Brooklyn Bridge (1981)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5

USA, 1981.  Florentine Films, WETA, WNET Channel 13 New York.  Screenplay by .  Cinematography by Ken Burns.  Produced by Ken Burns, , , Amy Stechler.  Music by .  Film Editing by Amy Stechler.  

Heartfelt tribute to the architectural wonder that has been capturing the world’s imagination since its erection in 1883. Ken Burns applies his accustomed linear style (everything categorized and in order) to telling the history of the creation of the Brooklyn Bridge, its difficult construction, political climate and cultural influence, and accomplishes this using photographs, drawings, and recreated testimonies from letters read aloud, all in sixty short minutes of film.

Some of the photography is staggeringly beautiful, and you’ll be shocked to find out just how much work went into creating this impressive bridge, particularly its massive towers. Burns would do an even better job with his later documentary on the Statue Of Liberty, and while his wholly conventional approach to documentary filmmaking can sometimes come off dry, this one is definitely informative and lives up to the director’s reputation for being a great chronicler of important aspects of American history.

Academy Award Nomination:  Best Documentary Feature


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