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also known as La Rivière du Hibou

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge1962

  • 4.2
The Civil War. A nation torn apart. A war fought in great battles, and a war fought on a much smaller scale, within the minds and hearts of a nation’s young men. On a lonely bridge a group of soldiers prepare for the somber task of hanging one of their countrymen, now an enemy, for sabotage. Ambrose Bierce’s heralded story from “Tales of Soldiers and Civilians” begins on this isolated bridge and envelops a journey through the mind and dreams of a man facing death. This highly acclaimed film includes among its honors an Academy Award® and the Cannes Film Festival Grand Prix Award.

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1 member likes this review

I saw this on tv when I was 12 and never forgot it. Haunting and dreamlike. Wonderful soundtrack.

Member Reviews (7)

I saw this on tv when I was 12 and never forgot it. Haunting and dreamlike. Wonderful soundtrack.

1 member likes this review
top reviewer

There is a paradoxical conundrum here. “Owl Creek Bridge” is one of the truly great short stories in literature. So great in fact, the plot has been adapted, borrowed, stolen, hijacked, and vivisected numerous times in other films, tv shows, comic books, and so on. And like other well-known/well-worn tales such as “The Most Dangerous Game” and “The Gift of the Magi,” we know how it will all end up before it’s even started.

That said, Robert Enrico’s 1962 film is still the definitive version of Ambrose Bierce’s amazing tale. The eerie atmosphere, minimal composition and taut suspense of this film are reminiscent of the work of Georges Franju and Henri-Georges Clouzot. Equally chilling (though lesser-known) are Erico’s other two film adaptations of Bierce stories, “Chickamauga,” and “The Mockingbird.” Those two films are highly recommended.

top reviewer

I remembered this from high school. It was a ONE REELER for my English class. Somehow it seemed more amazing when I was fifteen, but really, it is simply that this story has been retold so many times in the intervening years, and this film was so seminal that most filmmakers have it I n their subconscious minds. It is a classic.

top reviewer

I wonder if Tarkovsky saw that opening shot before he made Ivan? Beautiful and poetic.

I'm not reviewing the film itself, which is quite good and well worth watching, but not here on Fandor. The quality of the print here is so poor, in both video and audio, that it would be a disservice to watch this film for the first time here. Hopefully somewhere down the line, a better print of this will come along. (March 21, 2016)


good ending