When you are a sixty-four year old movie buff that is into war/military films and come across a great film in that genre that was made in 1959, you might understand my amazement. A film that I did not even know it existed. That is on me. My first thoughts is have I seen some of the shots in this movie that Steven Spielberg used in his great battle film of World War II, Saving Private Ryan? Surly he has viewed this Bernhard Wicki adaptation of a Gregor Dorfmeister novel named Die Brücke (The Bridge). A story based on an actual event upon the personal report of a surviving veteran who in his own youth experienced a similar situation in World War II. The film world honored the film and also the director Wicki, which resulted in his participation in co-directing the movie The Longest Day (1962).
An anti-war film, The Bridge is about a group of fifteen/sixteen year old boys that are drafted in the German Army one day before the American army makes it to their town in Germany to cross a bridge that is in the path of their advancement in the Third Reich. A group of seven teens are ordered to guard a bridge that the German high command has already decided to blow up but nobody told the young and inexperienced soldiers. This movie delivers the goods with a telling story told by a master director one of his first films with actors with little or no experience. The view of the war on the German side was ground breaking at the time and the film was shown in the United States and Russia shortly after it opened in West Germany.
The battle action in the final quarter of the film is very effective and realistic. A war movie that shows the human side of what war does to the human spirit. I rate this one a solid five stars. The Criterion transfer is second to none.
Run Time: 103 minutes
- Studio: Criterion Collection (Direct)
- DVD Release Date: June 23, 2015