This is an impressive adaptation of Cornelius Ryan's bestseller about the disastrous events that took place in September 1944, where the mission to take and hold the bridges that bordered Holland and Germany was unsuccessful, and human toll tragic, with approximately 8,000 casualties in the allied forces, and an equal number of Germans falling in battle. The script by William Goldman and direction by Richard Attenborough holds the many threads of this piece of complex history together, and makes it understandable to the viewer; so much went wrong, from the incorrect, misinterpreted or ignored intelligence, to the basic flaws in the plan.
The introduction before the titles is fascinating, with marvelous archive footage to illustrate a narration of aspects of the war, and the planning of "Operation Market-Garden".
The megastar cast is too numerous to mention, but standouts are Sean Connery as Major General Roy Urquart, James Caan, Michael Caine, and Edward Fox, who won 2 international awards for Supporting Actor. Maximilian Schell is excellent as a German general, and when the Nazi side of the story is told, the actors speak German, with English subtitles, adding to the realism of the film.
The cinematography by Geoffrey Unsworth is spectacular, some of it very innovative, and with intense beauty; a rousing score by John Addison also adds a lot to the film.
"A Bridge Too Far" was Cornelius Ryan's last big best-seller, and no cost was spared in this ambitious production, costing $ 26 million, a huge amount in 1977.
A must see for anyone who appreciates history on film. Total running time is 176 minutes.