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directed by Georg Fenady
USA 1983

A man rushing his infant son to the hospital…a police officer pursuing a suspect…a middle-aged secretary…eloping lovebirds…a soon-to-be nun…a house painter. They have places to go, things to do and the best way to get to those places and do those things is to cross the Madison Bridge. But, just like that, there’s a big problem. The bridge partially gives way, stranding nine people and threatening to collapse at any moment. There’s another problem, too. A panicked, gun-wielding bank robber using the bridge as his escape route refuses to let rescuers draw near. Hollywood hitmaker Irwin Allen suspense fully spans the hours with the event-packed tale of The Night the Bridge Fell Down!


In this disaster movie, eight people stranded on a bridge find their lives jeopardized after a collision has caused the unstable structure to collapse. One of the eight is a bank robber on the lam.


The Night the Bridge Fell Down is an American action film starring James MacArthur, Desi Arnaz Jr., and Leslie Nielsen. The movie was produced by Irwin Allen in 1979 in association with Warner Bros. Television for NBC but not aired until February 28, 1983 - the same night the final original episode of M*A*S*H ("Goodbye, Farewell and Amen") aired on rival network CBS.

The fictional Madison Bridge is represented by the Astoria-Megler Bridge on the Columbia River, the longest continuous truss bridge in North America.

Engineer Cal Miller's unauthorized attempt to close off the dangerously unstable Madison Bridge is foiled by the police pursuit of a robbery suspect. The chase ends in a multi-car accident in the middle of the bridge, which begins falling apart during the confusion. Miller organizes a rescue operation for the handful of bystanders who find themselves stranded with the armed suspect and a wounded policeman on a short stretch of crumbling pavement high atop a single collapsing pylon.

Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE


Television Premiere: February 28th, 1983


Reviews                                                               More Reviews                                                       DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Warner Home Video (Warner Archive Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC

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Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:37:12 + 1:37:00

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.53 mb/s + 5.44 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate: Disc 1

Bitrate: Disc 2

Audio Dolby Digital 1.0 (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original - 1.33:1 matted to 1.78:1 frame

Edition Details:
• None

DVD Release Date: July 7th, 2010
Keep Case

Chapters 10 + 10





Produced by Irwin Allen (Earthquake, The Towering Inferno, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea), The Night the Bridge Fell Down is quintessential TV disaster-schlock from the maestro of the genre. Relegated to a two-part television mini-series - this suited my mood, and Scotch libation, to a 'T'. A strong cast of supporting players including Desi Arnaz Jr., Leslie Nielsen, James "Book 'em, Danno" MacArthur, Eve "Ohh Jan" Plumb, Gregory Sierra from Barney Miller fame, Barbara Rush with 100's of film and TV credits including, notably, James Mason's wife in Nicholas Ray's Bigger Than Life, and even a mustachioed Philip Baker Hall (Magnolia) is here! We get all the un-original conventions of a paced yet imminent disaster. What nostalgic fun!

It's two, standard, single-layered Warner MoD (Made-on-Demand) discs - both progressive and they look about equal. This is one of those 1.33:1 aspect ratios matted to an anamorphic 1.78:1 frame (960X540). It looks quite consistent - better-than-average for TV-to-SD.  It's quite clean and colors are not faded much. Decent contrast - but not a lot of depth.

The mono sound is solid supporting the score by Richard LaSalle with some auspicious genre TV credits on his resume (Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Wonder Woman, The Amazing Captain Nemo, Fire!, Flood!, The Swiss Family Robinson). The outright duplication (homage?) of the Vertigo theme is extremely obvious (in Arnaz' first climb down and again as the group descends in Part 2.) It is occasionally misplaced in the action, but frequently dramatic - not unlike Herrmann's iconic work. There are no subtitles nor extras on the region FREE disc.

So none of my colleagues, on any other sites, have reviewed this DVD package - that has been out for almost 5 years! I could watch 100 similar genre efforts - especially those buried in their premiere by the final episode of M*A*S*H. I've been having a ball watching some 70s-80's-ish TV-movies lately (The Legend of Lizzie Borden, Black Widow Murders: The Blanche Taylor Moore Story, The Stranger Within, Dying Room Only). This suited me so well. I loved every minute of the 3-hour running time. I realize this wouldn't be considered 'good' by many - but sometimes you actually want a the predictability of a 'Big Mac'.  Recommended to those who might find it as nostalgic and mundanely fun as I did.  

  - Gary Tooze



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Region 0 - NTSC


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