Bridge of Spies

Bridge of Spies

Steven Spielberg (2015)

12A Certificate


Our Score
Steven Spielberg's gloriously glossy espionage drama spins a complex story of political intrigue and patriotism into timeless Hollywood entertainment. Inspired by real events and set during the height of the Cold War, it follows James B Donovan (Tom Hanks), a principled insurance lawyer who agrees to represent unassuming artist and Soviet spy Rudolf Abel (Oscar winner Mark Rylance). When two Americans are captured by the Soviets and the GDR respectively, Donovan heads to Berlin to negotiate a prisoner exchange. Sumptuously shot with eye-catching period detail, Bridge of Spies looks the part. However, the shift between the glow of America and the grey of Berlin is a little crude, the score is overwrought and Donovan's domestic scenes are cloying. Yet this predominantly balanced affair illustrates how a paranoid climate threatens ideals, and Spielberg finds humour in the escalating subterfuge. It's classy and engrossing with Rylance's mole-like Abel heartbreaking in his dignity. The film seems slowed to match the pace of his riveting performance, while its compassionate message is written all over his face.


A lawyer in 1950s New York is hired to represent a Soviet spy in a showcase trial designed to demonstrate the fairness of the US justice system. In the face of public condemnation, he argues against the death penalty, a stance that years later leads to his involvement in an exchange of prisoners in East Germany. Steven Spielberg's fact-based Cold War drama, starring Tom Hanks and an Oscar-winning Mark Rylance.

Cast & Crew

James B Donovan Tom Hanks
Rudolf Abel Mark Rylance
Mary Donovan Amy Ryan
Hoffman Scott Shepherd
Vogel Sebastian Koch
Thomas Watters Jr Alan Alda
Francis Gary Powers Austin Stowell
Ivan Schischkin Mikhail Gorevoy
Frederic Pryor Will Rogers (2)
Carol Donovan Eve Hewson
Director Steven Spielberg
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: 20th Century FoxGuidance: Violence, swearing.Available on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 27 Nov 2015