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the bridges at toko ri

REVIEWER: lyall carter

★★★

Set during the Korean War, a Navy fighter pilot must come to terms with with his own ambivalence towards the war and the fear of having to bomb a set of highly defended bridges. The ending of this grim war drama is all tension.

Naval Reservist pilot Lt. Harry Brubaker (William Holden) is stationed on an aircraft carrier in the Sea of Japan during the Korean War.

Although suffering from battle fatigue and longing to return to civilian life with his wife, Nancy (Grace Kelly), he agrees to fly a dangerous bombing mission over North Korea, with the support of his faithful rescue crew, Forney (Mickey Rooney) and Gamidge (Earl Holliman), and his sympathetic commanding officer, Commander Lee (Charles McGraw).

 

While The Bridges at Toko - Ri isn’t the action stacked thrill ride of Where Eagles Dare, it offers a sobering and intriguing insight into the lives of the aircraft pilots. We not only get to see their families and lovers, but we are also able to closely observe the state of their hearts and minds. 

 

The aerial photography is some of the most spectacular of that particular area, making the audience feel as if they were in the cockpit flying the planes themselves. While her part isn’t quite as big as in other films, Grace Kelly, in one of her last films, brings a whole lot of glamour and star power to the role. 

 

While not as action packed as other war films of its era, The Bridges at Toko - Ri is an intriguing insight into the lives and hearts of the men who serve in the armed forces.

★★★

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The Bridges at Toko Ri is available on DVD and digital from all good disc and digital retailers.