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The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954)

William Holden , Grace Kelly , Mark Robson  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: William Holden, Grace Kelly, Fredric March, Mickey Rooney, Robert Strauss
  • Directors: Mark Robson
  • Writers: James A. Michener, Valentine Davies
  • Producers: George Seaton, William Perlberg
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: May 22, 2001
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005ASGA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,556 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Bridges at Toko-Ri" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Set during the Korean War, a Navy fighter pilot must come to terms with with his own ambivalence towards the war and the fear of having to bomb a set of highly defended bridges. The ending of this grim war drama is all tension.

A powerful study of courage in the face of irrational odds, The Bridges at Toko-Ri (based on James Michener's novel) is no less patriotic than many other war films, but it dispenses with gung-ho bluster to focus instead on the very real and tragic consequences of war. This is also one of the first films to openly criticize the morality of the Korean War while praising the honor and integrity of the men who fought it. Lt. Harry Brubaker (William Holden) is one of those men, with one difference: A lawyer with a loving wife (Grace Kelly) and two young daughters, he's been recalled to duty from the Navy Reserve, and reluctantly accepts his mission to fly with a bomber-jet squadron over one of the Communists' most heavily protected targets--the strategically vital bridges in the Korean canyon of Toko-Ri.

Brubaker has his own noble protection, from his fellow pilots (including Charles McGraw in a fine supporting role), his admiring admiral (Frederic March), and from the helicopter scouts (Mickey Rooney and Earl Holliman) who've saved his life on previous missions. But his ambivalence--and his fear that the Toko-Ri mission will be his last--is what gives the film its potent emotional impact. Holden is perfect in his role, and director Mark Robson steadfastly avoids any false sentiment or macho theatrics that would diminish the film's devastating climax. The Bridges at Toko-Ri is also a superlative showcase for Naval operations; the aerial sequences earned an Oscar for special effects, and complete Navy cooperation assures total authenticity in the "flat-top" aircraft carrier scenes. For these and other reasons, this will remain a timeless classic for anyone seeking to comprehend the emotional maelstrom of warfare. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
88 of 88 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Of Individual Sacrifice and Courage May 18, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
The Korean War is the setting for "The Bridges At Toko-Ri," a story of individual sacrifice and the high cost of freedom, from director Mark Robson. Navy fighter-pilot Harry Brubaker (William Holden), a veteran of World War II, is called to serve again when the conflict in Korea escalates, which takes him away from his wife, Nancy (Grace Kelly), two young children and a successful law practice. When his plane goes down after a mission, into the sea just short of the carrier, he survives; but he bitterly questions the fairness of what he has been asked to do, while everyone back home is able to go on with the routine of their lives, uninterrupted. Rear Admiral George Tarrant (Fredric March), a man who has had his own share of personal tragedy (he looks upon Brubaker as the son he has lost to the war, himself), tells Brubaker it's a matter of distance; we do this because we're here; back home they're only doing just as you would be doing if you were there. When Brubaker is granted shore leave, strings are pulled, and arrangements are made for Nancy and the children to join him; a brief respite, after which he must return to face his most formidable challenge yet, flying against the bridges that span the canyons at Toko-Ri. Very probably a suicide mission, it is nevertheless believed that knocking out these particular bridges could bring about a turning point in the war, and Lieutenant Brubaker is called upon once again to play a pivotal roll in deciding the outcome. An excellent supporting cast ably brings to life the characters that infuse this drama with humanity. Mickey Rooney is unforgettable as Mike Forney, the fighting, Irish helicopter pilot who fishes Brubaker out of the sea when his plane crashes. Read more ›
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book makes a great movie...even in 1954... June 14, 2001
I read this book when it first appeared in "Life" magazine and later reread it several times. I consider Michener's novel to be among the very best I've ever read and highly recommend it. It follows that Hollywood should (would)jump at the chance to adapt this short novel into a great anti-war film. As I remember the story, the film pretty much follows Michener's plot, with at least one notable exception that doesn't detract from the story's theme and impact. A strong cast, led by William Holden adds to the film's overall quality. Holden simply is outstanding as Lt. Harry Brubaker, a reserve World War II pilot called back to fly against the North Koreans and Chinese. But the supporting players, including Frederic March, Mickey Rooney, Robert Strauss and Charles McGraw are equally effective at depicting hard-nosed professionals. I only wish the staff and crew that put together the special effects were still around to share their thoughts on the spectacular bombing scenes using miniature sets, planes, etc.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where do we get such men? December 19, 2005
I only tire of the fact that many folks believe this to be an anti war movie. I think it's a war movie. You make your own conclusions. It is possible, I would point out, to not want to go to war, to believe that at this point in our lives as a nation we should have figured out how to avoid it, without labeling movies as "Gung Ho" or anti war. We don't seem to be able to do that, regrettably, so To Ko Ri becomes that much more poignant.

The other area I wrinkle my brow at is the Grace Kelly role. Seems wasted, unecessary. We already know that Harry Brubaker is a decent guy and we don't need carefully angled shots of Grace's not-so-modest bosom to reveal to us that yes, she's a babe and Brubaker loves her.

But the rest of the movie is a portrait of what men and women do at war from 'This Band of Brothers' which is an unbelievably brilliant story by Spielberg and Hanks of the landing/drop at Normandy through Jim Brady's chronicles of Korea to Vietnam to Iraq. They do jobs. The chopper drivers, the CAG, Admiral Tarant, 'Paddles,' it's men and women at work.

The final scene is not a Hollywood ending but it is a real ending. Absolutely brilliant. That there is so much knowledge, compassion and understanding over this forgotten war by the Amazon reviewers and on the Internet impacted somewhat by this movie 52 years later, is a credit to those who saw service there and Michner's excellent novel. I saw this movie as a child. It still puts tears in my eyes. 5 stars. Not enough. Larry Scantlebury
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This is a spectacular cast with a good story about a war that is largely forgotten today. William Holden flies from his carrier against the feared bridges despite his fears and misgivings. Holden is effective in conveying that his charater, Brubaker, doubts his chances for survival, especially when crounching in a mud filled trench awaiting for rescue by Mickey Rooney a second time. The first happened after ditching at sea when his jet's engine failed. Grace Kelley provides another reason for his hatred for the war and how it is disrupting his family life and legal practice in Denver. Earlier in the film Federick March reminds him that US Forces in Korea are the point of the spear providing security to the folks at home during the Cold War--now hotter. Mikey Rooney asks Holden when he too crashes in a rescue attempt, "Why us." Holden replies, "because we are here." As the film ends, March wonders where do we get such men.
This has well done flying scenes, excellent special effects, and a distinct but muted anti-war message. Adults will especially enjoy the maturity of the scipt. See it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great action shots of naval aircraft and ships
One of my all time favorite movies. What could be a better movie than a naval aviator called back to
Duty from a great civilian job (law firm) during the Korean War. Read more
Published 15 days ago by ron drummond
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good movie
Published 18 days ago by Edward F. Brown
4.0 out of 5 stars A small classic
A taught classic. Holden shows why he was chosen to play these parts - mature and direct - the kind of guy you would want as a leader.
Published 24 days ago by mgslade
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Simply classic.
Published 1 month ago by Holly Heatly
4.0 out of 5 stars Mixed reaction
I personally couldn't get fully engaged in this story for some reason, but Holden is fantastic as always, the action scenes are OK, and it's never a waste of time to look at Grace... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Peter F.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good
Published 2 months ago by Lucien Dionne
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Wonderful movie with 2 amazing actors.
Published 2 months ago by Carolyn Hibbs
5.0 out of 5 stars Action from a forgotton War.
A wonderful flic about a mostly forgotten war. Many of the folks who fought in that so called police action had already served our country in WW2, then they were recalled to fight... Read more
Published 2 months ago by K. Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars like visiting with and old friend
Old movie I had seen visiting with and old friend. I may be a little weird but I do it with good books to...going to have to have a bigger house
Published 2 months ago by Keith Lawhon
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great actors and beautiful cinematography!
Great movie for the Korean war student.
Published 2 months ago by Shadawick
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