Disney and Dreamworks invite you to take a step back into an era of espionage and Cold War. Steven Spielberg directs a dramatic thriller set against the backdrop of a series of historic events, Bridge of Spies tells the story of James Donovan (Tom Hanks), a Brooklyn lawyer who finds himself 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 U-2 pilot. High stakes and suspense power a story inspired by true events that capture the essence of a man who risked everything and vividly brings his personal journey to life.
Steven Spielberg’s Cold War-era spy thriller Bridge of Spies is another incredible film starring Tom Hanks, and based on a true story about American tax lawyer James Donovan (Tom Hanks) who agrees to represent an alleged Soviet spy named Rudolph Abel.
Donovan becomes unpopular when he sticks to the American principles of justice and human rights despite everyone being against him actually defending a Soviet spy during the cold war. As he gets to know Abel, their relationship grows and Donovan becomes even more resolute in his belief that the constitution must be respected and upheld – even in the case of a foreign enemy.
We move from courtroom to the capture of U2 spy plane pilot Gary Powers, on to an American student captured by soviets in Berlin and suspected of being a spy through to the negotiation table. There is a lot going on at once, and the writers did a tremendous job at keeping the storyline clear and interesting without getting too complicated to enjoy. It’s an approachable take on a historical event that was mostly forgotten and unknown until now.
Spielberg managed to give Bridge of Spies a perfectly old-fashioned atmosphere reminiscent of old tv mysteries – and indeed you will even find fedora-clad shadowy figures darting down New York streets after our protagonist. The atmosphere of this historical epic is further solidified with the inclusion of the old “duck and cover” educational films, spy equipment and of course the unforgettable face off on the bridge connecting East and West Berlin.
Bridge of Spies is definitely worth picking up a copy for yourself to watch and be sure to grab the blu-ray combo pack as the bonus features are actually all quite riveting.
Bonus Features Include:
A CASE OF THE COLD WAR: BRIDGE OF SPIES – The story of James Donovan, Francis Gary Powers and Rudolf Abel encapsulates the Cold War era—a tense political climate shrouded in propaganda, espionage and the threat of nuclear war. This piece explores the characters and the real-life people they’re based on, ordinary men in extraordinary circumstances. Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks share personal stories of the Cold War, describing how experiences from their youth were part of the attraction to the script, how this influenced the way they approached the film and why the history behind Bride Of Spies resonates across generations and is relevant in today’s political climate.
U-2 SPY PLANE: BEALE AIR FORCE BASE – Showcases spectacular footage shot at the Beale Air Force Base of the U-2 plane and the scene where Powers and other pilots are instructed about their spying mission, including a cameo appearance in the film by Francis Gary Powers son, Gary Powers Jr. and discussion with the Air Force liaison about the significance of the scene and why they got behind the film.
SPY SWAP: LOOKING BACK ON THE FINAL ACT – Steven Spielberg and his team stage the pivotal scene of the film at Glienicke Bridge, the very same location where the historic exchange of Soviet spy Rudolf Abel and U-2 spy plane pilot Francis Gary Powers took place. Gary Powers Jr. shares his memories of his father’s experience with voiceover recordings from Francis Gary Powers, as filmmakers and the cast recreate a page of Cold War history while filming in the presence of Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel.
BERLIN 1961: RECREATING THE DIVIDE – A mix of behind-the-scenes footage with iconic archival imagery transports viewers to another place and time as the filmmakers construct the Berlin Wall, envision what it was like to cross through Checkpoint Charlie, and recreate the divide. On set in Berlin just days after the 25th anniversary celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a historian who lived through the experience describes what being there means to her. In Poland, where the Wall was recreated for the film, tanks, hundreds of extras and powerful sequences make the setting feel epic and surreal.
* Digital bonus offerings may vary by retailer
Elizabeth Lampman is a coffee-fuelled Mom of 2 girls and lives in Hamilton, Ontario. She enjoys travelling, developing easy recipes, crafting, taking on diy projects, travelling and saving money!