Archive of films The Bridge / Die Brücke
1959, 96 min
Section: World War II: 60 Years After
In disbelief at the possibility of capitulation in April 1945, seven pupils at a school in a small German town decide with suicidal determination to defend a strategically worthless bridge. The intransigence in the depiction of the era and its characters, and the cathartic strength of the finale of this famous 1959 film far outdo similarly oriented films made today.
Of the seven pupils at a secondary school in a small German town who receive the longed-for call-up order to join the “Volkssturm”, not one believes in Germany’s inevitable capitulation in April 1945. In order to defend one of the town’s (strategically worthless) bridges, they invest all the fervour of their sixteen years into the mission, their romantic yearning for adventure, sacrifice and friendship - all wonderful things yet, at the very core, and with calculated precision, perverted by poisonous ideology. That this film - unlike so many supposedly “classic films” - still touches today’s viewer with the same force as it did during its first screening 45 years ago (the catharsis of the final scene is still shocking) cannot be explained by what would elsewhere be a common, well-prepared dose of pacifist thinking, but solely though Wicki’s natural sense of morality and humaneness - his petition is not incidental, and no viewer can thus remain indifferent to it.
About the director
Bernhard Wicki (1919, Sankt Pölten-2000, Munich)
As one of the best actors of his generation from the German-speaking region, he worked with a number of leading German and foreign directors, including Michelangelo Antonioni (The Night/La notte, 1960). His first work as a director was the "independently" made film Why Are They Against Us? (Warum sind sie gegen uns?, 1958), followed by his anti-war masterpiece The Bridge (Die Brücke, 1959), awarded a number of prizes. His subsequent works were war dramas interwoven with socio-psychological films: The Miracle of Malachias (Das Wunder von Malachias, 1960-61), The Longest Day (1961-62), The Visit (1963), Morituri (1965) and The False Weight (Das falsche Gewicht, 1971). Wicki´s last, most ambitious film was made in Prague after many year´s preparation, an adaptation of Joseph Roth´s novel Spider´s Web (Das Spinnennetz, 1989).
About the film
Black & white, 35 mm
|Section:||World War II: 60 Years After|
|Screenplay:||Michael Mansfeld, Karl-Wilhelm Vivier|
|Dir. of Photography:||Gerd von Bonin|
|Editor:||Carl Otto Bartning|
|Cast:||Fritz Wepper, Volker Bohnet, Michael Hinz|
|Contact:||National Film Archive, Goethe-Institut Prag|
Film Institution Rep.