BRIDGE OF SPIES [2015 / 2016] [Blu-ray + Digital HD ULTRAVIOLET] [UK Release]
Inspired By True Events! Magnificent Cold War Thriller! One of Steven Spielberg’s Finest Films!

A dramatic thriller set against the backdrop of a series of historic events. Directed by three-time Academy Awards® winner Steven Spielberg ‘BRIDGE OF SPIES.’ Tells the story of James Donovan [Tom Hanks], an insurance claims lawyer from Brooklyn who finds himself thrust into the centre of the Cold War when the CIA enlists his support to negotiate the release of a captured American U-2 pilot. High stakes and suspense power of a story that is inspired by the true events that captures the essence of a man who risked everything, and that vividly brings his personal journey to life.

FILM FACT No.1: Awards and Nominations: 2015 Academy Awards®: Win: Best Supporting Actor for Mark Rylance. Nominated: Best Picture for Kristie Macosko Krieger, Marc Platt and Steven Spielberg. Nominated: Best Original Screenplay for Matt Charman, Ethan Joel and Ethan Coen. Nominated: Best Original Score for Thomas Newman. Nominated: Best Production Design for Adam Stockhausen, Bernhard Henrich and Rena DeAngelo. Nominated: Best Sound Mixing for Drew Kunin, Andy Nelson and Gary Rydstrom. 2015 American Film Institute Awards: Win: Top 10 Films of the Year for Kristie Macosko Krieger, Marc Platt and Steven Spielberg. 2015 British Academy Film Awards: Win: Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Mark Rylance. Nominated: Best Film for Kristie Macosko Krieger, Marc Platt and Steven Spielberg. Nominated: Best Direction for Steven Spielberg. Nominated: Best Original Screenplay for Matt Charman, Ethan Joel and Ethan Coen. Nominated: Best Film Music for Thomas Newman. Nominated: Best Cinematography for Janusz Kami'ski. Nominated: Best Editing for Michael Kahn. Nominated: Best Production Design for Adam Stockhausen, Bernhard Henrich and Rena DeAngelo. Nominated: Best Sound for Drew Kunin, Richard Hymns, Andy Nelson and Gary Rydstrom. 2015 Golden Globe® Awards: Nominated: Best Supporting Actor for Mark Rylance. 2015 New York Film Critics Circle: Win: Best Supporting Actor for Mark Rylance. 2015 Screen Actors Guild Awards: Nominated: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role for Mark Rylance. 2015 Writers Guild of America Award: Nominated: Best Original Screenplay for Matt Charman, Ethan Joel and Ethan Coen.

FILM FACT No.2: ‘BRIDGE OF SPIES’ was shot under the working title of “St. James Place.” Principal photography began on the 8th September, 2014, in Brooklyn, New York City, and the production proceeded at Babelsberg Studios in Potsdam in Berlin. ‘BRIDGE OF SPIES’ is based on the real-life events. The film, however, departs from the historical record, though reviewers have praised the film and argued that such departures are permissible. Commentators have noted that the shortening of timespans in the film at times gives a misleading impression. One key example is the depiction of the Berlin Wall. Donovan did not see Berlin wall escapees being shot; the shootings most similar to the ones depicted were those associated with the killing of Peter Fechter that happened the summer after the Gary Powers/Rudolf Abel exchange on the Glienicke Bridge. Frequent Steven Spielberg collaborator John Williams was originally announced to compose the film's score. However, John Williams had to drop out of production due to a health issue. A suggestion by John Williams, that Thomas Newman be used instead and was then contacted by Steven Spielberg to replace John Williams, marking Steven Spielberg's first film without John Williams's music film score since 1985's ‘The Color Purple,’ which was scored by Quincy Jones.

Cast: Mark Rylance, Domenick Lombardozzi, Victor Verhaeghe, Mark Fichera, Brian Hutchison, Tom Hanks, Joshua Harto, Henny Russell, Rebekah Brockman, Alan Alda, John Rue, Billy Magnussen, Amy Ryan, Jillian Lebling, Noah Schnapp, Eve Hewson, Joel Brady, Austin Stowell, Michael Pemberton, Jesse Plemons, Geoffrey Rude, Michael Rempen, Michael Gaston, Dakin Matthews, Stephen Kunken, Scott Shepherd, Jon Curry, Wes McGee, Jim C. Ferris, Lucia Ryan, Nolan Lyons, Hayley Feinstein, Victoria Leigh, Sawyer Barth, Ashlie Atkinson, Haley Rawson, Laurie Dawn, Andy Schneeflock, James Lorinz, Patricia Squire, Mario Corry, Donavon Dietz, Le Clanché du Rand, Mike Houston, Joe Starr, Hamilton Clancy, Jonathan Walker, Greg Nutcher, Tracy Howe, Edward James Hyland, John Taylor, Steven Boyer, John Henry Cox, Mark Zak, Victor Schefé, Peter McRobbie, Will Rogers, Daniela Schulz, Moritz Berg, Emma Nazahn, Matthias Scherwenikas, Greta Galisch de Palma, Matilda Palma Galisch, Nadja Bobyleva, Kai Wido Meyer, Kristoffer Fuss, Thomas Hacikoglu, David Wilson Barnes, Joe Forbrich, Henning Bormann, Ketel Weber, Maik Rogge, Tim Morten Uhlenbrock, Matthias Gärtner, Rafael Gareisen, Nico Ehrenteit, Radik Golovkov, Petra-Maria Cammin, Luce Dreznin, Michael Schenk, Mikhail Gorevoy, Sebastian Koch, Wanja Götz, Stefan Langel, Vladimir Vilanov, Ivan Shvedoff, Merab Ninidze, Konstantin Frolov, Steve Cirbus, Michael Kranz, Max Kidd, Frederic Heidorn, Nils Malten, Nina Gummich, Burghart Klaußner, Max Mauff, Jon Donahue, Martin Dew, Peter Arpesella (voice)(uncredited), Joachim Paul Assböck (uncredited), Marshall Axt (uncredited), Guy Ayad (uncredited), Jacqueline Beer (archive footage) (uncredited), Helen Brackel (uncredited), C.T. Brauner (uncredited), Edd Byrnes (archive footage) (uncredited), Marko Caka (uncredited), Yaz Canli (uncredited), Phil Cappadora (uncredited), Giovanni Celentano (uncredited), Vincent Cucuzza (uncredited), Dennis Duswalt (uncredited), James Farley (uncredited), Michael Wren Gucciardo (uncredited), Michael Simon Hall (uncredited), Marc A. Hermann (uncredited), Robert Homann-Cauquil (uncredited), Benjamin Kohzer (uncredited), Ron Komora (uncredited), Alim Kouliev (voice) (uncredited), Alex M. Kowall (uncredited), Vitali Kwillitsch (uncredited), David Lamberton (uncredited), Richard Long (archive footage) (uncredited), Will MacAdam (uncredited), Kevin Medina (uncredited), J. T. O'Connor (uncredited), John Ohkuma (uncredited), Michael Power (uncredited), Francis Gary Powers Jr. (uncredited),           David L. Price (uncredited), Pavel Shatu (uncredited), Roger Smith (archive footage) (uncredited), John Vaughan (uncredited),  Junes Zahdi (uncredited), and Leonard Zimmerman (uncredited)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Producers: Adam Somner, Charlie Woebcken, Christoph Fisser, Daniel Lupi, Henning Molfenter, Jeff Skoll, Jonathan King, Kristie Macosko Krieger, Marc Platt and Steven Spielberg

Screenplay: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen and Matt Charman

Composer: Thomas Newman

Cinematography: Janusz Kami'ski (Director of Photography)

Image Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Audio: English: 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
English: 5.1 Dolby Digital Descriptive Audio
French: 5.1 DTS Surround Sound
German: 5.1 DTS Surround Sound
Italian: 5.1 DTS Surround Sound
Russian: 5.1 DTS Surround Sound
Czech: 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio
Hungarian: 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio
Polish: 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio
Turkish: 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio
Ukrainian: 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio
English: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo Audio

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Dutch, German, Italian, Russian, Arabic, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Estonian, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Chinese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Turkish and Ukrainian

Running Time: 141 minutes

Region: All Regions

Number of discs: 1

Studio: 20th Century Fox / DreamWorks

Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: ‘BRIDGE OF SPIES’ [2015] is a truly finely magnificent crafted film, and also a beautifully acted spy thriller film that offers the viewer intrigue, mystery and danger. It’s based on a true story and some of the key points of the film were shot on the very locations where the incidents took place.

Tom Hanks portrays lawyer James B. Donovan who is asked to take on a criminal case and even though he hasn’t done so for years. This one is important though, so he agrees, even though he knows it will make him the second most vilified man in America. The most vilified is the man he’s representing Rudolf Abel [Mark Rylance] a man who is believed to be a Russian spy, despite his British accent and home base in Germany.

Mark Rylance turns in a total awe inspiring excellent performance, worthy of his Awards, understated performance of a quiet, unassuming man whose main hobby is painting. That’s just what he’s doing when the Feds bust in to his apartment and arrest him. He quietly complies, and when he meets Rudolf Abel for the first time, he is just as quiet and compliant, despite the fact that he’s facing the electric chair. As he tells Rudolf Abel numerous times, “Would worrying help?” James B. Donovan grows to like Rudolf Abel, who, if a threat to the United States seems docile and meek.

This is set during the height of the Cold War period, a time when director Steven Spielberg was growing up, and he really nails the emotion of the time period and the sentiment among Americans. They were terrified that a bomb would drop on the United States of America that would kill them all, or at the very least, deprive them of basic necessities, such as water. James B. Donovan’s son, after watching an instructional film at school as to what to do if the Soviets drop a bomb, is terrified and fills the bathtub full of water in preparation. The rest of America is just as on edge, and when James B. Donovan accepts Rudolf Abel’s case, his entire family becomes a target.

Tom Hanks brings a quiet strength to his character where James B. Donovan is a moral man who cares very much about the welfare of other people. James B. Donovan doesn’t see Rudolf Abel as a threat, but as a man doing what his country ordered him to do. Rudolf Abel believes lives are more important than politics and his persistence plays a very big role in what comes about when an American pilot Francis Gary Powers [Austin Stowell] is captured by Russia, and Frederic Pryor [Will Rogers] a young American man studying in Germany is taken into custody just as the Berlin wall is going up.

There’s a scene at the end, when James B. Donovan is on a train, that mirrors an earlier moment he had on a train while in Europe. James B. Donovan saw something horrifying and what he spots brings back that memory. It’s a brilliant, moving way to end the film, and while watching, I wondered if it was the brainchild of the screenwriters or the director. It was neither. While watching the bonus features, I learned that Tom Hanks came up with the idea and presented it to Steven Spielberg, who liked it and agreed to end the film that way. So all in all this is a totally amazing spy thriller film that keeps you on the edge of your seat, even though you know the final outcome.


PLEASE SEND SOMEONE TO LOVE (Written by Percy Mayfield) [Performed by Red Garland]

NANCY (With the Laughing Face) (Written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Phil Silvers) [Performed by The Bill Watrous Quartet]

Concerto N. 2 for Piano and Orchestra Op 102 (Written by Dmitrij Dmitievi Shostakovich) [Performed by Andrey Gugnin, piano with The Moscow Chamber Orchestra] [Conducted by Constantine Orbelian]

77 SUNSET STRIP from TV Series “77 Sunset Strip” [1958] (Written by Mack David and Jerry Livingston)

MY ROMANCE (Written by Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers) [Performed by Dick Hyman]

UNFORGETTABLE (Written by Irving Gordon) [Performed by Hugh Brodie]

Blu-ray Image Quality – 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks presents this amazing Blu-ray disc with feast for all your senses that has totally awesome 1080p image clarity that far exceeds the theatrical presentation of the film and is of course enhanced with a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. All elements of all of every image are in constant focus. Colours, particularly the blacks and blues, are luscious, nearly viscous, suggesting tangible extra dimensions within the frame. Whites often affirm the film's theme of truth as existing in shards, splintering images, especially the white light reflecting off of the heavy rain in a notably expressionist chase scene. Textures are tactile, from the coats worn by the characters to the various tools of espionage used by agents to the gears and gadgets within the U-2 plane.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks brings us this amazing Blu-ray disc with a totally brilliant awe inspiring 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack aurally complements the hyper-detail of the imagery, often abounding in subtle exaggerations of everyday noises: of a rumbling train jostling riders on their daily commute, of the aforementioned raindrops hitting the pavement, of feet tramping across a shabby floor, of a spy delicately removing a razor to open a hidden piece of information. This presentation celebrates the beauty of exacting density.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Special Feature: A Case of the Cold War: ‘BRIDGE OF SPIES’ [2015] [1080p] [1.78:1] [17:45] Filled with archival footage/audio, interviews with the actors, director, writer, historian and the real people from the story, this is the first of the features to serve as a history lesson for the real events and shows what was happening in the world in the late 1950s, when there was tension between Russia and the U.S.A and there was a very real threat of war. Francis Gary Powers Jr. talks about his father’s beginnings and how he became a pilot. With American student Frederic L. Pryor reveals what he went through in East Germany when the Berlin wall went up. We discover that Francis Gary Powers trial is re-enacted in the film word for word from the actual trial. Following Rudolph Abel return to Russia, to be reunited with his wife and daughter, Rudolph Abel was never publicity acknowledged by the Soviet Union as a spy. Francis Gary Powers died in a helicopter crash in 1977, while working for KNBC News. Francis Gary Powers were posthumously awarded the CIA Director’s Medal and the USAF POW Medal in 2000 and the Silver Star in 2012. In 1962, Frederic L. Pryor received his Ph.D. in Economics from Yale University and now Frederic L. Pryor is currently Professor Emeritus of Economics and Senior Research Scholar of Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, U.S.A. Following the successful conclusion of the Powers-Abel exchange, James B. Donovan was asked by President John F. Kennedy to undertake further negotiations on behalf of the U.S.A. In the summers of 1962, James B. Donovan was sent to Cuba to discuss with Fidel Castro the terms of the release of 1,113 prisoners held after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. When James B. Donovan finished negotiations, James B. Donovan secured the release of 9,703 men, women and children.

Special Feature: Berlin 1961: Re-Creating the Divide [2015] [1080p] [1.78:1] [11:35] Kicking off with a history lesson of the time, this feature explains how the Berlin locations were re-created in actual Berlin and how many of the actual locations were re-dressed to match the time. Tom Hanks talks about the historical aspect of filming in East Germany where the actual events took place. Archive footage of the time shows young people trying to get through barbed wire to get to freedom. American technical consultant Jane R. Helmchen, who worked in West Germany as a teacher just after the wall was built, talks about how difficult it was to get through to East Germany from West Germany at the time. We see how parts of East Berlin were recreated for the film, because modern day Berlin is much too different now, and Marc Platt [Producer] says that they located to the Polish town Wrocław is a city on the Oder River in western Poland, that they found to have Berlin 1961 architecture that was totally perfect to recreating Berlin in 1961. Near the end of this special feature you see Tom Hanks on the New York Subway travelling to work and Tom Hanks looks out of the window to see young men jumping over fences in some different neighbours back gardens, and the same time you see young men and women trying to climb over the Berlin Wall and being shot by the East German Guards, which Tom Hanks suggested to director Steven Spielberg, who thought it was a perfect solution and to actually see this near the end of the film.

Special Feature: U-2 Spy Plane [2015] [1080p] [1.78:1] [8:45] They had the full cooperation of the Department of Defense and also the U.S. Air Force Project Officer, Lt. Col. Glen Roberts full cooperation. The actual U-2 spy planes were used for the film's shoot. The ground and take-off footage was captured with fully functional and still-in-use U-2 planes. The in-flight stunt sequences were obviously shot with mechanised set pieces and a CGI backdrop, which is also shown in this feature. This gives you a look at what it took to film the scenes involving the pilots. Francis Gary Powers Jr. reveals that he worked as a technical consultant as well as an extra on the film and was very proud to honour his Father, Francis Gary Powers and Francis Gary Powers Jr. comments that this film is a great legacy for future generations, in knowing what actual happened in those dark days in 1961’s Cold War scenario. In a rare audio voice over, his Father, Francis Gary Powers, describes what happened within his plane after he was shot down.

Special Feature: Spy Swap: Looking Back on the Final Act [2015] [1080p] [1.78:1] [5:42] Here with the film's climax, we witness the actual location where we have the prisoner exchange scene was filmed on the Glienicke Bridge (the so-called “Bridge of Spies”), where the historical exchange actually took place in 1962. The bridge spans the Havel narrows between Berlin and Potsdam, and was closed to traffic for filming over the last weekend of November. German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the set to watch the filming of these scenes. Principal photography officially ended on December 4, at Berlin Tempelhof, where it unfolded and see how the location was shot to make the bridge become more than just a location setting, but a character within the film. The bridge swap is re-enacted on the actual bridge where the exchange took place. Once again we hear a rare voice recording of Francis Gary Powers talking about being imprisoned in Russia. Francis Gary Powers Jr. reveals to us that his Father, Francis Gary Powers wasn’t aware of what was being reported about him at the time in the U.S.A. press and some were saying that he had defected and told the Russians all the information he knew about the technical details of the U-2 Spy Plane, and was planning to live there, none of which was true. Frederick L. Pryor informs us about the actual real time in 1961 when he was going to be swapped at the same time as Rudolph Abel, but in reality had to sit in the car for hours and was not informed on what was going on., especially with the East German authorities. All in all, this was quite a fascinating and interesting special feature, especially seeing the behind-the-scenes of the last days of shooting the ‘BRIDGE OF SPIES’ film, in recreating the actual event on the historic Berlin bridge.

Special Feature: Credits [2015] [1080p] [1.78:1] [1:03] This particular item is entitled “BRIDGE OF SPIES DOCUMENTARIES” and it gives you complete information on all the people who were involved with the four special feature documentaries.

Finally, ‘BRIDGE OF SPIES’ is a totally grippingly engrossing and expressive espionage yarn, another exemplary entry in Steven Spielberg's late-career period, receives a top-tier, must-buy transfer. What makes it great is that it's an entirely perfect package. From the acting, the directing to writing, the lighting, and every single aspect of it is totally flawless. It's a perfectly oiled machine in which all of the moving parts function with great precision. The extremely accurate true story is one that is totally entertaining to watch and especially unfolding before your eyes. You will be totally surprised that you have not heard of this real-life Cold War story until now. The Blu-ray features perfect video and audio experiences, making this even more of a perfect package. While the Blu-ray disc could have benefited from a higher quantity of special features, those that are included are of great quality, as well of great interest and will satisfy those who want to know more historical information about the era in which it is set in in 1961, and the true story upon which the film is based, and how the film adaptation was realized. If you haven't yet seen this six-time Oscar® nominated highly rewarding film, then it is definitely must own for your Steven Spielberg Blu-ray Collection. Very Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado 
Le Cinema Paradiso 
United Kingdom

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