A BRIDGE TOO FAR
DIRECTED BY RICHARD ATTENBOROUGH
PRODUCED BY JOSEPH E. LEVINE/ PICHARD P. LEVINE
JOSEPH E. LEVINE PRODUCTIONS
Information from IMDb
This WWII film follows the perspectives of American, Polish and British soldiers
attempting to capture key bridges behind German lines in a
complicated parachute and armoured assault.
Written by Keith Loh
Siem Vroom ... Underground Leader
Marlies van Alcmaer ... Underground Leader's Wife (as Marlies Van Alcmaer)
Erik van 't Wout ... Underground Leader's Son (as Eric Van't Wout)
Wolfgang Preiss ... Field Marshal Von Rundstedt
Hans von Borsody ... General Blumentritt (as Hans Von Borsody)
Josephine Peeper ... Cafe Waitress
Dirk Bogarde ... Lieutenant General Browning
Paul Maxwell ... Major General Maxwell Taylor
Sean Connery ... Major General Urquhart
Ryan O'Neal ... Brigadier General Gavin
Gene Hackman ... Major General Sosabowski
Walter Kohut ... Field Marshal Model
Peter Faber ... Captain 'Harry' Bestebreurtje
Hartmut Becker ... German Sentry
Frank Grimes ... Major Fuller
Jeremy Kemp ... R.A.F. Briefing Officer
Donald Pickering ... Lieutenant Colonel Mackenzie
Donald Douglas ... Brigadier Lathbury
Peter Settelen ... Lieutenant Cole
Stephen Moore ... Major Steele
Edward Fox ... Lieutenant General Horrocks
Michael Caine ... Lieutenant Colonel J.O.E. Vandeleur
Michael Byrne ... Lieutenant Colonel Giles Vandeleur
Anthony Hopkins ... Lieutenant Colonel Frost
Paul Copley ... Private Wicks
Nicholas Campbell ... Captain Glass
James Caan ... Staff Sergeant Dohun
Gerald Sim ... Colonel Sims
Harry Ditson ... U.S. Private
Erik Chitty ... Organist
Brian Hawksley ... Vicar
Colin Farrell ... Corporal Hancock
Christopher Good ... Major Carlyle
Norman Gregory ... Private Morgan
Alun Armstrong ... Corporal Davies
Anthony Milner ... Private Dodds
Barry McCarthy ... Private Clark
Lex van Delden ... Sergeant Matthias (as Lex Van Delden)
Maximilian Schell ... Lieutenant General Bittrich
Michael Wolf ... Field Marshal Model's Aide
Hardy Krüger ... Major General Ludwig (as Hardy Kruger)
Sean Mathias ... Irish Guards Lieutenant
Tim Beekman ... German Private
Edward Seckerson ... British Padre
Liv Ullmann ... Kate Ter Horst
Tom van Beek ... Jan Ter Horst (as Tom Van Beek)
Bertus Botterman ... Dutch Villager
Henny Alma ... Dutch Villager
Elliott Gould ... Colonel Stout
Ray Jewers ... U.S. Radio Operator
Geoffrey Hinsliff ... British Wireless Operator
Keith Drinkel ... Lieutenant Cornish
Mary Smithuysen ... Old Dutch Lady
Hans Croiset ... Hans - Her Son
Fred Williams ... Captain Grabner
John Peel ... German Lieutenant
John Judd ... Sergeant Clegg
Ben Cross ... Trooper Binns
Hilary Minster ... British Medical Officer
David English ... Private Andrews
Ben Howard ... Sergeant Towns
Michael Graham Cox ... Captain Cleminson
Johan te Slaa ... Elderly Dutch Couple (as Johan Te Slaa)
Georgette Reyevski ... Elderly Dutch Couple
Pieter Groenier ... Young Dutch Couple
Adrienne Kleiweg ... Young Dutch Couple
Denholm Elliott ... R.A.F. Met. Officer
Peter Gordon ... U.S. Sergeant
Arthur Hill ... U.S. Medical Colonel
Garrick Hagon ... Lieutenant Rafferty
Brian Gwaspari ... U.S. Engineer
Stephen Rayment ... Grenadier Guards Lieutenant
Timothy Morand ... British Corporal (as Tim Morand)
James Wardroper ... Private Gibbs
Neil Kennedy ... Colonel Barker
John Salthouse ... Private 'Ginger' Marsh
Jonathan Hackett ... Glider Pilot
Stanley Lebor ... Regimental Sergeant Major
Jack Galloway ... Private Vincent
Milton Cadman ... Private Long
David Auker ... 'Taffy' Brace
Laurence Olivier ... Doctor Spaander
Richard Kane ... Colonel Weaver
Toby Salaman ... Private Stephenson
Michael Bangerter ... British Staff Colonel
Philip Raymond ... Grenadier Guards Colonel
Myles Reithermann ... Boat Truck Driver
Robert Redford ... Major Cook
Anthony Pullen Shaw ... U.S. Captain (as Anthony Pullen)
John Morton ... U.S. Padre
John Ratzenberger ... U.S. Lieutenant
Patrick Ryecart ... German Lieutenant
Dick Rienstra ... Captain Krafft
Ian Liston ... Sergeant Whitney
Paul Rattee ... Private Gordon
Mark Sheridan ... Sergeant Tomblin
George Innes ... Sergeant Macdonald
John Stride ... Grenadier Guards Major
Niall Padden ... British Medical Orderly
Michael Graves ... British Medical Orderly
Simon Chandler ... Private Simmonds
Edward Kalinski ... Private Archer
Shaun Curry ... Corporal Robbins
Sebastian Abineri ... Sergeant Treadwell
Chris Williams ... Corporal Merrick (as Christopher Williams)
Andrew Branch ... Flute Player
Anthony Garner ... British Staff Major
Feliks Arons ... Dutch Priest
and many, many more as soldiers....
And a Cast of Real people
Richard Attenborough ... Lunatic Wearing Glasses (uncredited)
Omar N. Bradley ... Himself - Plans for D-Day (archive footage) (uncredited)
Winston Churchill ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Charles de Gaulle ... Himself - In Car with Churchill (archive footage) (uncredited)
Dwight D. Eisenhower ... Himself - Plans for D-Day (archive footage) (uncredited)
Gerard Franken ... Soldier (uncredited)
Adolf Hitler ... Himself - Salutes Parade (archive footage) (uncredited)
Alfred Jodl ... Himself (beside Hitler) (archive footage) (uncredited) (unconfirmed)
Trafford Leigh-Mallory ... Himself - Plans for D-Day (archive footage) (uncredited)
Bernard L. Montgomery ... Himself - Plans for D-Day (archive footage) (uncredited)
George S. Patton ... Himself - Shakes Hands (archive footage) (uncredited)
Bertram Ramsay ... Himself - Plans for D-Day (archive footage) (uncredited)
Erwin Rommel ... Himself - Below Hitler (archive footage) (uncredited)
Franklin D. Roosevelt ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Walter Bedell Smith ... Himself - Plans for D-Day (archive footage) (uncredited)
Arthur Tedder ... Himself - Plans for D-Day (archive footage) (uncredited)
Joseph E. Levine .... producer
Richard P. Levine .... producer
John Palmer .... associate producer
Michael Stanley-Evans .... co-producer
Cornelius Ryan (book)
William Goldman (screenplay)
Originally rated "R" by the MPAA for strong language, it was lowered to "PG" upon appeal.
There are 14 Oscar-winners associated with the movie, seven of them actors (though none earned their Academy Awards for this picture).
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.
According to the DVD version, Gen. R.E. Urquhart had no idea who Sean Connery was or why his daughters were so excited that he had been chosen to play their father in the movie. Richard Attenborough picked Connery because of his strong resemblance to the younger Urqhart.
Michael Caine claims that director Richard Attenborough did not tell him that a string of dummy tanks behind the scout car Caine was in would be blown up, so Caine could look realistically startled during the shot.
Composer John Addison was a member of XXX Corps during the actual operation.
Film critics derided producer Joseph E. Levine for casting a then 36-year-old Ryan O'Neal to play an army general. But in reality, Brig. Gen. James M. Gavin was only 37 years old at the time of the battle. In fact, shortly after this battle, Gavin was promoted to major general and at 37 was the youngest man ever to hold that rank.
The officer who is told to "not rock the boat" over the aerial intelligence was actually called Urquhart. His name was changed in the film so that the audience would not confuse him with Connery's character.
Over 2.7 million feet of film were shot.
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 88" Land Rovers. VW Beetle chassis were used for German Kubelwagens. The tank treads didn't reach the ground, but the film is edited so that this isn't noticeable (except in the section after Elliott Gould cries "Roll the fuckers / Roll 'em, fellas" there are shots of the tanks rolling over the bridge. One tank is seen silhouetted against the background and its tracks are clearly not moving as fast as they should be if the tank were real).
Despite the fact that the film was made more than 30 years after the actual battle, a number of its principal characters were able to be employed as military consultants during production. The list of people includes: Brian Horrocks (James Fox), James M. Gavin (Ryan O'Neal), J.O.E. Vandeleur (Michael Caine), John Frost (Anthony Hopkins) and R.E. Urquhart (Sean Connery).
During WWII, Dirk Bogarde, who played Lt. Gen. Browning, served in intelligence with the British army. He and eight other intelligence officers were sent to Arnhem by Bernard L. Montgomery during the battle.
According to the DVD edition, the real-life Col. John Frost chided Anthony Hopkins during the filming for running from house to house during the battle for Arnhem. According to Hopkins, Frost told him that a British officer would never have run but would have shown disdain for enemy fire by walking from place to place. Hopkins claims he tried but as soon as the firing started, instincts took over and he ran as fast as he could.
Originally, Richard Attenborough did not want to direct this picture, as he was keen to make Gandhi after Young Winston. However, major studios were reluctant to finance the picture, so he sought producer Joseph E. Levine for financing. This film was part of the agreement in exchange for financing "Gandhi".
According to the DVD Production Notes, James Caan agreed to do the film because of the scene in which he forces a reticent army surgeon to operate on one of his buddies at gunpoint (Scene 18). He said, "When [Richard Attenborough] came to see me in Los Angeles, he offered me the choice of several roles. I chose the sergeant chiefly for that one scene."
Hardy Krüger's character, Gen. Ludwig, is a composite of German division commanders Gen. Harmel and Lt. Col. Harzer.
Carlyle, the British officer with the umbrella, who died during the battle, is based on Maj. 'Digby Tatham-Warter', who survived the battle.
Special effects supervisor John Richardson was injured driving his BMW and his girlfriend was killed in the accident during production.
Numerous officers have the names of crew members. For instance, in one of the shots of the soldiers occupying the house facing the bridge in Arnhem, Sgt. Clegg was a reference to production manager Terence A. Clegg. During the Bailey bridge segment, one Pvt. Gibbs was a reference to editor Antony Gibbs. During (DVD Chapter 26) Frost's Last Stand, Frost calls out on Sgt. Tomblin, a reference to First Assistant Director David Tomblin. Finally, MacDonald, whom agreed to man the wireless as Gen. Urquhart mentioned, was a reference to then camera operator Peter MacDonald.
Stuntman Alf Joint was badly injured while filming a stunt falling of a rooftop. He missed the air mattress.
The Para playing his flute during a lull was playing the third movement from the Brandenburg Conerto #6 (BWV1051), written by Johann Sebastian Bach.
Roger Moore was initially cast in 'A Bridge Too Far', but was unable to appear when problems surrounding the Bond franchise meant that The Spy Who Loved Me was made a year later than originally planned, therefore coinciding with the production dates.
Dirk Bogarde's portrayal of General Browning was highly controversial, and several friends of the late general suggested that, had Browning still been alive in 1977, he would have sued director Richard Attenborough and screenwriter William Goldman. Bogarde himself took issue with the portrayal during filming, having known Browning personally as he was a member of field marshal Montgomery's staff during the war. Although Attenborough publicly took responsibility for the controversy, his relationship with Bogarde was never the same again.
Due to permissions and budgetary constraints the movie was not shot in Arnhem but in Deventer, which lies 35KM up north. The sceneries and the bridge however are very much look alike compared to Arnhem.
According to his recent memoir Roger Moore was offered the role of Brian Horrocks. He was forced to decline due to a scheduling conflict with The Spy Who Loved Me but became available again when the Bond movie was delayed. However Horrocks had approval over the character and turned Moore down, and the role instead went to Edward Fox.
In the opening post-invasion scenes, shot in black and white and matted, a column is briefly shown of A27M Cromwell tanks, one the more effective British armoured vehicles of the Second World War. Elements of the Cromwell's design were incorporated within the later A34 Comet, arguably the best British tank of the Second World War. A Bridge Too Far may have been both the cinematic debut and sole appearance of the A27M in a major post-1945 war film production.
Sean Connery plays a private in The Longest Day and a Major General in A Bridge Too Far. All these fictional promotions would have occurred in the 3 1/2 months between the actual events.
Denholm Elliott who has a brief cameo as a RAF Officer actually did serve with The RAF in World War II.
Robert De Niro turned down the major cameo that James Caan ended up being cast in
Charles Bronson was seriously considered for General Sosabowski.
A familiar story element in the World War II genre war film is the blowing-up of a bridge. This is especially common in films with the word "bridge" in the title such as The Bridge at Remagen and The Bridge on the River Kwai. Ironically, this film A Bridge Too Far which features a quite a number of bridges in it, only the Son bridge is depicted as destroyed. Just as Col. Stout ('Elliot Gould') approaches the crossing, the bridge is blown up by German artillery (but the actual blowing-up of the bridge is not seen in the movie). The Germans also attempt to blow up the Waal Bridge at Nijmegen, but are unsuccessful when demolition charges fail to explode. In the case of this film, "A Bridge Too Far" refers to the over-ambitions of the Allied strategy in Operation Market Garden. In order for the campaign to be successful, the Allies needed to secure several enemy bridges in a very short period of time. They were tragically unsuccessful.
Robert Redford received a reported $2m for a total of 2 week's work on this production.
Actor Frank Jarvis worked nine months on this film.
As real Waffen-SS reversible camouflage smocks were unavailable, smocks used in the movie were tailored from post-war German shelter halves in the 'Amoeba' camouflage pattern.
Dirk Bogarde's portrayal of General Sir Frederick "Boy" Browning proved to be highly controversial. Browning's widow asked Earl Louis Mountbatten of Burma to boycott the film's London premiere in protest. He declined since it was for charity.
Sean Connery initially turned the film down because he felt it would be glorifying a military disaster. He changed his mind after reading the screenplay.
German actor Wolfgang Preiss also appeared in both this film and The Longest Day, also based on a book by Cornelius Ryan. In 'The Longest Day' Preiss plays German Major General Max Pemsel, Chief of Staff of the German Seventh Army. In 'A Bridge Too Far' he plays German Field Marshall Karl Gerd Von Rundstedt, commander in Chief of German ground forces on the western front.
According to stunt arranger Vic Armstrong, they used over 100 stunt men in this film.
Dame Daphne Du Maurier, the widow of Lt.-General Browning, complained that her husband had been "made the fall guy" for the failure of "Operation Market Garden" by this film. Browning and the unseen Field Marshal Montgomery, who are shown as responsible for the failure, had both died by the time the film opened in 1977 (unlike the other commanders involved). Director Richard Attenborough defended his depiction of Browning by pointing to the final scene, where he says, "As you know, I've always thought we were going a bridge too far". Browning did actually say something very similar to this (hence the title of Cornelius Ryan's original book and this film), but he said it well before the operation started.
Sean Connery played one of the largest roles in the film as General Urquhart, but was angered to discover that Robert Redford, in a much smaller role, was getting considerably more money. He went on strike for a short time until his fee was adjusted to his satisfaction.
Richard Attenborough: One of the lunatics wearing glasses watching the soldiers.
During the arrival of Allied troops in Eindhoven, some members of the cheering crowd can be seen waving miniature 50-star American flags.
The parachutes used by the troopers are equipped with anti-inversion nets. They are around the skirt of the canopy to prevent partial malfunctions. The nets were not developed until the mid 1970s, shortly before the movie was filmed.
There is a German tank featured in several scenes. This tank is actually a German-made, post-war tank named "Leopard I" with a few modifications to look like a German Panzer V Panther tank of the World War II era. Given that the Leopard I is actually an offspring/based on the Panzer V this is a good choice.
In the "meeting of the generals" scene early in the movie, a cold-war-era map of Europe and the Middle East can be seen. Clearly visible is the German-Polish border at the post-WW2 Oder-Neisse line (though no inner-German border), Austria separated from Germany, a post-WW2 Czechoslovakia, the West Bank occupied by Jordan, and Gaza strip occupied by Egypt.
When Lt. Col. J.O.E Vandeleur is riding in the car talking to the officer who is driving, you can see in one far away view that their lips are not moving, but you still hear them talking.
When Gen. Bittrich sees all the paratroopers coming down, here says something like "Just once to have such power in my hands." However, in the C. Ryan's book it is German paratrooper expert Gen. Student that makes that statement.
At the beginning of the film when the American and British officers are talking, the general's epaulets are on top of his coat collar. A minute later, as the general walks around the table, the epaulets are under his coat collar.
When the boats finally arrive to cross the river at Nijmegen bridge, there is water in them, even though they've been transported for days in trucks in rain-free weather. (Probably a result of previous takes.)
When General Horrocks is on the stairs of a factory and uses binoculars to look at his tanks, he covers one lens with his fingers while looking thru the binoculars. On a second shot, it looks OK.
The subtitles when Field Marshall Rundstedt is speculating between General Patton and Field Marshall Montgomery near the beginning of the film once misspell "Patton" as "Patten". Later usages correctly spell "Patton".
When von Rundstedt is deciding where to send his armoured reserves in order to rest them before meeting the expected attack by Patton rather than Montgomery he decides to send them to Arnhem. The map counter which is moved clearly shows "II SS Panzer Div (division)" when the correct name of the unit at Arnhem was the II SS Panzer Corps (consisting of the 9th and 10th SS Panzer Divisions). The 2nd SS Panzer Division at that time was fighting on the Eastern Front.
As the first British paratroopers are assembling, there are wide angle shots of activity. Most of the paratroopers are carrying the correct rifles, machine pistols or other weapons, but a few can be spotted carrying American M1 Garand rifles that were rarely used by British or Commonwealth forces. Later in the movie, as the tide turns and the British paratroopers have surrendered, German soldiers crossing a small foot bridge to the British command post can be briefly seen carrying M1s as well. M1s were issued to a small percentage of Commonwealth airborne troopers to increase the rifle fire-power of squads. Photos of Canadian airborne troops verify this.
When Ludwig is speaking to a subordinate about blowing the bridge about to be assaulted by the 82nd, the subordinate refers to a "Hauptmann", the German word for captain. In the SS, the rank would be "Hauptsturmführer." Likewise, when he answers Ludwig, he calls him "General". Ludwig is listed in the cast as a Major General, but the equivalent SS rank would have been Brigadeführer. In the film, Ludwig's collar tab has 3 oak leafs and 1 pip which stands for Gruppenführer (General Lieutenant), even though his rank is that of a Brigadeführer.
The 82d Airborne Division's Command Post during the operation was never located in an estate mansion as portrayed in the movie. The CP was in the woods outside Nijmegen near the drop zones.
Brigadier General James Gavin's (Ryan O'Neal) insignia of rank is incorrectly displayed on his "Ike" jacket. Brigadier Generals wear the star positioned at the middle of the epaulets rather than at the outer edge as do officers in the grade of Lieutenants through Colonel.
In the film, a group of British paratroops kill or disperse the resting crew of a German tank outside the row house where General Urquhart and his aide are hiding, thus allowing him to return to his headquarters. In reality, Urquhart and his aide just hid and waited for the German tank to move on, which it did without any gun play or contact with the British paratroops.
Most of the C-47 aircraft in the movie are incorrectly painted a yellowish-brown. The actual color would have been olive drab.
During shots of Nijmegen, the tower of the Sint Stevenschurch is standing tall. In fact the tower was destroyed by an American bombing off Nijmegen in February 1944. It was not put back on the church until the late sixties. The opening of the renewed tower was in 1969.
According to the book 'A Bridge Too Far', it was Model, not Von Rundstedt, who suggested sending Bittrich's panzers to Arnhem.
After the initial attempt by XXX Corps to break out, there is a scene of a wrecked M24 Chaffee being pushed of the road. There is also a burning M10 Tank destroyer among the wrecks. Not only are these vehicles not visible in the initial advance or fighting scenes, but neither were used by the British Army. The M10 might pass for a 17Pdr gunned Achillies.
The bomb placed as shown would never collapse the entire bridge, because although it's directly under the road surface, it's 80 ft under the apex of the steel arch, the strongest part of the structure, which would remain intact after the bomb goes off. The bomb would have virtually no effect. The best the explosives could achieve where they're shown would be to disrupt the road surface.
Operation Market Garden began on Sunday, 17 Sept. 1944; in the movie, Gen. Browning correctly refers to a Sunday departure in the initial briefing, and later we see a church service disrupted by the aircraft passing overhead. But on the morning of the departure, we see on Col. Frost's bedside table a calendar with all the days crossed off until the 17th... which is a Tuesday on that calendar. Furthermore, the calendar clearly shows a 31-day month, obviously not September.
In the opening monologue, the unidentified woman states that in 1944, before D-Day, the Second World War was in its fifth year and "still going Hitler's way". In reality, long before D-Day Germany had already suffered crushing defeats on the Eastern Front at the hands of the Soviet Union, at Stalingrad in the winter of 1943, and at Kursk in the summer of 1943. It had also been kicked out of North Africa by the Western Allies. Thus, by mid-1943 Hitler and Nazi Germany were already well on their way to ultimate defeat.
Major Cook's (Robert Redford) hair extends below the rear edge of his helmet. This is longer than was allowed by U.S. Army World War II regulations.
When a damaged Allied cargo plane "crashes" behind some trees near Maj. Gen. Urquhart and his troops, the plane can be seen pulling up and flying away just behind the fireball marking its supposed impact point.
When the English soldiers are are standing and yelling to the supply drop aeroplanes a damaged plane flies past with an engine out and crashes soon after, but the plane can be seen flying away from the left side of the explosion
When the Allied troops cross the Grave bridge you can clearly see a modern traffic sign on the river bank.
When the British tanks begin advancing onto Nijmegen bridge, there is one shot of a Leopard tank intended to be a Panther - obviously taken from earlier in the film.
As the Dutch Advisor Harry yells at Gen. Gavin after landing "you all right?" Several men in the background are carrying K98 German rifles instead of M-1 Garands, could be a war trophy but they carry no other rifle, and they just landed and wouldn't have time to get pick one up.
General Gavin's (Ryan O'Neal) helmet appears to be a foreign type, not the standard U.S. Model M1 helmet.
Bemmel, Lingewaard, Gelderland, NetherlandsBronkhorst, Gelderland, Netherlands
Deventer, Overijssel, Netherlands
Grave, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands
Haarle, Overijssel, Netherlands
Lent, Nijmegen, Gelderland, Netherlands
Moor Park Golf Club, Moor Park, Anson Walk, Batchworth Heath, Hertfordshire, England, UK (exteriors)
Nijmegen, Gelderland, Netherlands
Twickenham Film Studios, St Margarets, Twickenham, Middlesex, England, UK (studio)
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