A Bridge Too Far (1977) Super War Action
A Bridge Too Far (1977)
Director: Richard Attenborough
It’s an oddity among WWII movies: a blindingly starry cast and an enormous budget, amassed by director Richard Attenborough to “celebrate” one of the colossal military failures of WWII. The flip side to The Longest Day, A Bridge too Far is the story of how the Allies bet big on winning the war by Christmas, 1944, and subsequently left thousands killed, wounded or captured across the Netherlands. Beginning as adventure, revved up by bally-ho Brits and spunky yanks (including Michael Caine, Elliott Gould and a mighty Edward Fox), Attenborough’s film quickly devolves into a series of glum anecdotes on the futility of war. Anthony Hopkins’ glider troop are met behind enemy lines not by the predicted “old men and kids” but by superior German forces; Robert Redford’s paratroop company are decimated capturing a bridge with leaky boats; and Gene Hackman’s Polish general, dismissively treated by a self-satisfied Allied upper echelon, is forced to watch as his army of free Poles is massacred just as predicted. All the while the German command in Holland, in a strand of black comedy, repeatedly insist the Allies must have secret plans up their sleeve, because they couldn’t possibly be dumb or reckless enough to be attempting what they appear to be.