Bridges at Toko-Ri, The (1955): Starring William Holden and Grace Kelly

Based on the novel by James Michener, The Bridges at Toko-Ri, was adapted to the screen by Valentine Davies.

It stars William Holden and Grace Kelly at the height of their appeal and popularity. (The two were romantically involved, while Holden was married).

Holden, fresh off from winning an Oscar for “Stalag 17,” plays Harry Brubaker, a former military pilot who served in World War II. When he’s called back into duty during the Korean conflict, Brubaker is angry, believing he’s already served his country and needs to devote more time to his wife Nancy (Grace Kelly) and their children.

However, he accepts his commission and is sent back into action as a pilot, with a special assignment to blow up five strategically located bridges in Korea.

Mark Robson (“Peyton Place”) directed this intelligent drama, which focuses on the futility of war and its heavy price on domestic lives. The film’s ambiguous attitude toward war was uncharacteristic of Hollywood movies of the 1950s, during the McCarthy era.

The supporting cast includes two-time Oscar-winner Frederic March as an admiral who respects the danger of Brubaker’s assignment, and Mickey Rooney as an ill-fated helicopter pilot.

Oscar Context

The action sequences earned an Oscar Award for Special Effects, and the editing garnered a well deserved Oscar nomination.


Running time: 103 Minutes.
Directed by Mark Robson
Screenplay by Valentine Davies, based on the novel by James A. Michener


William Holden as Lt. Hany Brubaker USNR
Grace Kelly as Nancy Brubaker
Fredric March as Rear Adm. George Tarran
Mickey Rooney as Mike Forney
Earl Holliman as Nestor Gamidge
Robert Strauss as Beer Barrel