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144 of 158 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mustering Dutch Courage
In a film of beautiful nuance, Richard Attenborough captures the horrors or war and the dignity of those who must endure, soldiers and civilians alike. The stellar cast of "A Bridge Too Far" (a veritable who's who of acting greats) sets this film apart. Sean Connery leaves behind the cool assuredness of Bond and faces futility with a mug of tea while Anthony Hopkins, a...
Published on September 16, 2005 by Michael S. Mahoney

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54 of 65 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Looks and sounds no better than standard DVD
Great movie, but I was extremely disappointed with the quality of this Blu-ray version. So my rating is not for the movie itself which I would give between 4 and 5 stars. I give it two stars on the technical quality. The video quality was no better than the standard DVD, which I already own, and the audio might even be worse than the standard DVD. All in All a very...
Published on March 23, 2009 by Therese C.


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144 of 158 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mustering Dutch Courage, September 16, 2005
By 
Michael S. Mahoney (Louisville, KY United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Bridge Too Far (DVD)
In a film of beautiful nuance, Richard Attenborough captures the horrors or war and the dignity of those who must endure, soldiers and civilians alike. The stellar cast of "A Bridge Too Far" (a veritable who's who of acting greats) sets this film apart. Sean Connery leaves behind the cool assuredness of Bond and faces futility with a mug of tea while Anthony Hopkins, a proper Englishman in Hell, surrenders with dignity, only reluctantly accepting chocolate from the enemy. James Caan is a particular standout. With true American grit, he bends all the rules and makes good on a pledge. The scale of the film could have wrought disasters on par with the campaign it portrays. Fortunately, the immensity of the Market-Garden campaign, which historically met its Waterloo at Arnhem, doesn't swallow up the stories of individual characters, of the Brit with umbrella for instance or the Dutch resisters who spy for the Allies.

Few World War II flicks showcase the absolute beauty of the European countryside. In "A Bridge Too Far," the landscape, made all the more picturesque in its contrast to the gore and destruction, is certainly an additional star and supports the wisdom of shooting this expensive epic in the Netherlands. The wide-angle approach, as well as the moving score, give balm to eyes and ears now accustomed to the tortorous naturalism of "Saving Private Ryan." Attenborough pulls back, thankfully. In its final scene, "A Bridge Too Far" achieves poignance without dialogue, without bluster, and without the common contrivance of summoning tears with half-baked, insipid bathos. Sir Lawrence Olivier and Liv Ullman stare straight ahead, the fresh graves of British paratroopers lining their path from an elegance destroyed, from an order and faith utterly shattered. The scene is perfection. And the film itself is close to it.
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61 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Literally filmed on location, January 8, 2000
By 
Kevin R. Austra (Delaware Valley, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Bridge Too Far (DVD)
Cornelius Ryan's nonfiction saga is masterfully told in the film adaptation. MARKET GARDEN, hoped to be one of the death blows to the German Reich, was daring and ambitious, but failed to bounce the Rhine and bring the war to conclusion. Locations in the Netherlands included the actual Nijmegen Bridge, drop zones outside of Oosterbeek (which is next to Arnhem), the Deventer Bridge closely doubling as the bridge at Arnhem, and many scenes filmed at the Dutch Infantry training center at nearby Harskamp. Producer Joseph E. Levine and Director Richard Attenborough drew equipment from numerous nations, including quite a few museum relics, to create this film. What they did not have, special effects and props departments created in order to create a realistic and mostly historically accurate rendition of this September 1944 battle in Holland. Where the film deviates from the book is that the movie tends to paint the Allied planners as blind to the possible flaws in the operation and German Field Marshal Model is portrayed as a cowardly fool. In reality, Model's immediate actions, though based on incorrect assumptions, greatly contributed to the containment of the Airhead north of the Neder Rijn. A BRIDGE TO FAR ranks highly with films like THE LONGEST DAY and SAVING PRIVATE RYAN in terms of intensity and historical accuracy.
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67 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Film -- Historically Accurate., July 20, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: A Bridge Too Far [VHS] (VHS Tape)
In my opinion, the best war movie ever made -- a notch better than "Saving Private Ryan," which contains certain historical inaccuracies. "A Bridge Too Far" masterfully adapts Cornelius Ryan's meticulously-researched book of the same title. More importantly, with the exception of the German tanks and armored personnel carriers depicted in the failed attempt to capture the northern end of the Arnhem bridge, the uniforms, machine guns, rifles, tanks, landscape, etc. depicted in the film are accurate -- unlike the vast majority of war films that cut corners, film off location, fail to research key facts, etc. The "second Omaha Beach" crossing of the Waal River by the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division -- filmed on loaction -- is the most riveting scene in the movie. Also spectacular is the reenactment of the dropping of hundreds of paratroopers over Holland from C-47 Dakotas. The only negative is that the movie can be quite confusing to one who is not familiar with the intricacies of Operation Market Garden. I urge anyone considering viewing the film to first read "Arnhem 1944" by Martin Middlebrook or Cornelius Ryan's above-mentioned book. Some research will help put this complicated military operation into perspective. After you've seen the movie, and if you have the time, money and inclination, take a battlefield tour of Nijmegen and Arnhem (both just an hour-or-so drive from Amsterdam) so you can truly appreciate the sacrifices made by the British, American, and Polish paratroopers depicted in the film nearly 55 years ago.
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54 of 65 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Looks and sounds no better than standard DVD, March 23, 2009
By 
Therese C. (Peachtree City, GA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Bridge Too Far [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Great movie, but I was extremely disappointed with the quality of this Blu-ray version. So my rating is not for the movie itself which I would give between 4 and 5 stars. I give it two stars on the technical quality. The video quality was no better than the standard DVD, which I already own, and the audio might even be worse than the standard DVD. All in All a very poor transfer to Blu-ray, do not waste your money on this version.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars blu ray, November 23, 2010
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This review is from: A Bridge Too Far [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
The acting and photography was great. The blu-ray version at $10.99 is much better than the the dvds - there are no artifacts and video is sharp. The dvds are grainy. Of course the opening scenes cut from old sources are grainy, etc. But once you get to the movie itself the sound and picture are great. The story is excellent as others have said. I wish other blu-ray versions were just as good. For example, French Connection II blu-ray was a bit disappointing because the video was grainy.
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars War on an epic scope, December 5, 2004
This review is from: A Bridge Too Far (DVD)
"A Bridge Too Far" reminds me of an Irwin Allen film. Allen, if you're not familiar with his work, made a bunch of epic disaster films in the 1970s packed to the rafters with big name stars. His "The Swarm" is a schlock classic that every lover of bad cinema should add to their must see list. In the case of "A Bridge Too Far," we're still seeing an all star cast disaster film, but this disaster took place during World War II when the Allies decided to stage a daring paratroop drop behind enemy lines. The idea was to knock Germany out of the war quickly by seizing several key bridges in Holland in quick succession and then send Allied forces directly into the Ruhr Valley, the heart of Germany's industrial base. If everything went according to plan, the Allies felt confident that the war would end by Christmas 1944. It was an audacious plan that ultimately failed due to a number of reasons--including bad weather and a failure to take into account the quality of German troops--and cost thousands of British and American lives. Richard Attenborough decided to make a film about the failed operation in the 1970s; the result is this nearly three hour film. Some people refer to this film as "A Movie Too Long," which I must admit is painfully true in some respects. A recent viewing exposed a number of flaws I missed when I watched this twenty years ago.

Operation Market Garden, the military name for this daring plan formulated by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, sent in the American 82nd and 101st airborne divisions along with the British XXX and 1st airborne to accomplish this complicated task. Unfortunately, military forces were unable to reach the bridge at Arnhem, the bridge too far, that would have led them into Germany. They bogged down instead thanks to a mass of German panzers that prevented British resupply and reinforcements. After nine days the remnants of the British forces pulled out and the operation ended. American troops took heavy casualties as well in their attempts to take a couple of other bridges. This is a short meatball summary of what occurred in Operation Market Garden that I pulled off the Internet in about five minutes. In reality, it's complicated stuff for the layperson to understand, and the movie doesn't make it very easy to follow along once the bullets start flying and the shells start exploding. Yet the film has its compelling points. Just the idea of attempting to recreate such a massive operation is so ambitious as to exhaust anyone even thinking about putting it on film. But Attenborough gives it the old college try. We should admire him for his efforts.

Think about all of the egos Sir Richard had to massage on the various sets. You've got Dirk Bogarde in the role of Lt. General Frederick Browning, the man in charge of setting up the massive operation. Sean Connery pops up as Maj. General Roy Urquhart, and we all know Connery isn't the easiest chap to work with. Edward Fox delivers a "win one for the Gipper" type speech to the troops as Lt. General Brian Horrocks, Elliot Gould overacts as Major Julian Cook, and Jimmy Caan orders a doctor to look at his wounded buddy in a way that would make Alan Alda weep with sympathy. Anthony Hopkins turns in a solid performance as Lt. Colonel John Frost, Laurence Olivier plays Dutch physician Jan Spaander, Robert Redford paddles up a river while taking heavy fire as Major Julian Cook, Michael Caine is Lt. Colonel Joe Vandeleur, and Ryan O'Neal is American Brigadier General James Gavin. My favorite performance comes from Gene Hackman in the role of Polish General Stanislaw Sosabowski. I groaned when I learned about his role beforehand, but Hackman does a great job playing a Pole. He's one of the few guys involved in the operation actually questioning the wisdom of what's going on. And his men eventually take casualties too when they attempt a night crossing over a river. Irwin Allen, eat your heart out!

"A Bridge Too Far" has some excellent battle reenactments. I have several favorites. The exchange between German tank and artillery placements with the Allies on the road to Arnhem is fantastic. They even send in a few planes to drop some bombs! When you listen to this on DVD with a great sound system, prepare to stuff some cotton in your ears. The British attempts to repulse the German tanks rolling in over that bridge look pretty darn good as well. I sure as heck wouldn't want to be that chap strolling across the bridge armed with an umbrella. That scene where the British soldier runs out to retrieve a supply pod dropped by a plane only to fall when struck by a sniper's bullet is one of many scenes that helps keep the film from losing emotional perspective. Aside from the combat sequences, I also appreciated the film's portrayal of the German side of the campaign. Instead of falling back on the old cinematic standby of showing any German in World War II as a raging megalomaniac, the movie tries to present a fair picture of how they countered the Allied attack.

Hmmm. Looking back at what I've written, I guess I have to say I enjoyed the film more than I thought. I'm still going to deduct a star for what I feel was a failure on the part of Attenborough to tighten the film through rigorous editing. I suspect he worried endlessly about what to leave in and what to leave on the cutting room floor since the omission of even one or two scenes could have thrown the whole film into confusion. But some stuff should have gone out the window. Too bad we only get a trailer as an extra...
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They don't get better than this, November 23, 1999
This review is from: A Bridge Too Far [VHS] (VHS Tape)
An all star cast, great acting, REAL German actors instead of Americans butchering the German language pretending to be German, historically accurate, no goofy romance subplots, ground assaults, airborne assaults, the Dutch resistance, and no "all Germans are evil Nazis bent on killing everyone" propaganda.
What more can you ask for?
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great film, bad DVD, May 26, 2006
By 
Jordan M. Poss (South Carolina, United States) - See all my reviews
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A Bridge Too Far has been one of my favorite films for a long time. It was the first more-or-less realistic war movie I saw as a kid and has held its own against more modern movies ever since, giving up its spot at the top of my list only to titles like Saving Private Ryan. That said, I was dissatisfied with the old DVD release, and looked forward to this special edition as a chance to get a better transfer of the film.

No such luck. The picture quality vacillates between decent, acceptable, and unforgivably hazy. Some scenes look like a badly compressed JPEG image, and others look as though someone had just breathed on the lens (not a problem in my old VHS release, which still manages to look better than this DVD). The special features are nice, especially the interviews with Richard Attenborough, but then again, I didn't buy A Bridge Too Far for the special features, did I?

Still waiting, patiently, for a better transfer.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE Consumate War Film of World War Two!, June 21, 2000
By 
Barron Laycock "Labradorman" (Temple, New Hampshire United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Bridge Too Far (DVD)
This, friends, is a gigantic and extremely well-done big budget war film detailing the disastrous September 1944 Allied attempt to break out of the deadlock in France, and thereby dramatically shorten the winning of the Second World War. Operation Market-Garden, the brainchild of British Field-Marshall Montgomery was a very risky attempt to pull a large daylight airborne lightning raid on several bridges in the Netherlands and by capturing and holding them, provide the Allies with a superhighway into the German heartland. It stars Sean Connery, Dirk Bogarde, Gene Hackman, Michael Caine, and Anthony Hopkins in central roles.
Of course, everything goes wrong, and the viewer is immediately sucked into the absorbing drama associated with the individual men and women caught in the trap of circumstance and history. It is an entertaining objective study in the ways in which military egos and subjective interests of the military hierarchy doom the individual soldiers in a desperate and vainglorious attempt to prove themselves correct. The film fairly accurately depicts the way in which these individual egos persist in prosecuting this military action regardless of a number of warnings (and intelligence evidence) that the strength of German forces in the area were in actuality much larger and formative than the British hierarchy wanted to believe.
The film is well worth watching, and is star-studded. Like another interesting war film , The Longest Day, it used the old Hollywood contract system to get everyone from Robert Redford to James Caan to Lawrence Olivier to Elliot Gould small parts in the enterprise. Hard to picture Redford getting wasted, and to some extent this small criticism probably overstates the only bad news about this brilliantly filmed true tale that is well acted, well scripted, and very believable. So relax, amigo, because this is a wonderful if a bit sobering and accurate depiction of the unpredictable fate of men at war, and is a entertaining way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon learning more about the duties, obligations, and frailties of ordinary men caught in the politics, desperation and extraordinary circumstances called war. Enjoy!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review of the single disc blu-ray, June 16, 2012
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This review is from: A Bridge Too Far [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
The blu-ray single disc version of A BRIDGE TOO FAR is one of the best examples of why I believe it is a mistake for Amazon to lump all reviews together of a film no matter which format of that film the viewer is referring to. I realize they have tried to minimize the problem by putting a link at the head of the review in order to distinguish which version the review is from, but sometimes the prospective buyer may have to wade through several pages in order to get the information he or she needs. And I also understand that separating the reviews will not guarantee that reviewers will include all the useful information that the buyer is looking for - there are always reviews that only deal with the entertainment value of the film and ignore technical aspects of the product. I often do it myself, but in the case of a film like BRIDGE, which has been around for 35 years, people are much more likely to be interested in the details concerning the different formats rather than a summary of the film.

Okay, end rant. I dislike starting off a review complaining about Amazon's policies, but in this case, it seems more frustrating than usual. Had I a chance to read all the reviews concerning this edition of the film, I may have opted for something different. But as there are 240 reviews of this film, I only scrolled through a few of the 24 pages before deciding to buy. Since I didn't see anything that really bashed the format I went ahead and pulled the trigger and bought.

Visually, I think the film holds up well in comparison to other films from this era which have been transferred to blu. I don't have the DVD version to compare it to, but I have to wonder if a good up-convertor wouldn't minimize the difference between formats to make the difference negligible for most viewers. There was certainly still grain in the version I watched, though I thought the night scenes stood out well, and I'm pleased with the way the film looked overall. Having said that, I also have to admit that, to me, film grain is not a big deal. in fact, under certain circumstances, I can accept a wide-range of imperfections in the film stock. A BRIDGE TOO FAR, or at least this edition, was more than acceptable to me in all regards.

A quick note about the audio - as another reviewer mentioned, several times during breaks in the dialog, the film's theme, or a variation thereof, swelled out of the background to the foreground at a inordinately high level. I had to jump for the remote several times to turn it down, and then up again when people were talking. Not so much that it was a deal breaker, but certainly was annoying.

My biggest complaint with the format is that there are no special features included except for the trailer. None of the extras listed on the collector's edition DVD, nothing specific to this blu-ray, nothing. I find it hard to believe that with the expanded room on a blu-ray dis that no one was able to squeeze these extras on to the primary disc. Perhaps it isn't possible - but buyer beware, all you are going to get here is the movie itself. For the price, that may be an acceptable trade-off, but I have to wonder why it was done that way in the first place. Is there such a demand for this film that the makers of the blu-ray thought they could make the buyers double dip and buy another collector's edition in blu later on? Seems doubtful to me. For whatever reason, it is what it is, and all you get with this format is the film and a few trailers.

As for the film itself - well, they don't make 'em like this anymore. There's a certain style about this film that places it firmly within the time frame it was made, especially with its all-star cast and singleness of purpose. Stuffing as many familiar faces into a film as possible, and then highlighting the fact seems ripe for parody now, and most war films nowadays aren't so much interested in bringing the relative facts of the campaign to the screen as they are making the film act as commentary on race relations, the human condition, or, worst of all, drumming up support for the filmmaker's agenda. While some of the blockbusters from this time really show their age, A BRIDGE TOO FAR, on the other hand, makes the most of the style. Other than the fact that it can be a little distracting every time I notice another familiar face ('hey, isn't that John Ratzenberger?'), everyone here contributes, and even if Gene Hackman is a little over the top as the film's pathos pivot, and Dirk Bogarde is almost as distasteful here as in THE NIGHT PORTER, and Ryan O'Neal can't act his way out of a wet paper bag, the acting chores are so spread out that none of these flaws have a chance to sink the film. Standouts are Anthony Hopkins, Sean Connery, and James Caan of all people.

It was also refreshing to me to watch a war film that was dedicated to portraying the events as accurately and even-handed as possible. There is very little subtext to this film, no shoe-horning in of causes or bending over backwards to make sure the PC boxes are all checked (other than perhaps the universal idea that War is Hell). As far as authenticity goes, I'm not an expert who is able to pick out inconsistencies , but I did notice that several of the men who actually were in the battle were listed as advisors to the film. That surely counts for something.

The film's biggest failing is probably its script. This had to have been an enormously difficult story to tell - actually, I think director Attenburough does an excellent job getting the information out in a lucid and relatively simple manner. The problem - the trade-off, if you will - is that the first 40 minutes of the film is nothing but talking about the operation to follow. Yet understanding the strategy behind operation Market Garden is critical to understanding the film - otherwise there is the danger of its falling into a hopeless jumble of people moving about for no discernible reason. The plan is to airlift 30,000 men behind enemy lines where they will secure three separate areas and the bridges contained therein. British tanks will meanwhile race up the 62 miles between the front line and the farthest bridge, securing the gains, and giving the allies an easy route into Germany, and the German industrial areas. And the war would be over by Christmas.

It can be difficult at times to know which fellow belongs to which group assigned to do what task, but most of the pieces seem to sort themselves out well enough by film's end. And I think it was actually a rather remarkable ending for the type of film it was - almost art-house in its images. All together, I think this is a very enjoyable film, and while it may not be as powerful as it was when it was first released, it hasn't lost all its effectiveness. Combined with a rather rousing score by John Addison, A BRIDGE TOO FAR is definitely recommended for fans of WWII films and war films in general, though depending on your interest, this may not be the best format to invest in. After watching the film, I immediately looked for what special features were available, and I have to say that, even for the bargain price I paid for the film, I was disappointed that there wasn't anything there. Four stars for the film, and despite my complaints, for the format as well - audio and visual were quite good, and if one is aware of the lack of special features they can decide whether this version fits THEIR needs. I do think Amazon should do a better job advertising the details of the product though.
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A Bridge Too Far [Blu-ray]
A Bridge Too Far [Blu-ray] by Sir Richard Attenborough (Blu-ray - 2008)
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