Cast and Crew: Richard Attenborough (Director); Cornelius Ryan (Book); William Goldman (Screenplay); Dirk Bogarde, Sean Connery, Ryan O’Neal, Gene Hackman, Edward Fox, Michael Caine, Anthony Hopkins, James Caan, Maximilian Schell, Hardy Kruger, Liv Ullmann, Elliott Gould, Ben Cross, Denholm Elliott, Laurence Olivier, Robert Redford, John Ratzenberger
What It’s About: Operation Market Garden, was a huge combined airborne and ground operation devised by General Montgomery during the Second World War. It was one of those grand strategic strokes that seem to exist merely to fail. Three airborne divisions parachuted far behind enemy lines. Their objective: to seize vital bridges that would allow the ground forces to push through to Germany.
Of course everything went wrong.
Why Watch it Today?: Allied forces withdrew from Arnhem today in 1944. The British forces at Arnhem were those dropped furthest into enemy territory, became isolated and were forced to hold out without supplies for days, a heroic if ultimately futile defense. A Bridge Too Far tries to tell a bit too much story with a too-star-studded cast, but at its best moments (generally involving Anthony Hopkins and his men within Arnhem) it is a stirring, if heartbreaking, film.