on September 16, 2002
Sticklers for accurate portrayals of history on screen may find elements to grumble about in this terrific fact-based yarn about the taking of a key bridge into Germany over the Rhine River in early 1945. The cast is a stellar one, with George Segal and Ben Gazzara acting as the dogface principals given the assignment, along with Robert Vaughn as a valiant German officer determined to try to hold the bridge as long as possible to help save thousands of retreating German soldiers, planning to then blow the bridge up rather than letting it fall into Allied hands. Bradford Dillman plays the morally amusical American Army commander so interested in furthering his own ambitions that he routinely and recklessly endangers the welfare and safety of his men. E.G. Marshall plays the commanding general who recognizes the strategic importance of the bridge and tries to do all he can to ensure the Allies succeed in taking it.
For those of us interested in such things, the film does take considerable pains to replicate both the look and the atmosphere of the events that transpired during the final Allied push into Germany, when the 27th Armored infantry attempted to seize and hold the bridge in order to cut off more than 50,000 retreating German troops over the Rhine where they could then regroup to prepare for the battle of Germany in the following months. The Allies knew the taking of the bridge could shorten the war by allowing rapid crossing of the Rhine by large number of Allied troops more forcefully than could be repelled by the retreating Germans. Time was of the essence.
All that said, this is an excellent dramatization of the actual events, although one is left at the end not understanding the bridge eventually collapsed only a few weeks after being taken. Yet by then it had been replaced for both tactical and strategic purposes by many more temporary structures hauled into place by the Army Corps of Engineers. The film is very well done, and provides a quite realistic, gritty and sympathetic portrayal of life as a soldier in the final frantic days, when millions of young Allied soldiers forced their way through the portals into the "Fatherland" to finally end the greatest armed struggle of the 20th century. Enjoy!
on January 20, 2004
Famous movie producer David L. Wolper has created a fine film about the last days of the war in Germany. The Germans were destroying all of their bridges across the Rhine in the hopes of stopping the Allies from crossing into the heart of Germany. However, one bridge still remained; the bridge at Remagen. The Germans wanted to keep this bridge open as long as possible before destroying it so that 75,000 German soldiers on the other side would be able to escape back into Germany. The allies wanted the bridge as a springboard to move troops and vehicles accross the Rhine and attack the heart of Germany. This movie portrays the struggle of the Germans and Americans over the bridge.
George Segal stars as Lieutenant Hartman, a hard-nosed GI who is given the job of securing the bridge for the Americans. Ben Gazzara stars as Sergeant Angelo, Hartman's right hand man. Together, these two Americans rally their troops against the Germans. On the German side, veteran actor Robert Vaughn stars as Major Kruger. He's given the job of holding the bridge open as long as possible to allow the trapped Germans time to retreat back into Germany, then he is to destroy the bridge before it falls into American hands.
The battle scenes are excellent. The scenes of the two sides firing at each other across the river are perhaps the best scenes in the movie. The battle on the bridge is well-done as well, with the scenes of the German soldiers hanging upside down under the bridge placing explosives especially good.
I enjoyed this movie very much. The battle and action scenes are excellent and the acting is very good, too. History and World War II movie fans should enjoy this action packed movie.
on June 10, 2003
The Bridge at Remagen is an excellent World War II movie based on a true story. Set in the closing days of the war, the story is about a battle for the last remaining bridge over the Rhine river. The Americans want it intact so they can cross over into the heart of Germany while the Germans want to blow it up to prevent the Allies a foothold. However, the Major placed in command of the bridge won't blow it up because there are still 50,000 German troops on the other side that will be captured if the bridge is destroyed. This is an excellent movie that shows the battle from both the American and German side. Excellent action sequences and great characters make this a must have. As well, the movie succeeds in showing the chaos on the German side as the Allied forces began to close in late in the war.
George Segal stars as(get this) Lt. Phil Hartman, the leader of the American troops trying to take the bridge intact. He plays the role perfectly as the officer who refuses to see his men massacred in a pointless attack. Ben Gazzara is great as Sergeant Angelo, the soldier who picks valuable items off of dead soldiers for his own profit. Robert Vaughan plays Major Krueger, the German major placed in command of the bridge. He does a great job as the officer trying to buy time for the trapped German divisions. Also starring Bradford Dillman, E.G. Marshall, Peter Van Eyck, and Bo Hopkins. This is an excellent war movie that doesn't shy away from showing all aspects of war. Elmer Bernstein also gives an excellent musical score that at times sounds like The Magnificent Seven or The Great Escape. The DVD is a great buy with a collectible booklet, theatrical trailer, and widescreen presentation all included. Check out this great and true war tale set late in WWII!
on November 18, 2002
I have previously written a review on this movie, but apparantly someone misunderstood what I was trying to say, so I'll reword it.
Basically, as a war historian and one who has been on the ground in Afghanistan during recent campaigns I can tell you that I am no fan of war, just as I am no fan of this movie.
From a filmaking point of view, the characters were unlikeable and the movie totally corrupted the REAL events surrounding the crossing of the river, and the movie would have been better served and so would the veterans if the REAL story were told rather than some contrived plot that wasn't even close to accurate.
The actual events are fascinating and should be read by anyone interested in the war, but watching this movie will leave one with less knowlege of what actually happened to our boys than if it were never viewed.
Historically it is garbage.
on October 24, 2002
I have seen the movie and have been to the "Real" bridge in the
town of Remagen, near Frankfurt, north of Weisbaden Germany.
The movie, although interrupted during shooting, depicts the events as best it could.
The acting was excellent and the set was picked for its
striking ressemblance to the actual bridge.
For those who have actually visited the real bridge and gone
up inside the bridge towers, which is all that remains of the original bridge,
to see actual pictures and read the plagues on the supporting walls, both inside and out, will agree that Hollywood was
very close to the events that took place. A terrific movie worth owning and watching again and again.
on March 12, 2001
Unfortunatily this movie was to say the least, a disapointment. It does not cover many of the events that actually happend at Remagen or the fight for the bridge. It was also unrealistic. First of all, by the time the Germans had counter attacked the Allies were well supplied and moving in more troops by the hour on the hour. The fight was fanatically desperate for the Germans not the Americans. Desperate attacks took place including many artillery barages. The counter attack the Germans attempted failed. The only real fight occured taking the bridge not holding it. If you like action get it. If you like history dont.
on September 26, 2002
I think it is one of the weaker of the WWII films. It does, however, portray an important incident in the defeat of Germany and is valuable from an historical point of view.
My main objection is in the depiction of the American soldiers. They sem to be a surly lot, bickering and throwing digs at each other; but who knows, oerhaps that was the case. The Germans seemed to be a better organized group even though they lost the battle.
But is it nowhere near s bad as "The Battle of the Bulge." That bummer rates a minus five stars.
on March 1, 2003
The capture of "The Bridge at Remagen" is among the highlights of the very late stage of the European war, and I was hoping this film would help get a better appreciation of the actual event itself. In a way, it does, but it's not a docudrama like "The Longest Day." Instead, it's your typical 1960s war picture, reflecting the domestic attitudes of that decade. Here, you see Americans pilfering from dead Germans, rather than giving war-ravaged children Hershey bars. And George Segal's character is difficult to embrace even though he's the film's protagonist. It's not until the very final minutes of the film that you understand that's the way it' supposed to be. These men have been through hell and back and they're very hardened by the experience of war. Unfortunately, you spend nearly two hours with them without finding them very likeable. If you like run-of-the mill war pictures, this will suit you. If you're hoping for a film about this event comparable to "The Longest Day" or "Tora Tora Tora," you'll be a little disappointed.
on April 14, 2002
David L. Wolper's 1969 THE BRIDGE AT REMAGEN closely follows Ken Hechler's best selling acount of the American capture of the railbridge over the Rhine River. The facts and events occuring in the movie are largely factual with actors George Segal, Robert Vaughn and Ben Gazzara adding some fictional depth to the original participants. In fact, the actual names of the real-life combat participants were changed for this film. The latter part of the 1960's and very early 1970's were the golden years for war movies. In those years films like PATTON, TORA,TORA,TORA, M*A*S*H, CATCH 22, THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN and KELLY'S HEROES (To name a few) made names for themselves at box offices. Producer David Wolper, known for the historical accuracy constraints of his productions, undertook THE BRIDGE AT REMAGEN. The Rhine crossing operations were the next logical big screen production. THE LONGEST DAY took care of D-Day. Ken Annakin's 1965 production of THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE had taken on the Ardennes Offensive. The breaching of the Reich's last natural obstacle to the western allies was a logical choice. Teams searched throughout Europe for a site that closely resembled the Remagen area. In the end they found a river in (what was then) Czechoslovakia with a bridge, with set modifications, that resembled the former Ludendorf Bridge in Germany. Additionally, the REMAGEN production team was fortunate in that they were able to film in an evacuated Czech village that was slated for destruction (in order to accomodate strip mining of soft coal). Czech arsenals were full of German weapons and uniforms -- most carefully preserved in the event of a "next" war. Indeed the Czechs still had at their disposal their own version of the German Hanomag half-track. Everything seemed to be going the right way for the film makers. Serious filming began in 1968, but wasn't quite complete before the the Warsaw Pact's 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia. Before filming was completed the film crew was forced to into a convoy out of Czechoslovakia leaving the majority of their props, weapons, uniforms and extras behind. Fortunately the production team was able to complete filming in Italy with the result that there is hardly any noticeable continuity break in the film. Look for some other familiar faces in THE BRIDGE AT REMAGEN such as war film veterans Peter van Ecke (THE LONGEST DAY, ATTACK), Hans Christian Blech (THE LONGEST DAY, THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE), and E.G. Marshall (CHRISTMAS VACATION). The soundtrack was composed by Elmer Bernstein (THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, THE GREAT ESCAPE)and is superbly music for the movie. As war films go, this is one of the better movies about the last months of World War II in Europe.
on February 15, 2002
I've read many of the reviews posted previously about this film, and I'm actually suprised by the wide range of opinions, good and bad. After careful consideration of other arguments I still have to say that this movie is a real STINKER. This film is one of the worst WWII films ever made, really. Despite it's feeble attempt to portray the more "realisitic" battle weary, lassiez-faire attitudes towards the end of the war, the characters remain stiff, overacted, transparent, and just plain stereotypical by today's standards. As usual, the portrayl of the Germans is laughable. Robert Vaughn's (plays the lead German role) forced aristocratic German accent is so bad you find yourself wondering why the producers didn't just cast a German actor (as they did for some of the more competent supporting cast). Ben Gazzara's "Angel" character is just plain ridiculous, and George Segal should have stayed with comedy, because you'll laugh at his authority role, and supposed "apathy" towards almost every event in the film. The conflict set-up between Segal' character and his superior officer (also badly acted) is painful to watch, and I don't mean in the emotional sense. The movie was truly doomed after watching the young actress who was thrown in for <5 minutes simply for meaningless frontal nudity - she should feel very exploited... it's the kind of stuff shoveled in history classes taught by the victors. If you want to see a truly "gritty" war film, try the German perspective, as in "Stalingrad" or "Das Boot," or the Finnish film "Winter War." They're not sappy, overly-patriotic, and won't pull their painful punches, the kind you won't see in relatively older Hollywood films like "The Bridge at Remagen."