A Bridge Too Far is the 1977 World War II film based on the 1974 bestselling book by Cornelius Ryan and was directed by Sir Richard Attenborough. Featuring an all-star cast, the film follows the events surrounding Operation Market Garden, an audacious military plan to end the war in Europe by landing Allied paratroopers along a series of bridges in Holland in order to allow an armored column to pass into Germany.

In the film there is a galaxy of well-known actors who show excellent acting and the individual personalities of individual officers. The film shows the war as a struggle of personalities, we see the contrast between war as seen from behind the ordnance maps, and the fight on the front lines. Besides fully shows the role of commanders, their initiative, initiative, courage, often risking although many lives, but in order to save them many times more. Since the beginning of the sense and the success of the stock Market Garden was questionable and it was quickly confirmed. The film was based on facts - this military operation actually took place in 1944 and ended in failure. It is a very good war film, with attention to realism and perfectly played.

The ensemble cast includes Dirk Bogarde, Ryan O'Neal, James Caan, Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Edward Fox, Elliott Gould, Anthony Hopkins, Gene Hackman, Hardy Krüger,Laurence Olivier, Robert Redford, Maximilian Schell and Liv Ullmann.


  1. The parachutes used by the troopers are equipped with anti-inversion nets. They are around the skirt of the canopy to prevent partial malfunctions. The nets were not developed until the mid 1970s, shortly before the movie was filmed.

The parachutes in the film are the PX 1 Mark 2 with fringes that were introduced much later

  1. There is a close-up of a parachutist's boot as he leaves the aircraft. It is a DMS boot. DMS boots were not issued to the army until much, much later. Late sixties, early seventies as I recall.
  1. There is a German tank featured in several scenes. This tank is actually a German-made, post-war tank named "Leopard I" with a few modifications to look like a German Panzer V Panther tank of the World War II era. Given that the Leopard I is actually an offspring/based on the Panzer V this is a good choice. Although the turret and the cannon are changed and there are different skirts, the Leopard is very recognizable by it's specific exhaust grill and back. In the other hand, 1951 Chrysler M47 "Patton" are used by Allies.

1965 Krauss-Maffei Leopard

1951 Chrysler M47 Patton

  1. Sgt. Eddie Dohun (James Caan) readies his M1 Carbine. The M1 Carbine is a Post World War II variant with a bayonet lug and an adjustable rear sight.

  1. German Panzer Grenadier (wearing anachronistic West German 1960s experimental Camo pattern) aims his MG34.

  1. The C-47s are shown with steel collapsible chocks that were in use in the RAF from about 1960 onwards. In WWII all chocks were made of wood.
  1. During the arrival of Allied troops in Eindhoven, some members of the cheering crowd can be seen waving miniature 50-star American flags.
  1. In the "meeting of the generals" scene early in the movie, a cold-war-era map of Europe and the Middle East can be seen. Clearly visible is the German-Polish border at the post-WW2 Oder-Neisse line (though no inner-German border), Austria separated from Germany, a post-WW2 Czechoslovakia, the West Bank occupied by Jordan, and Gaza strip occupied by Egypt.

  1. While the lighting on the Arnhem Bridge may be contemporary with the 1944 setting, that on the Nijmegen bridge is far closer to the mid-1970s shooting.
  1. (at around 2h 10 mins) When the German Field Marshall is talking to his subordinate officer overlooking the bridge, silhouettes of modern vehicles can be seen crossing the bridge from a distance.
  1. During shots of Nijmegen, the tower of the Sint Stevenschurch is standing tall. In fact the tower was destroyed by an American bombing off Nijmegen in February 1944. It was not put back on the church until the late sixties. The opening of the renewed tower was in 1969.
  1. In a scene in a town on the rooftops as the British fight the Nazis, we see that the townsfolk were truly ahead of their times as they nearly all have television antennas.

Audio/visual unsynchronised

  1. When Lt. Col. J.O.E Vandeleur is riding in the car talking to the officer who is driving, you can see in one far away view that their lips are not moving, but you still hear them talking.

Character error

  1. When Gen. Bittrich sees all the paratroopers coming down, here says something like "Just once to have such power in my hands." However, in the C. Ryan's book it is German paratrooper expert Gen. Student that makes that statement.


  1. When the boats finally arrive to cross the river at Nijmegen bridge, there is water in them, even though they've been transported for days in trucks in rain-free weather. (Probably a result of previous takes.)

  1. When General Horrocks is on the stairs of a factory and uses binoculars to look at his tanks, he covers one lens with his fingers while looking thru the binoculars. On a second shot, it looks OK.
  1. At the beginning of the film when the American and British officers are talking, the general's epaulets are on top of his coat collar. A minute later, as the general walks around the table, the epaulets are under his coat collar.
  1. Halfway through the movie, James Caan drives his jeep to escape Nazi brigades and brings his wounded comrade to the hospital. He is wearing full dress, with jacket. After he holds the doctor at gunpoint to "check" his friend, the scene switches outside where he is smoking a cigarette without the jacket, then flashes back with him wearing the jacket.

  1. When they're building the Bailey bridge to replace the destroyed Son bridge, work continues into the night. Cut to scene of a soldier waiting for them to complete the bridge - in daylight. Cut back to the continuing work on the bridge - it's dark again.
  1. After the scene where a British soldier is killed trying to recover supplies, a C-47 is seen crashing with a smoking engine. After the crash, look carefully at the explosion and you can see the airplane winging away.

Factual errors

  1. In the opening monologue, the unidentified woman states that in 1944, before D-Day, the Second World War was in its fifth year and "still going Hitler's way". In reality, long before D-Day Germany had already suffered crushing defeats on the Eastern Front at the hands of the Soviet Union, at Stalingrad in the winter of 1943, and at Kursk in the summer of 1943. It had also been kicked out of North Africa by the Western Allies. Thus, by mid-1943 Hitler and Nazi Germany were already well on their way to ultimate defeat.
  1. Major Cook's (Robert Redford) hair extends below the rear edge of his helmet. This is longer than was allowed by U.S. Army World War II regulations.

  1. In the film, a group of British paratroops kill or disperse the resting crew of a German tank outside the row house where General Urquhart and his aide are hiding, thus allowing him to return to his headquarters. In reality, Urquhart and his aide just hid and waited for the German tank to move on, which it did without any gun play or contact with the British paratroops.
  1. When Ludwig is speaking to a subordinate about blowing the bridge about to be assaulted by the 82nd, the subordinate refers to a "Hauptmann", the German word for captain. In the SS, the rank would be "Hauptsturmführer." Likewise, when he answers Ludwig, he calls him "General". Ludwig is listed in the cast as a Major General, but the equivalent SS rank would have been Brigadeführer. In the film, Ludwig's collar tab has 3 oak leafs and 1 pip which stands for Gruppenführer (General Lieutenant), even though his rank is that of a Brigadeführer.

  1. The 82d Airborne Division's Command Post during the operation was never located in an estate mansion as portrayed in the movie. The CP was in the woods outside Nijmegen near the drop zones.
  1. The bomb placed as shown would never collapse the entire bridge, because although it's directly under the road surface, it's 80 ft under the apex of the steel arch, the strongest part of the structure, which would remain intact after the bomb goes off. The bomb would have virtually no effect. The best the explosives could achieve where they're shown would be to disrupt the road surface.
  1. Operation Market Garden began on Sunday, 17 Sept. 1944; in the movie, Gen. Browning correctly refers to a Sunday departure in the initial briefing, and later we see a church service disrupted by the aircraft passing overhead. But on the morning of the departure, we see on Col. Frost's bedside table a calendar with all the days crossed off until the 17th... which is a Tuesday on that calendar. Furthermore, the calendar clearly shows a 31-day month, obviously not September.

  1. Brigadier General James Gavin's (Ryan O'Neal) insignia of rank is incorrectly displayed on his "Ike" jacket. Brigadier Generals wear the star positioned at the middle of the epaulets rather than at the outer edge as do officers in the grade of Lieutenants through Colonel.
  1. German tank shown in the movie is painted in light gray, with the balkenkreuz insignia on either side of the turret. German tanks were never painted light gray. Early in the war and in the Europe theater of operations, tanks and other vehicles were painted dark gray, sometimes with a dark brown camouflage. From 1943 onwards, tanks and other vehicles were painted dark yellow, with dark green and/or red brown camouflage, in patterns specific to each fighting unit.
  1. German tanks also never had balkenkreuz insignias on the turret sides, but always on the hull sides and sometimes on the hull rear.

  1. The subtitles when Field Marshall Rundstedt is speculating between General Patton and Field Marshall Montgomery near the beginning of the film once misspell "Patton" as "Patten". Later usages correctly spell "Patton".
  1. As the first British paratroopers are assembling, there are wide angle shots of activity. Most of the paratroopers are carrying the correct rifles, machine pistols or other weapons, but a few can be spotted carrying American M1 Garand rifles that were rarely used by British or Commonwealth forces. Later in the movie, as the tide turns and the British paratroopers have surrendered, German soldiers crossing a small foot bridge to the British command post can be briefly seen carrying M1s as well. M1s were issued to a small percentage of Commonwealth airborne troopers to increase the rifle fire-power of squads. Photos of Canadian airborne troops verify this.
  1. In many of the scenes, German Mauser rifles do not have cleaning rods. However, judging from archive footage, almost all Mauser rifles used by the Germans during World War II had cleaning rods attached. Many weapons dealers sell World War II surplus rifles without cleaning rods because they are welded into the barrel as part of the deactivation process, hence why they're missing. Still a mistake though.
  1. Most of the C-47 aircraft in the movie are incorrectly painted a yellowish-brown. The actual color would have been olive drab.

  1. The shots of an air-strike on German artillery positions during the first armour encounter have used the Harvard aircraft (also known as T-6 Texans). However these were only used as advanced trainers by the Allied forces and never used in combat in the European theatre. One could assume from the theatrical paint jobs that the production team were attempting to disguise them as P47 Thunderbolts.

  1. According to the book 'A Bridge Too Far', it was Model, not Von Rundstedt, who suggested sending Bittrich's panzers to Arnhem.
  1. When von Rundstedt is deciding where to send his armoured reserves in order to rest them before meeting the expected attack by Patton rather than Montgomery he decides to send them to Arnhem. The map counter which is moved clearly shows "II SS Panzer Div (division)" when the correct name of the unit at Arnhem was the II SS Panzer Corps (consisting of the 9th and 10th SS Panzer Divisions). The 2nd SS Panzer Division at that time was fighting on the Eastern Front.
  1. The shot of a tank wreck being pushed off the road following the first tank battle shows a Chaffee light tank, which was only used by the Americans and not the British. Anyway, it was first used in Europe in November 1944 after Operation Market Garden took place.

1944 Cadillac M24 Chaffee

  1. After the initial attempt by XXX Corps to break out, there is a scene of a wrecked M24 Chaffee being pushed of the road. There is also a burning M10 Tank destroyer among the wrecks. Not only are these vehicles not visible in the initial advance or fighting scenes, but neither were used by the British Army. The M10 might pass for a 17Pdr gunned Achillies.

1942 Fisher M10 'Wolverine

  1. The Waffen SS soldiers throughout the movie are wearing the wrong uniforms. By 1944, most Waffen SS soldiers should be wearing half or full camouflage. Their helmets also shouldn't have the swastika on it, and many should also have been camouflaged.
  1. When the tank corps is shown before leaving, the village is refered to as Leopoldsville. It was in fact the Belgian village of Leopoldsburg. It's shown on the map as Bourg Leopold (which is the correct French name). Leopoldville was the capital of the Belgian Congo which is now called Kinshasa.


  1. (at around 2h 10 mins) When the German Field Marshall is talking to his subordinate officer overlooking the bridge, silhouettes of modern vehicles can be seen crossing the bridge from a distance.

Revealing mistakes

  1. When a damaged Allied cargo plane "crashes" behind some trees near Maj. Gen. Urquhart and his troops, the plane can be seen pulling up and flying away just behind the fireball marking its supposed impact point.
  1. As the Dutch Advisor Harry yells at Gen. Gavin after landing "you all right?" Several men in the background are carrying K98 German rifles instead of M-1 Garands, could be a war trophy but they carry no other rifle, and they just landed and wouldn't have time to get pick one up. In the other hand, German soldiers appear to carry M1 Garand rifles.

German soldiers with M1 Garands

  1. When the British tanks begin advancing onto Nijmegen bridge, there is one shot of a Leopard tank intended to be a Panther - obviously taken from earlier in the film.
  1. General Gavin's (Ryan O'Neal) helmet appears to be a foreign type, not the standard U.S. Model M1 helmet.

  1. When the Allied troops cross the Grave bridge you can clearly see a modern traffic sign on the river bank.

A Bridge Too Far is war film-making at its best, honest, bleak, human and full of the impressive spectacle of armies on the move and the despairing agony of men being destroyed.


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