“He can’t be a soldier… He’s just a kid!”
Near the end of WWII, a group of German teens are ordered to defend a useless bridge, not realizing it’s about to be blown up.
This Oscar nominated German film — Austrian director Bernhard Wicki’s feature debut — is a powerful, depressing look at the meaningless destruction of war. In the first half of the movie, we follow seven teenage boys as they interact with their (often fragmented) families; experience first love or unrequited desire; express giddy delight over discovering contraband brandy hidden in the river; and, above all, eagerly await their turn for inscription in Hitler’s army. The second half of the film details the grueling escalation of a deadly snafu, in which — despite the best of intentions by the boys’ platoon leader — everything that can go wrong does. Ultimately, The Bridge demonstrates how miscommunication and stubborn pride can lead to lethal chaos when weapons (and naive teens) are involved. There’s little redemption here; by the end of the film (which was based on a true incident), we’re simply reminded how devastating and relentless the toll of war can be.
P.S. According to my resident expert (my husband), there are a number of technical discrepancies in the film; most viewers, however, will not be bothered by this.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- An insightful look at youthful idealism and naivete during wartime
- A powerful depiction of war as hell
Yes. Listed as a film with Historical Importance in the back of Peary’s book.