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Bridge to Hell (1986)

Un ponte per l'inferno (original title)
| Action, Drama, War | 1986 (Italy)
Three prisoners from a Nazi prison camp (an American, an Italian and a German deserter), are trying to make their way through Nazi occupied territory and over to freedom. Along the way, ... See full summary »

Director:

Umberto Lenzi

Writer:

Umberto Lenzi (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Andy J. Forest Andy J. Forest ... Lt. Bill Rogers
Carlo Mucari Carlo Mucari ... Sgt. Mario 'Pazilbo' Esposito
Paki Valente Paki Valente ... Blitz (as Paky Valente)
Francesca Ferre Francesca Ferre ... Vanya (as Francesca Ferrè)
Zdenko Jelcic Zdenko Jelcic ... Milan (as Sdenko Jelcic)
Vuk Mannic Vuk Mannic ... SS Captain (as Vuk Mannic')
Zlatko Martincevic Zlatko Martincevic ... SS Lieutenant
Drago Pavlic Drago Pavlic ... Herzog (as Dragan Pavlic')
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Storyline

Three prisoners from a Nazi prison camp (an American, an Italian and a German deserter), are trying to make their way through Nazi occupied territory and over to freedom. Along the way, they encounter a group of resistance fighters trying to disrupt the German supply lines. In addition, they also hear about a priceless treasure hidden somewhere that the Nazis are searching for. What will win out, the desire for freedom, the desire for revenge or the desire for money? Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Impossible Mission See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | War

Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Italy | Yugoslavia

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

1986 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

A Bridge to Hell See more »

Filming Locations:

Yugoslavia

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the film's star Andy J. Forrest, Francesca Ferre was functionally blind without her glasses and ended one take by walking right into a tree. See more »

Connections

Edited from Partizanska eskadrila (1979) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Umberto Lenzi sinks to a new Low with a Cheap WWII Action Piece
23 August 2002 | by SgtSlaughterSee all my reviews

When one looks at director Umberto Lenzi's war films, it's really hard to define his style. His early efforts were strong and showed excellent potential, they were low-budget stories which emphasized characters over large-scale action; in the 1970s, he produced two messy epics with star-studded casts; and in the 1980s, he released "Wartime" now "Bridge to Hell", both incredibly cheap, plot less action pieces with little or no redeeming qualities.

The story of "Bridge to Hell" is simple, and often times Lenzi tends to forget the point and lets it wander off in any direction which seems convenient. A group of 3 Allied POWs treks across war-torn Yugoslavia, trying to reach the Allied lines in Italy. Along the way, they learn of a secret treasure which the Yugoslav partisans are hiding from the Nazis, and decide to steal it for themselves. The bulk of the film's 90 minute running-time is comprised of shoot-outs between the ex-POWs and German soldiers, tanks and planes. The film's conclusion leaves the story un-resolved and feels tacked on, but then again, there really is no appropriate way to end a film such as this.

As the saga unfolds, it becomes full of holes and lacks any flair; the three escapees run into a band of partisans and help them in their fight in exchange for weapons and a guide. Then they continue their journey, only to run into more partisans and repeat the cycle. It's obvious that the writers were running out of ideas when two of the main characters crash a plane, go on their way, only to steal another plane, and crash yet again. Several times, continuity is disregarded for convenience's sake: early on in the film, it is clearly established that the Partisans lack an air force – later on, the heroes witness a huge partisan aerial bombardment! There is a scene of vicious German attack dogs running around in a field, snarling like they're rapid, but they never go on to attack anything. At one point in the film, one character yells of nearby German fighters, "Those Messers are shooting at us!" but shots of the planes reveal them to be unarmed transports, flying in formation and minding their own business.

The special effects, and action scenes in general, have a very cheap look and feel. Lenzi splices close-ups of his own actors into a continuous reel of stock footage from films like "Battle of the Eagles" and "When the Bell Tolls". What makes matters worse is that this isn't good-looking stock footage; most of it centers around really, really funny miniature airplanes, looking just as bad, if not worse, as the miniature work in Japanese war movies from the 1960s. Some shots lack sound effects, so one can see the miniature fighters' machine-guns blasting away but hear nothing.

To top it off, Lenzi throws logic out the window as the characters blast away at legions of German soldiers without bothering to aim their weapons. In response, the Germans run around in a frenzy without bothering to shoot back, and fall down dead in every direction. One German officer tries to sound an air raid siren in one scene, and when it doesn't work he claims "Sabotage". Moments later, when German planes attempt to take off and chase a stolen fighter plane, they can't take on fuel. I really don't understand why; it's not as though the Partisans and fugitives coordinated the escape; it was a spur-of-the-moment decision! German soldiers advance cautiously onto a bridge, dodging bullets as we hear plenty of explosions and gunfire -- but the good guys aren't firing back at them! These are the most obvious errors, but there's plenty more to go around.

Dubbing reaches a new low, too. To add insult to injury, some of the actors share a common voice – one German soldier sounds just like one of the main characters! When the German soldiers speak German, it's obvious that their voices were dubbed in because there is an annoying metallic rasping sound.

It's hard for me to understand how Umberto Lenzi could make four serviceable films over a 10-year period, and suddenly seem to fall apart at the end of his career. Maybe it's not his fault; maybe he only a minimal budget to work with and this was the best he could crank out. It's unfortunate to see a fair director go under this way - all this film is good for is a decent tearing down.


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