"You're a pig, Angelo!"
By a customer
, 14 Sep 2011
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
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The Bridge at Remagen is set in the closing days of World War II. At the command of Adolf Hitler, all bridges are to be destroyed, to prevent the Allies from advancing into the heartland of Germany. This means the last of the 15th German army would be trapped in France on the wrong side of the Rhine river, 75,000 men against the whole allied armed forces.
The following story tells of the Allies desperate bid to capture the bridge at Remagen, and the unrelenting battle, with the Allies pushing hard as the Germans try to blow it up. In the American army, Lieutenant Phil Hartman (George Segal) and Sargeant Angelo (Ben Gazzara) are just men doing their job. They are not portrayed as seemingly invincible superheroes, who can fight a battle and not even get a scratch. Also, they do not have perfect moral fibre, but are just normal men.
Opposite, in the German army, you have Major Paul Kreuger (Robert Vaughan) fighting two battles simultaneously, against the enemy, and his superior officers, trying to hold the bridge long enough so that all the men can escape. Him and many of his men are not portrayed as evil Nazis on a quest to conquer the world, for the greater glory of the Fuhrer and the Fatherland. They are shown as just regular men, trying to survive the carnage and destruction of the battlefield, and return to their loved ones and rebuild whats left of their country.
The film refuses the standard good / bad dichotomy. One group just happens to be on a winning side, the other on a losing side.
This film is action-packed, thanks to the direction of John Guillermin, with exciting battles, that hit home emotionally, and really make you feel that you are caught up in it. Richard Yates and William Roberts made a stirring and compelling story, filling it with drama and realism, rather than your typical Hollywood fare.
The music was well composed and conducted by the late Elmer Bernstein, and really helps set the tone and mood of the war. At the same time, it is strangely laid-back and calm, deliberately so, to make it seem ordinary, part of normal life, not hyped up, and made epic and highly dramatic, like most scores for WWII films.
The film is well produced, with a good budget, and released by iconic MGM film studios. This film is both successful artistically and commercially, which is why I feel MGM has lasted so long.
The film is reasonably violent and bloody, but theres nothing extreme. There is some bad language, but nothing that would make your mother blush. Theres also some scenes with a sexual nature, but no nudity or sexual acts.
I would highly recommend this film, whether youre into pure action or the ideological and philosophical issues of war. This film has great writing and directing, great performances, and a great score. It is the perfect film to watch on a Sunday afternoon, with your dad or your grandad. I highly recommend it, two thumbs up, and ten shell-holes in the ground!
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