Futility and frustration are the overriding emotional elements in A Bridge Too Far, Joseph E. Levine’s sprawling Second World War production [from the novel by Cornelius Ryan] about a 1944 military operation botched by both Allied and German troops.
Film opens with some vintage black and white newsreel footage in original frame ratio, setting up the falls. 1944, attempt to expedite the end of the Second World War by an enormous paratroop operation involving a series of bridges leading to Germany. The first part of the film introduces senior officers Dirk Bogarde, Sean Connery, Gene Hackman, Michael Caine, Anthony Hopkins and Edward Fox as the plans are outlined.
Later, as operations begin, periodic appearances are made by cocky Robert Redford, wise-cracking Elliott Gould, stolid Ryan O’Neal and James Caan. On the other side of hostilities, Hardy Kruger, Maximilian Schell and Wolfgang Priess represent different levels of German military thinking about, and reaction to, the offbeat Allied strategy. In the middle Laurence Olivier and Liv Ullmann are two Dutch residents who attend to the wounded.