Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (1990): Ivory’s Oscar-Nominated Tale, Starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward

Based on two separate novels by Evan S. Connell, Mr. & Mrs. Bridge represent an excursion into Americana by the Ismail Merchant-James Ivory team.  As such, it differs from their other, better known films, which are adaptation of literary English classics (Howards End, A Room With a View)

It was easy to market this serio-comedy as Mr. and Mrs. Bridge are played by real-life “Mr. and Mrs” Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, who have not made a movie together in decades.

The Bridges are wealthy residents of Kansas City in the 1940s. Mr. (Walter) Bridge treats his wife like property, regards his grown children as adolescents, and votes against that upstart Roosevelt.

Mr. Bridges’ old-fashioned obstinacy can be amusing: In one scene, he orders Mrs. Bridge not to leave their table at their country club despite tornado warnings; they sit in the deserted dining room while the building shakes. Mrs. Bridge’s life is totally defined by those around her.


Oscar Nominations: 1

Best Actress: Joanne Woodward

Oscar Context:

The winner was Kathy Bates for Misery.


MPAA: PG-13.

Running time: 127 minutes.

Directed by James Ivory

Released: November 23, 1990

DVD: February 13, 2001

Miramax Films