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“Bridge of Spies”: Finding Courage to Do What’s Right

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Today, we introduce the Oscar-winning film “Bridge of Spies,” inspired by a true historical event: the first prisoner exchange on Glienicke Bridge in February 1962.

Insurance lawyer James Donovan is played by the famous American actor Tom Hanks. Donovan is skilled at his job and has a happy family life. But things change when, in 1957, Donovan is asked by the American Bar Association to defend the Russian spy Rudolf Abel. They want to show that “even a spy gets a capable advocate.” Although his client is convicted of all the charges, Donovan does successfully convince the judge to spare Abel from the death penalty, advocating that it is in the “best interests of the US” if he remains alive in accordance with the humanitarian standards.

Then, an American pilot Gary Powers, who works for the CIA, is detained in Soviet Union territory. Donovan is chosen to negotiate, as a private citizen, the exchange of Abel and Powers in East Berlin. To make things even more complicated, an innocent American graduate student named Frederic Pryor is arrested in East Berlin right before Donovan’s arrival. With the CIA only supporting the exchange for Powers, how can Donovan save both American citizens? He must negotiate alone, in an unfriendly environment, where he knows no one.

“Bridge of Spies” was directed by acclaimed filmmaker Steven Spielberg, and the screenplay was written by Matt Charman, together with brothers Ethan and Joel Coen. The film highlights the need to value human rights and ethical behavior at all times. As Donovan endeavors to save Abel’s life, the two develop a mutual respect for each other, and we witness brotherhood that defies conflict and borders. Amidst the turmoil and uncertainty, we have a beautiful story of friendship.

While depicting the constant fear, worry, and suspicion aroused during times of conflict, “Bridge of Spies” also imparts the importance of fair and humane treatment for all individuals. The film is both exciting and intricate, a riveting historical drama that reminds viewers of the preciousness of peace and understanding.
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