes; but one has to wade through veritable spools of self-important and confusing - sometimes down-right boring - celluloid to get to them.

Just when a scene becomes slow, we cut to an entirely new sub-story with an entirely new set of characters.

The sequence of the boarding and dropping of the paratroops is a thrilling spectacle, shot on a colossal scale.

I highly recommend it.

But there are some equally dreadful lowlights as well; Ryan O'Neal is unbearable as Jim Gavin in a portrayal that manages to reduce one of the most enigmatic soldiers in American history to a whiner you want to slap every time you see him.

This exciting , overproduced wartime story is plenty of action , emotion , realized in documentary style , though sometimes results to be lifeless and overlong .

The material was fascinating, the acting first rate, direction flawless and the overall production values top flight.

This movie is full of sorrow and stupidity and what seems to be a lot of tactical detail which makes it a thrilling work of film.

but how do you think the GI, the British soldier, felt after almost two weeks of constant, intense battle?

The movie makes Market-Garden seem more like a big adventure instead of a great waste of human life and treasure.

Tight editing allows the battle scenes to be both engaging and taut.

It's well worth the watch.

It would been far better to focus on fewer characters and develop them well instead of relying on every war cliché imaginable and hoping it sticks like spaghetti thrown against the wall.

Whilst some may find the length of the film to be a bit tiresome, for someone such as myself who can't stand to see details skimped on, this helps to craft the storyline very effectively, moulding the rather hurried military planning with much of the human stories of those involved in making the military decisions not insignificant either.

The overall impression, however, is one of waste: waste of life, waste of effort.

From BAFTA nominated director Lord Sir Richard Attenborough (Gandhi, Cry Freedom), this may not the best war film I've seen, but certainly worth watching.

During the 40s and 50s, when all the other genres were busy growing up, all war pictures were produced as propaganda or respectful tribute, simply due to the needs of the era.

Laurence Olivier and James Caan appear in two completely pointless almost-cameo roles.

He also wastes time with banal bits of metaphorical business, like the train-set spinning round in circles.

Frost is very credible and entertaining.

The movie is very solid, well-acted and entertaining.

Any way you look at it, ATF is a thrilling, horrifying, thought- provoking, all around excellent film.

As genres go, the war movie went through a fairly slow and awkward evolution.

" The battles are both thrilling and terrifying, a nicely struck balance.

Finally in addition to being precise to the events, and exposing in depth all the characters involved, it is very entertaining, and will keep you intrigued for the whole time.

Also, man probably argue that the movie dragged on too long.

Military historians may relish every minute of this WW2 drama, but this film left me cold, bored and totally unengaged.

The scenes in this film were shot pretty much as you see them - so the 35,000 parachutists storming Holland, the river crossing led by Robert Redford under intense enemy fire, and other such staggering combat sequences were filmed with thousands of extras and a good deal of meticulous planning and preparation.

Some stories are so engaging, you can watch them over and over again.

But the boredom I felt while I was watching this film (for the second time)is mammoth.

It's almost as effective as a documentary, and is certainly more entertaining.

The opening scene, with the Dutch family quivering under a candlelit nimbus straight out of Vermeer as the news of German retreat fills them with an almost unbelieving hope, is sublime setup for all to follow, and the battle scenes around Arnhem have a realness to them that's both painful and rousing.

Lavish, gritty, engrossing .

The photography is stunning, the soft focus and smokey screen is a trademark of Unsworth, he used this to great effect in Superman The Movie.

Long, Boring, and Generally Badly-Handled .

Brian Horrocks - especially for his rousing speech prior to XXX Corps setting off on the narrow road to Arnhem.

Horrocks is also quite enjoyable.

In Ryan's book it's easy enough to follow events and characters but, as edited, this movie is pretty confusing.

I am intending to add this one to my DVD collection and highly recommend it to war movie buffs.

The battle scenes could have been made more clearer as to just where they were taking place without having to resort to 'take note audience' type dialog by the principals for audiences unfamiliar with the historical facts about the battle, but of course, if not deftly done, this can make a film of this nature very ponderous; keeping the narrative flowing while giving a sense just where in the three cities (Eindhoven, Nijmegan & Arhnem) the action is taking place is difficult.

The film is filled with huge battles and has some very exciting and poignant sequences.

Evocative as well as thrilling musical score by John Addison , this composer was a member of XXX Corps during the actual operation.

This film avoids the cliché of making all Germans and Nazis as evil characters which was possibilities a more truthful portrayal.

The failure of the (over)ambitious 'Operation Market Garden' is a fascinating story.

The cinematography is extraordinary; the music is suitably stirring; the potentially confusing story is handled with clarity and true-to-the-facts sensitivity; and amid the chaos a number of very memorable scenes emerge.

Individual scenes stand out like James Caan eluding Germans and forcing Arthur Hill to operate at gunpoint, Sean Connery getting holed up in an attic to avoid capture, and the tedious back and forth battle between British and German forces for a bridge.

Quite apart from the historical significance of the event (and the significance of the film of the event), this is rather worth watching.

Too muddled and confusing as well.

The movie acurrately showed what a waste the brave 82nd airborne daylight river crossing was only to have the British armor stop for tea time a mile away from rescuing their own Paratroops.

Worth watching for the cast, uniforms, equipment, and settings ...

The sight of Dakotas dropping hundreds of paratroopers over Holland is a stunning spectacle, as are the columns of tanks and battalions of costumed extras.

For everyone else, an all-star cast and gripping war-action will entertain as well.

Accurate, Stunning and Shallow Epic .

A battle to stay awake .

I saw the film in the theater but can't remember having been wowed by the jump sequence, which I'm sure must have been breathtaking.

This approach makes portions of "A Bridge Too Far" quite stirring and exciting, if you like that sort of thing.

The downside is partly that the movie is too long.

Historical, accurate and engaging - watch it .

They will have to come to the conclusion that a movie that tells the story from every point of view, is unnecessarily confusion, overlong and focuses on far too many characters and plot-lines.

'Ted's evaluation: 3 of 4 -- Worth watching.

Here, there may be a lot thrown in, but it is compelling and the elements are for the most part important in showing what happened, which is what the film is trying to do.

The downs: Besides Robert Redford's pointless casting, there areother problems with the actors.

As there are so many strands and so many characters the overall narrative is completely disjointed.

It is of course very entertaining.

And he originally filmed the closing scene of the movie not with a triumphant parade of victorious infantrymen marching up the slopes to a peppy military tune but with an forlorn, exhausted, empty grunt, sitting at the water's edge and listlessly tossing pebbles into the waves.

His action scenes are breathtaking,while the casualty sequences are genuinely heart-rending.

The movie is very solid, well-acted and entertaining.

That's probably enough for people who are into it—and it's gripping, for sure, at its best.

Market Garden was plagued by "bad luck" apart from any bad-planning; the British radios which didn't work, the weather, the unexpected Panzer regiments.

Either way this is a film worth watching at least once just so you can understand what your freedom cost.

However A Bridge Too Far is a good film and is well worth watching, especially if you like war films or interested in WWII.

TORA TORA BORA, THE LONGEST DAY (you ever spent watching a movie) - painstakingly technical, despite scattered scenes of destruction they are as dull as they are long.


A largely historically accurate depiction of the failed Operation Market Garden, this is a thrilling and engrossing epic war film which explores the absolute necessity of a great deal of preparation in staging a major military operation.

The movie plays out like a documentary filled with a fair share of Monthy Python stereo types, but without the intended silliness, and otherwise bland Americans.

A lot of self indulgent, meandering direction from Attenborough doesn't help the matter either.

It is disappointing that the director, Attenbourgh - an Englishman himself, at times resorted to the tired and false Hollywood cliche of the British as being inept and over-cautious, 8000 of our boys died at Arnhem.

The direction by sir Richard Attenborough is wonderful, kinetic and gripping.

Like watching Saving Private Ryan, all I think watching this movie is what a waste of human life.

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.

The actual final ending of the film was bland, and very heavy-handed.

The one downfall, as cited in an earlier review, is the situational confusion that ends up confusing the viewer.

In that sense, it was very enjoyable.

It's a long film but worth watching, in particular it highlights the tenacity and courage of the British Paras, who held out at Arnhem for several days.

As a film it's entertaining.

In all, this is a thrilling and well-crafted war film.

Ryan O'Neal, Robert Redford and Eliot Gould were so-so, ho-hum.

Those that say the movie is boring and not well made do not understand the real greatness of this film.

This makes the battle scenes majestic and the slow moments poignant.

Nearly every scene is filled with silly cliché drivel which has been used in war films from circa 1950 to 1965.

The book offers so much utterly compelling and cinematic material ...

I thought all the actors did well with their roles, with Edward Fox being as entertaining as usual, although Gene Hackman's Polish accent sounded a little forced.

It is historically accurate and fascinating to watch.

Robert Redford's assault across the river is a symphony in olive drab, leading to a wonderful moment of exhilaration.

The attention to detail is fascinating in small ways.

In "A Bridge Too Far", the dialogue and settings are so campy and obvious, the experience lapses into too many cliché scenes.

Sundry big names appear in totally unnecessary cameos, most of which simply detract from the main plot; this, I feel, adding to the confusion of an already muddled screenplay.

His arrangements are clear and meaningful, which also helps in the fast paced action scenes.

In fact, the plot as a whole is quite hard to follow in the course of this overlong and over-repetitive screenplay.