A Bridge Too Far (film)

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Operation Market Garden
Whats the best way to take a bridge?
Both ends at once...

A Bridge Too Far is a 1977 epic war film that provides an historic telling of the failed attempt to capture several bridges to Germany in World War II in a campaign called Operation Market-Garden. The film has achieved classic status as it covered the entire operation, from all sides, British, American, German, Polish and Dutch.

Directed by Richard Attenborough. Written by William Goldman, based on the novel by Cornelius Ryan.
Out of the sky comes the screen's most incredible spectacle of men and war!

Dialogue[edit]

Corp. Hancock: Sir.
[Offers mug of tea]
Maj. Gen. Urquhart: Hancock. I've got lunatics laughing at me from the woods. My original plan has been scuppered now that the jeeps haven't arrived. My communications are completely broken down. Do you really believe any of that can be helped by a cup of tea?
Corp. Hancock: Couldn't hurt, sir.
[Urquhart accepts his mug of tea]

Generalfeldmarschall Model's aide: Field Marshal, pardon me for interrupting, but ... British paratroops have apparently landed ... three kilometres from here.
Generalfeldmarschall Walther Model: Why should they do that? There is nothing valuable here. ... Me! I am valuable here. They have all come just to capture me. [stands from his lunch and moves to the door] Get my driver and car.
Generalfeldmarschall Model's aide: Yes, Herr Marshal!
Generalfeldmarschall Walther Model: Evacuate my headquarters!
Generalfeldmarschall Model's aide: Yes, sir!
Generalfeldmarschall Walther Model: [pops back in and shouts] And don't forget my cigars!

(literal transation of the spoken German text)


Brig. Gen. Gavin: What's the best way to take a bridge?
Maj. Julian Cook: Both ends at once.
Brig. Gen. Gavin: I'm sending two companies across the river by boat. I need a man with very special qualities to lead.
Maj. Julian Cook: Go on, sir.
Brig. Gen. Gavin: He's got to be tough enough to do it and he's got to be experienced enough to do it. Plus one more thing. He's got to be dumb enough to do it... Start getting ready.
U.S. captain: What was all that about, Major?
Maj. Julian Cook: Well, someone's come up with a real nightmare. Real nightmare.

Maj. Julian Cook:I have just been informed that our Nine' O'Clock arrival has been postponed until ten, so you can all have an extra hour of fun and relaxation.
U.S. lieutenant:Major, we got any more information on those boats?
Maj. Julian Cook:I have been reliably informed that they float. Outside of that we don't know squat. Not how many, not how heavy, not how big. We are sure that the river is wide and the current is strong and if there is any more cheery information that comes along I'll just be too happy to pass it along. In the meantime just think of this as on the job training.

Maj. Julian Cook: [reporting another delay to his officers] Ah, I suppose you're wondering why I called you here. I want to tell you that I've decided to cross the river like George Washington; standing in the prow of the boat.



Brig. Gen. James Gavin: So that's it. We're pulling them out. It was Nijmegen.
Lt. Col. J.O.E. Vandeleur: It was the single road getting to Nijmegen.
Lt. Gen. Horrocks: No, it was after Nijmegen.
Lt. Gen. Frederick "Boy" Browning: And the fog, in England.
Maj. Gen. Stanislaw Sosabowski: Doesn't matter what it was. When one man says to another, "I know what let's do today, let's play the war game."... everybody dies.
Only the weather can stop us now...

Lt. Gen. Horrocks: [briefing his XXX Corps officers on Operation Market Garden] Gentlemen, this is a story that you shall tell your grandchildren, and mightily bored they'll be. [the officers laugh] The plan is called "Operation Market Garden". "Market" is the airborne element, and "Garden", the ground forces. That's us. [points to a map behind him of Holland, showing the positions of the Allied forces, and the path the Corps will take] Now, this is our position on the Belgian border, here. Tomorrow, three airborne divisions will begin landing in Holland. 35,000 men taking off from 24 airfields in troop-carrying planes or towed in gliders. The American 101st, here, around Eindhoven, the American 82nd, here, south of Nijmegen, and our own 1st airborne boys, and a Polish brigade, here, at Arnhem, 64 miles behind enemy lines. Now, their job is to take and hold all the bridges in these three areas. Our job is to punch a hole through the German front line, here, and then drive like hell up this road, linking up with each airborne division on the way. Speed is the vital factor. The plan is to reach Eindhoven in two to three hours, and Arnhem in two to three days. That, gentlemen, is the prize - the bridge over the Rhine, the last bridge between us and Germany. Kickoff will be at 1435 hours tomorrow afternoon. The Irish Guards under the command of Colonel Vandeleur, will take the lead.
Lt. Col. J.O.E. Vandeleur: [whispering to his cousin/aide] Christ, not us again.
Lt. Gen. Horrocks: What do you say to that, Joe?
Lt. Col. J.O.E. Vandeleur: [getting up from his chair] Uh, delighted, sir. Truly delighted.
[the officers erupts in laughter again as Horrocks smiles. Vandeleur sits back down]
Lt. Gen. Horrocks: Now, I've selected you to lead us not only because of your extraordinary fighting ability, but also because - in the unlikely event that the Germans ever get you, they will assume from your attire that they've captured a wretched peasant, and immediately send you on your way.
[the corps laughs at Horrocks' comments; Vandeleur smiles]
Lt. Gen. Horrocks: Now, maintaining the speed of our advance will no doubt be tough going, as it's a single highway. But no matter what, we must reach those 1st airborne boys in 48 hours. Now, gentlemen, I'm not saying that this will be the easiest party that we've ever attended, but I still wouldn't miss it for the world. [pauses] I'd like to think of this as one of those American western films. The paratroops, lacking substantial equipment, always short of food - these are the besieged homesteaders, the Germans, well naturally, they're the bad guys, and XXX Corps, we my friends, are the cavalry, on the way to the rescue.
[the room bursts into applause]
Gentlemen, this is a story that you shall tell your grandchildren...

Lt. Gen. Frederick Browning: Only the weather can stop us now.
Maj. Gen. Stanislaw Sosabowski: Weather! Christus! General Browning, what of the Germans? Don't you think that if we know Arnhem is so critical to their safety that they might know it too?
Lt. General Frederick Browning: Now, look here. The few troops in the area are second class. They're not frontline caliber, not at all, do you understand? I think you ought to have a little more faith in Montgomery's intelligence reports, you know. He's done pretty well for us in last three or four years.
Maj. Gen. Stanislaw Sosabowski: I will tell you the extent of my faith. I am thinking of asking for a letter from you stating that I was forced to act under your orders in case my men are massacred.
Lt. Gen. Frederick Browning: I see... I do see. Do you wish such a letter?
Maj. Gen. Stanislaw Sosabowski: No... No, of course not. In the case of massacre, what difference will it make?

Lt. Col. John Frost: Hello, Harry.
Maj. Harry Carlyle: Hello. Johnny.
Lt. Col. John Frost: You know, Harry; I always wanted to ask you, but didn't because I knew you so very much wanted me to and I didn't want to give you the satisfaction; but why the hell do you always carry that bloody umbrella?
Maj. Harry Carlyle: Memory. Bad...memory. Never could remember the password. Knew no Jerry would carry one. Had to prove...I was an Englishman.

Capt. Glass: My problem is, I'm not totally crazy about the prospect of dying.
Obergruppenführer Wilhelm Bittrich:
Flatten Arnhem.
SSgt. Eddie Dohun: So don't die. Drinking that garbage isn't gonna keep you alive, is it?
Capt. Glass: What is?
SSgt. Eddie Dohun: What is? Well, not gettin' shot.
Capt. Glass: What can guarantee that?
SSgt. Eddie Dohun: Nothing, for sure.
Capt. Glass: You will.
SSgt. Eddie Dohun: I will what?
Capt. Glass: You tell me, Eddie. You tell me I won't die.
SSgt. Eddie Dohun: Alright, you won't die.
Capt. Glass: No, no. Guarantee me. I want you to guarantee me I won't die.
SSgt. Eddie Dohun: [seriously] I guarantee you.

SSgt. Eddie Dohun: Colonel, if you don't look at him right now, he's going to die.
U.S. medical colonel: He's dead now.
SSgt. Eddie Dohun: It would mean a lot to me, sir, if you'd check him out.
U.S. medical colonel: Come on, Sergeant! For Chrissakes get him out of here!
SSgt. Eddie Dohun:[briefly goes out, returns] Would you look at him please, sir. [brandishes .45 Pistol] Right now. Or I'll blow your fuckin' head off. [cocks the .45] Right now.
U.S. medical colonel: I can give him a quick examination if you like.
SSgt. Eddie Dohun: Thank you very much, sir.

U.S. medical colonel: [To military policeman Lt. Rafferty] Sergeant Dohun pulled a gun on me and threatened to kill me unless I did precisely what he ordered...I want you to put him under arrest.
Lt. Rafferty: Yes sir.
U.S. medical colonel: I want you to keep him there; I want you to keep him there, for at least ten seconds.
Lt. Rafferty: [brief pause] I'm not all that sure I understand, Colonel.
U.S. medical colonel: Count to ten, Lieutenant, fast.
Lt. Rafferty: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Like that, sir?
U.S. medical colonel: [dismisses him] Thank you, Lieutenant.

[Rafferty salutes and leaves, confused]


U.S. medical colonel: You scared the shit out of me, you stupid bastard.
SSgt. Eddie Dohun: You did a fine job yourself, sir, if it makes you feel any better.
U.S. medical colonel: You're goddamn right it does.

Gen. Ludwig: Not possible.
Dr. Spaander: If you would just say yes, it would be very possible.
Gen. Ludwig: Forgive me, but there is a battle. And we are in the process of winning it.
Dr. Spaander: Winning or losing is not a concern. Living or dying is. Cease fire. One hour ... two ... just to evacuate our wounded. Afterwards you can kill us as much as you want.
[SS-Obergruppenführer Bittrich walks in and admonishes Ludwig, who subsequently removes himself along with the staff]
Obergruppenführer Bittrich: [in German] Your request will be met. The ceasefire will begin at three o'clock.

[an SS officer is approaching under a white flag]
Maj. Harry Carlyle: Rather interesting development, sir. [to the German] That's far enough! We can hear you from there!
SS Panzer Officer: My general says there is no point in continuing this fighting! He is willing to discuss a surrender!
[Short pause; the German waits for an answer, Frost thinks]
Lt. Col. John Frost: Tell him to go to hell.
Maj. Harry Carlyle: We haven't the proper facilities to take you all prisoner! Sorry!
SS Panzer Officer: [confused] What?
Maj. Harry Carlyle: We'd like to, but we can't accept your surrender! Was there anything else?
[German officer walks off silently]
Lt. Col. John Frost: Right.
[the officer returns to Obergruppenführer Bittrich - they converse in German]
SS Panzer Officer: They rejected our surrender offer. What are your orders, Herr General?
Obergruppenführer Bittrich: Flatten Arnhem.

Lt. Gen. Frederick "Boy" Browning: Hello, Roy. How are you?
Maj. Gen. Roy Urqhart: I'm not sure I'll know for a while. But I'm sorry about how it turned out.
Lt. Gen. Frederick "Boy" Browning: You did all you could.
John Frost Bridge
I always felt we tried to go a bridge too far.
Maj. Gen. Roy Urqhart: Yes, but did everyone else?
Lt. Gen. Frederick "Boy" Browning: They've got a bed for you upstairs if you want it.
Maj. Gen. Roy Urqhart: I took ten thousand men into Arnhem. I've come out with less than two. I don't feel much like sleeping.

Lt. General Frederick "Boy" Browning: I've just been on to Monty. He's very proud and pleased.
Major General Urquhart: Pleased?
Lt. General Frederick "Boy" Browning: Of course. He thinks Market Garden was 90% successful.
Major General Urquhart: But what do you think?
Lt. General Frederick "Boy" Browning: Well, as you know, I always felt we tried to go a bridge too far.
[Urquart stares silently at Browning]

Cast[edit]

External links[edit]

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