Bridge of Spies (Theatrical)

7.62 h 21 min2015X-RayPG-13
In a dramatic thriller inspired by true events, Tom Hanks stars as James Donovan, a Brooklyn lawyer thrust into the center of the Cold War when the CIA sends him on a near impossible mission to negotiate the release of a captured American U2 pilot.
Steven Spielberg
Tom HanksMark RylanceScott Shepherd
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Amy RyanSebastian KochAlan AldaAustin StowellBilly MagnussenEve HewsonJesse PlemonsMichael GastonPeter McRobbieDomenick LombardozziVictor VerhaegheMark FicheraBrian HutchisonJoshua HartoHenny RussellRebekah BrockmanJohn RueJillian LeblingNoah SchnappJoel BradyMichael PembertonGeoffrey RudeMichael RempenDakin MatthewsStephen KunkenJon CurryWes McGeeJim FerrisLucia RyanNolan LyonsHayley FeinsteinVictoria LeighSawyer BarthAshlie AtkinsonHaley RawsonLaurie DawnAndy SchneeflockJames LorinzPat SquireMario CorryDonavon DietzLe Clanché du RandMike HoustonJoe StarrHamilton ClancyJonathan WalkerGreg NutcherTracy HoweEdward James HylandJohn TaylorSteven BoyerJohn Henry CoxMark ZakVictor ScheféWill RogersDaniela SchulzMoritz BergEmma NazahnMatthias ScherwenikasGreta Galisch de PalmaMatilda Palma GalischNadja BobylevaKai Wido MeyerKristoffer FussThomas HacikogluDavid Wilson BarnesJoe ForbrichHenning BormannKetel WeberMaik RoggeTim Morten UhlenbrockMathias GärtnerRafael GareisenNico EhrenteitRadik GolovkovPetra Marie CamminLucy DrezninMichael SchenkMikhail GorevoyWanja GötzStefan LangelVladimir VilanovIvan ShvedoffMerab NinidzeKonstantin FrolovSteve CirbusMichael KranzMax KiddFrederic HeidornNils MaltenNina GummichBurghart KlaussnerMax MauffJon DonahueMartin Dew
Steven SpielbergMarc PlattKristie Macosko Krieger
Touchstone Pictures
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
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4.7 out of 5 stars

11111 global ratings

  1. 79% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 14% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 5% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 1% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

GReviewed in the United States on May 5, 2019
3.0 out of 5 stars
A good movie
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This is an excellent movie.

That said, it is fiction. Any relationship between actual events and what was portrayed in this movie is coincidental.

If you want to know what really happened, I strongly recommend reading Strangers on a Bridge: The Case of Colonel Abel by James Donovan. It is a very readable and educational account of what actually happened, as opposed to what the movie people invented. More importantly, it fills in the gaps and explains scenes in the movie that were not as clear as they could have been.
23 people found this helpful
Richard G. GhiselinReviewed in the United States on May 1, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
Truth trumps fiction!
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I was serving in West Germany during the time covered in he film. It was incredible how the film brought back all the memories of that time. Tom
Hanks was (as usual) great as the official go-between of the spy swap. Even though we all knew how this turned out, the film was so well-directed, acted and scripted, that the viewer became lost in the intrigue.

Many Americans are unaware that East Berlin existed for many years after the end of WW II as a "movie set" with buildings on the main street, Unter den Linden, mere facades with nothing behind them but bombed out rubble. It would have been easy for the film to gloss over that fact, but it truly depicted the situation. The tenseness between the Russians and the East German police was real and it's a miracle that the swap was completed without incident. Great movie. Highly recommended.
74 people found this helpful
Martin HerseyReviewed in the United States on December 23, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
People First! Spielberg Wins Again!
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Tom Hanks in the lead role and Mark Rylance as the captured Russian spy were excellent. Hanks was impeccable in his holding to human values rather than caving in to the cynicism of the other political figures in the film-the CIA agents, the American public, and the Russian and East German political figures. The Cold War was portrayed as a time of bitter acrimony and hatred directed at the wrong people for the wrong reasons. Mass psychology was pictured as a part of American life at that time. The Russian side was pictured in all its one-sided brutality and ugliness His skillful role as a clever and subtle negotiator, Mark Rylance's dogged and matter of fact, philosophical playing of his part as the spy, the unyielding judge, the people in position of authority from the lawyers to the police and the embassy staff, all these combined to make this a convincing, close-to-real-life picture of the relationships that are part of the political world at any time. Thumbs up to this Spielberg masterpiece! Thank you, Amazon for providing me with this film to view on my computer here at home.
26 people found this helpful
Mike PowersReviewed in the United States on May 29, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
"Bridge of Spies:" a fascinating spy thriller that's one of the best films of 2015..
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“Bridge of Spies” is a Steven Spielberg-directed spy thriller that stars Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Austin Stowell, and Will Rogers. It tells the true story of how an obscure New York lawyer is recruited to negotiate an exchange of spies between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Four men are at the center of this fascinating and well-told story. Rudolf Abel (Rylance) is a Soviet intelligence agent working in New York City. In 1957, the FBI arrests Abel for espionage. He is quickly tried and convicted of the charges. Abel’s defense lawyer is James Donovan (Hanks), who previously had been requested for the job. Donovan reluctantly agrees to defend Abel. With all the anti-communist hysteria surrounding the case, he knows that it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that Abel will be convicted. About the best Donovan can hope for is to convince the hard-nosed trial judge not to give his client a death sentence.

The third and fourth men in this story are Francis Gary Powers (Stowell) and Frederic Pryor (Rogers), two Americans serving time in separate prisons behind the Iron Curtain. Powers is a U-2 pilot working for the CIA. He had been shot down while flying over the Soviet Union. Pryor is a graduate student studying in Berlin, who just happens to be on the wrong side of the infamous wall then under construction. Their cases are about to become linked in a high stakes game of power politics between the world’s greatest superpowers…

Re-enter James Donovan. The CIA recruits him to go into Berlin – by himself, and with no government backing – to negotiate an exchange of prisoners. The CIA wants an Abel for Powers-only swap. But on his own, Donovan decides to negotiate a two-for-one exchange: Abel for Powers AND Pryor…

How will the CIA and the governments of the Soviet Union and East Germany react? What will be the outcome? And what dangers does Donovan face while scurrying about in Berlin in search of a deal? Watch this great film to find out…

I really enjoyed “Bridge of Spies.” The film had just the right amount of tension to make it a first-rate spy thriller. As one might expect, all the actors are at the top of their game – especially Mark Rylance, who won the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his superb acting. Tom Hanks turns in another in a long line of outstanding, polished performances as James Donovan.

“Bridge of Spies” is one of the best films of 2015, and one of my new favorites.. Highly recommended.
27 people found this helpful
David E. BaldwinReviewed in the United States on February 7, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
Spielberg Brings History To Life Again
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More than any director in screen history Steven Spielberg breathes life into our past and makes it relevant to a contemporary audience. In films as diverse as "Schindler's List" and "Amistad" and a few other stellar works Spielberg posits the proposition that history repeats itself and should never be forgotten. Spielberg tackles the Cold War and he does not shy away from the complexity or enigmas inherent in the ideological war between the democratic and communist doctrines. The Red Scare is illustrated with young schoolchildren being taught how to survive a thermonuclear war contrasted by Germans in East Berlin being walled in by their governors fearing they'll flee to freedom on the Western side. The film is not a precise history because events are taken out of context to advance the narrative and Tom Hanks' character is an amalgam of many persons but the essence of the times is spot on. What I found refreshing in this film is that despite the paranoia present at the time Spielberg doesn't subscribe to the notion that the West was wrong in fighting vociferously Communism rather the Soviet Union was a despotic institution intent on expanding their grip on as many sovereign peoples as possible. I found the end a tad sentimental but after offering strong medicine Spielberg is entitled to his personal flourishes.
25 people found this helpful
Grafton Wisconsin readerReviewed in the United States on December 13, 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
Marvelously Entertaining
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Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks again team up for a masterful film about the Cold War. Hanks plays a Brooklyn lawyer called upon by the government to broker a prisoner exchange between Francis Gary Powers, shot down over Soviet airspace and. Russian spy taken prisoner and tried in the U.S. Mark Rylance, the extraordinary British stage actor, won an Oscar for his portrayal of the Russian spy. He and Hanks' character form an unlikely friendship. The gov't wants a kind of show trial; Hanks gives it his all in defending his client, angering everybody, including his wife and boss. A CIA agent tries to keep Hanks on a leash with little success, making for some humorous by-play. Also some great scenes between Hanks and a Russian he believes is an under-secretary at the Russian Embassy in East Berlin who turns out to be the head of the KGB in Eastern Europe. Not a great film but marvelously entertaining and well done. Hanks, as usual, doesn't disappoint. Watch it in part for Mark Rylance's performance; he hasn't made many films and he is perhaps the greatest actor of his generation.
3 people found this helpful
Tim F. MartinReviewed in the United States on June 13, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Wonderful courtroom drama and a Cold War intrigue thriller
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Very well done, well cast, well-acted and nicely paced historical drama about two connected real life events, one the story of private lawyer James B. Donovan (played by Tom Hanks) negotiating the release of two prisoners during the Cold War, that of Francis Gary Powers (the U.S. Air Force U-2 pilot whose plane was shot down in 1960 when it was flying over the Soviet Union) from the KBG, and of American student Frederic Pryor (in the wrong place at the wrong time) from East Germany. The name of the film is in homage to the Glienicke Bridge where part of the prisoner exchange occurs.

As part of that exchange Donovan is supposed to exchange a Soviet spy caught in New York City and arrested, a man prior to the exchange the government approached Donovan about representing in court as a defense attorney, a spy named Rudolf Abel (played by Mark Rylance, a role he won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor). Really the film was at first a courtroom drama, of Donovan trying to get the best trial, put forth the best case for his client despite a doubtful family, a meddling CIA, an unsupportive judge, and a rather hostile American public. That alone could have been a good movie, but then we get the Cold War intrigue in East Berlin, with Donovan acting in the best interests of his new client, Powers (and despite government objections, doing what he can for both Abel and for Pryor, the latter a person barely on the government’s radar).

The film did a good job of really having two entirely different films, a court room drama and Cold War spy intrigue, but they were linked by Tom Hank’s performance, of his character’s shrewd negotiation skills, great ability to read people, and his unwavering dedication to his clients, whomever they are. Skills that got the best trial possible for Abel also served to help Donovan get the best deal possible for the two Americans held in captivity.

Great ensemble cast, excellent cinematography (especially the East Berlin scenes), really great late 1950s, early 1960s feel, there was good tension, some great emotional performances, light touches of humor, just all around an excellent historical drama.
One person found this helpful
NancyAReviewed in the United States on May 28, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Spoilers abound.
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So much to love about this movie: Rylance/Hanks pairing of exquisitely balanced temperaments and the sets which include German Democratic Republic messengers bicycling through embassy hallways, wooden and chrome interior of the public train, and horrors of wintry Eastern Germany with gangs, wild dogs and citizens beings shot like dogs for attempting to cross over the newly erected Berlin Wall. This is in contrast to swell, sunny Fifties Cold War Brooklyn -- you know, back when everybody was white and the Russians were scheming? All of the groups of white men in various office settings, agendas flying, characters unfolding.
We witness Hanks and Rylance act according to principles without expectation of decency in return. Hanks, an impassioned defender of the Constitution, gets nothing but grief from his wife (the unrelentingly excellent Amy Ryan), his boss, the CIA and an assortment of wack diplomats. A man true to his word he stays solid and grounded in the face of drama, preening and pretense. Getting neither respect, acknowledgement, nor support he persists in a string of melodramatic exchanges as exactly who and what he is: the reliable insurance guy who acts and communicates clearly, consistently, firmly and calmly.
Rylance embodies a drier, more detached persona. His character understands all and expects nothing. When confronted with his lawyer's honorable practices he communicates the perfect parable to illustrate simultaneously his true appreciation in tandem with his awareness that much is outside of either of their control. He utters such truisms as "I'm not afraid to die, Mr. Donovan, although it is not my first choice."
This brings me to the screenplay which was written by - - - the Coen brothers! and some other guy.
Props to Scott Shepherd, the dickless Agency guyunburdened by subtlety or empathy, the perfect foil, or fool, to Hanks' Donovan who will not suffer him gladly.
As with Lincoln, and Schindler, Spielberg is depicting another ubermensch who keeps his head as the surrounding crowd morphs into a mob. There are so many elegant details, including a nickel extracted from a spy cache that neatly separates for the transmission of coded messages. Spielberg's cinematographer embraces extremes of climate from slick black umbrellas in the darkest, densest downpour to copious flurries among bombed out buildings, soldiers, guns and gangs.
And in the midst of all the hullaballoo two smart, solid, stolid characters acknowledging their shared qualities across a binary cultural divide.
3 people found this helpful
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