Bridge of Spies (film)

2015 film directed by Steven Spielberg

Bridge of Spies is a 2015 film about an American lawyer who is recruited during the Cold War to defend an arrested Soviet spy in court, and then help the CIA facilitate an exchange of the spy for the Soviet-captured American U-2 spy plane pilot, Francis Gary Powers.

Directed by Steven Spielberg. Written by Matt Charman, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen.
In a world on the brink the difference between war and peace was one honest man.  (taglines)

James B. Donovan

  • It doesn't matter what others think. You know what you did.
  • Everyone will hate me, but at least I'll lose.
  • We need to get off this merry-go-round sir. The next mistake our countries make could be the last one. We need to have the conversation our governments can't.

Rudolf Abel

  • Well, the boss isn't always right. But, he's always the boss.
  • What's the next move when you don't know what the game is?


  • Agent Williams: We are engaged in a war. This war does not for the moment involve men at arms; it involves information. You will be collecting information. You will be gathering intelligence about the enemy. The intelligence you gather could give us the upper hand in a full thermonuclear exchange with the Soviet Union, or it could prevent one. For public purposes, as far as your wife or mother or sweetheart or the good lord above, your mission does not exist. if it does not exist, you do not exist. You cannot be shot down. You cannot be captured.


James Donovan: You have been charged with three counts and nineteen overt acts. Conspiracy to transmit United States defence and atomic secrets to the Soviet Union, conspiracy to gather secrets, and failing to register as a foreign agent.
Rudolf Abel: Do many foreign agents register?

James Donovan: Were you beaten?
Rudolf Abel: No. I was talked to. Offers were made.

James Donovan: Aren't you worried?
Rudolf Abel: Would it help?

Hoffman: Has your guy talked?
James Donovan: Excuse me?
Hoffman: You met him. Has he talked? Has he said anything yet?
James Donovan: We're not having this conversation.
Hoffman: Of course not.
James Donovan: No, I mean we are really not having it. You're asking me to violate attorney-client privilege.
Hoffman: Aw, come on, counselor.
James Donovan: You know, I wish people like you would quit saying, 'Aw, come on, counselor'. I didn't like it the first time it happened today. A judge said it to me twice. The more I hear it, the more I don't like it.
Hoffman: OK, well, listen, I understand attorney-client privilege. I understand all the legal gamesmanship, and I understand that's how you make your living, but I'm talking to you about something else, the security of your country. I'm sorry if the way I put it offends you, but we need to know what Abel is telling you. You understand me, Donovan? Don't go Boy Scout on me. We don't have a rule book here.
James Donovan: You're Agent Hoffman, yeah?
Hoffman: Yeah.
James Donovan: German extraction.
Hoffman: Yeah, so?
James Donovan: My name's Donovan. Irish, both sides. Mother and father. I'm Irish and you're German. But what makes us both Americans? Just one thing. One. Only one. The rule book. We call it the Constitution, and we agree to the rules, and that's what makes us Americans. That's all that makes us Americans. So don't tell me there's no rule book, and don't nod at me like that you son of a bitch.
[Gets up to leave]
Hoffman: Do we need to worry about you?
James Donovan: Not if I'm left alone to do my job.

Rudolf Abel: Standing there like that you reminded me of the man that used to come to our house when I was young. My father used to say: "watch this man". So I did. Every time he came. And never once did he do anything remarkable.
James Donovan: And I remind you of him?
Rudolf Abel: This one time, I was at the age of your son, our house was overrun by partisan border guards. Dozens of them. My father was beaten, my mother was beaten, and this man, my father's friend, he was beaten. And I watched this man. Every time they hit him, he stood back up again. So they hit him harder. Still he got back to his feet. I think because of this they stopped the beating. They let him live. 'Stoikiy muzhik'. I remember them saying. . Which sort of means like uh, 'standing man'... standing man...

James Donovan: The death sentence is not a foregone conclusion. Don't worry.
Rudolf Abel: I'm not afraid to die, Mr. Donovan. Although, it wouldn't be my first choice.


  • In a world on the brink the difference between war and peace was one honest man.
  • In the shadow of war, one man showed the world what we stand for.


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