The plot of the 1959 German film, The Bridge, is pivoted on this: “In the very last days of World War II a group of seven German high-school friends are hastily impressed into the army” (Stanley Kauffmann). A country in trouble, perhaps, is willing to recruit its sixteen-year-old boys, and although the boys here are meant to be relatively safe, they are not.
What comes about is not only the usual fog of war but also the savage folly of war—of a war conducted by a country, Germany, whose ideals have been hijacked by scoundrels. (So claims the boys’ teacher.) Domestic drama in the boys’ lives is eclipsed by battlefield horrors.
Directed by Bernhard Wicki, The Bridge is authentically anti-war, a famous old Euro-artwork still vivid and meaningful.
(In German with English subtitles)