The Bridge Screen 5 articles

The Bridge


The Bridge Poster
  • Although this 1959 film was based on a real incident, some of the characters are too schematic and plotting is contrived in places. Even so, director Bernhard Wicki's precise and gripping staging of the final battle brings the tragedy of war sickeningly alive.

  • Most of the conflicts are too banal to warrant the amount of attention they receive... This all becomes nearly irrelevant, however, once The Bridge finally reaches the bridge. Its last 45 minutes constitute a single sustained, relentlessly intense battle sequence, as the clueless septet valiantly tries to defend a structure that their own side wants destroyed.

  • The Austrian director Bernhard Wicki’s feature-film debut, The Bridge is a riveting drama that tells a relatively simple yet poignant story of a group of seven German schoolboys who, conscripted into the German army during the desperate final days of World War II, are assigned to defend the titular structure as the Allied army advances towards their village.

  • Wicki plots the film as a virulent anti-war statement, but there's nothing superficial or polemical about his aims; he allows the events to unfold with an internal logic that, while tragic and coincidental in the case of why the boys are left alone to guard a bridge, attempts to depict a firefight with the rousing excitement often found in more patriotic war films, only altered by the knowledge that, indeed, these _are_ just boys staring down the barrel of a gun.

  • Although the movie’s style doesn’t change radically, the way the characters look does, and Wicki is patient enough to allow that alteration to simply sink in to the viewer’s consciousness, one small bit of wrongness to prepare the way for the greater wrongs to follow.

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