A Bridge Too Far is a 1977 epic war film based on the 1974 book of the same name by Cornelius Ryan, adapted by William Goldman. It was produced by Joseph E. Levine and Richard P. Levine and directed by Richard Attenborough.
The film tells the story of the failure of Operation Market Garden during World War II. The operation was intended to allow the Allies to break through German lines and seize several bridges in the occupied Netherlands, including one at Arnhem, with the main objective of outflanking German defences in order to end the war by Christmas of 1944.
The name for the film comes from an unconfirmed comment attributed to British Lieutenant-General Frederick Browning, deputy commander of the First Allied Airborne Army, who told Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, the operation’s architect, before the operation: “I think we may be going a bridge too far”, in reference to the intention of seizing the Arnhem bridgehead over the Rhine river.
The ensemble cast includes Dirk Bogarde, James Caan, Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Edward Fox, Elliott Gould, Gene Hackman, Anthony Hopkins, Hardy Krüger, Laurence Olivier, Ryan O’Neal, Robert Redford, Maximilian Schell and Liv Ullmann. The music was scored by John Addison, who had served in the British XXX Corps during Market Garden.
A Bridge Too Far is an epic about one of the most tragic blunders of the Second World War, with a detailed account of a plan that cost more allied lives than the entire Normandy landing.
In September 1944, when the Allies were still stunned by the success of the Normandy invasion, they confidently launched Operation Market Garden, a wild plan to reclaim a number of strategic bridges from the Germans to end the Second World War as soon as possible. . The aim was to destroy the war industry of the German Empire. However, a combination of politics on the battlefield, misinformation, bad luck and bad weather conditions led to a disastrous operation.
A Bridge Too Far is a captivating film version of ‘Operation: Market Garden’, the battle for the bridge over the Rhine near Arnhem. The film is based on the book by Cornelius Ryan, who was also the author of another bestseller: The Longest Day. Richard Attenborough has followed the book fairly tightly with regard to the direction. Script writer William Goldman has done extensive research (thanks to the veterans) which has helped to create a film that has a documentary-like character, but above all, it is big on purpose.
At least as impressive is the imposing list of top actors that we see through the image in combat equipment. It is not a daily expense to see big names such as Gene Hackman, Anthony Hopkins, Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Robert Redford and Dirk Bogarde on the list of actors. A Bridge Too Far is one of the most impressive films about one of the important events of the Second World War, and certainly the best film version of ‘Operation Market Garden’ and therefore belongs in advance to the collection of lovers of war and history films.