Under the Radar

Fighting the Cold War on a 'Bridge of Spies'



This is a surprise. The "untitled Cold War thriller" from director Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks is called Bridge of Spies. The first trailer has just debuted and the movie tells the story of insurance attorney James Donovan, tasked with representing captured Soviet spy Rudolf Abel and given responsibility of negotiating a spy exchange with the USSR: Abel for downed U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers.


The Soviet capture of the American spy plane pilot was one of the great dramas of the Cold War. Powers was shot down over Sverdlovsk on May 1, 1960 and his plane and camera equipment was recovered almost intact. After a public apology (and possible forced confession) from the pilot, the U.S. government spent almost two years negotiating a spy exchange that took place on February 10, 1962 on Glienicke Bridge in Germany. (Apologies to our most hardcore Cold Warriors for referring to Powers as a "spy," even though he was one.)

The film is set for an October 16th release and also stars the great Mark Rylance (recently seen as Thomas Cromwell on Wolf Hall and as the bad guy in The Gunman) as Abel and Austin Stowell (best known as Jesse on The Secret Life of the American Teenager) as Powers. Joel & Ethan Coen continue their career as military-themed screenwriters-for-hire, following Unbroken with a co-writing credit on Bridge of Spies.

We'll have more details on the film as we get closer to release.

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