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Waterloo Bridge (1940)

Passed | | Drama, Romance, War | 17 May 1940 (USA)
During World War I, believing her fiance to be dead, a young ballerina loses her job and is forced to turn to prostitution.


Mervyn LeRoy


S.N. Behrman (screen play), Hans Rameau (screen play) | 2 more credits »
3,409 ( 5,674)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Vivien Leigh ... Myra
Robert Taylor ... Roy Cronin
Lucile Watson ... Lady Margaret Cronin
Virginia Field ... Kitty
Maria Ouspenskaya ... Madame Olga Kirowa
C. Aubrey Smith ... The Duke
Janet Shaw ... Maureen
Janet Waldo ... Elsa
Steffi Duna ... Lydia
Virginia Carroll ... Sylvia
Leda Nicova Leda Nicova ... Marie
Florence Baker ... Beatrice
Margery Manning Margery Manning ... Mary
Frances MacInerney Frances MacInerney ... Violet
Eleanor Stewart ... Grace


On the eve of World War II, a British officer revisits Waterloo Bridge and recalls the young man he was at the beginning of World War I and the young ballerina he met just before he left for the front. Myra stayed with him past curfew and is thrown out of the corps de ballet. She survives on the streets of London, falling even lower after she hears her true love has been killed in action. But he wasn't killed. Those terrible years were nothing more than a bad dream is Myra's hope after Roy finds her and takes her to his family's country estate. Written by Dale O'Connor <daleoc@interaccess.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Her First Picture Since "Gone With The Wind" See more »


Drama | Romance | War


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »





English | French

Release Date:

17 May 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El puente de Waterloo See more »

Filming Locations:

Bath, Somerset, England, UK See more »


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Ethel Griffies played (uncredited) the Landlady in BOTH Waterloo Bridge (1931) & Waterloo Bridge (1940). She was Mrs. Hobley in the earlier version and Mrs. Clark in the later version. See more »


When Roy travels back down to London from Scotland by express train, the train shown is a Great Western Railway one which did not serve Scotland as it only served routes from Paddington (London) to the West of England and Wales. See more »


Roy Cronin: Either you're excited about life or you're not. You know, I've never been able to wait for the future.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also shown in computer colorized version. See more »


Referenced in Bebo's Girl (1964) See more »


Comin' Thro' The Rye
Traditional Scottish music
Lyrics by Robert Burns
Played as background music when Myra and Roy are riding to Lady Margaret
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Vivien Leigh was never lovelier
15 August 2007 | by Goodbye_Ruby_TuesdaySee all my reviews

When asked what her favorite film of her own was, Vivien Leigh brushed aside her Oscar winning roles as the southern belles Scarlet O'Hara and Blanche Dubois, settling on this little-known but much loved gem, Waterloo Bridge. This may come as a surprise to many whose favorite movie is Gone With the Wind or stage actresses who study every nuance of her Blanche, once you see this movie there is no doubt that this may be her loveliest performance--while her Oscars prove that she could deliver astoundingly good work under the notoriously difficult shoots on her famous two films, Waterloo Bridge is a testament to her grace, her subtlety, and her ability to never feel sorry for herself or beg the audience for pity--and therefore earns every inch of our attention.

Roy Cronin (Robert Taylor), an aging soldier on the eve of WWII, remembers years earlier during the First World War (it's better if you ignore the obviously "modern" clothing and just enjoy the damn movie). He met and ballerina Myra Lester (Leigh), and oh boy how the fell in love (I have yet to see a sweeter or more beautifully photographed love scene than the Candlelight Club). However, just before they can find a way to get married, Roy is called unexpectedly early to the front. Myra misses a performance to say goodbye to him and is fired from the dance company. Along with her faithful best friend Kitty, Myra sinks lower and lower into poverty, and her faith is lost when she believes Roy is dead. Hopeless, she falls into prostitution (this is where Leigh is at her best--there is not a shred of self-pity in her performance when Myra becomes a "fallen woman."). How will she cover up her past when Roy shows up alive and suggests that she meet his crusty, upper-class family?

The synopsis provided above has all the inklings of a sappy, forgotten melodramatic "woman's movie" that were popular in the 1940s. So why is it so good? Because in the hands of director Mervyn LeRoy and his stars Leigh and Taylor, they make you believe in these characters, hope for them and root for them. Myra is no Scarlet in the sense that she does not whine and wait for her love to come home. Even while delivering lines like, "I loved you, I've never loved anyone else. I never shall, that's the truth Roy, I never shall," Leigh is never flashy as her Scarlet may have been--when Leigh sinks into a role, she gets lost in it. Vivien Leigh gives a spirited and beautiful performance--she proved that her handling of Gone With the Wind was not mere luck but that she was talented and here to stay. Though Robert Taylor's role is not as complex as Leigh's--remember, this is a "chick flick"--they have wonderful chemistry together, obviously comfortable with each other's presence. While most romantic movies of today are simply composed of throwing two stars together without much chemistry, this is a movie that makes you ache for the old days and the old movies full of ambiguity, wry double-entendres and, above all, a sense of hope for real love.

Do you think you'll remember Waterloo Bridge now?

NOTE: Because of some cosmic fluke, this movie isn't available on (Region 1) DVD and a VHS copy is rare, but because of some cosmic fluke, this is one of the most popular movies of all time in China, resulting in many various imports. This is a movie worth seeking out, but double-check where you buy it.

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