Bridge of Spies Review Roundup: Did Critics Like Steven Spielberg’s Cold War Spy Film With Tom Hanks?

Tom Hanks, Bridge of Spies

Tom Hanks, Bridge of SpiesJaap Buitendijk / DreamWorks II Distribution Co., LLC and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Tom Hanks reunites with Steven Spielberg for the new film Bridge of Spies, which is inspired by a gripping, true story from the Cold War.

The 59-year-old actor plays James B. Donovan, a lawyer who is recruited by the CIA to negotiate the return of Francis Gary Powers, played by Austin Stowell, 30, an American pilot whose U-2 spy plane was shot down in 1960 by Soviet fighter jets, leading to his capture by the KGB. He was interrogated, convicted of spying and sentenced to three years in prison and seven years of hard labor.

The movie also stars Amy Ryan as Hanks’ character’s wife, while Mark Rylance, 55, plays a captured Soviet spy, Rudolf Abel.

Hanks worked with Spielberg on the movie Saving Private Ryan and the romantic drama The Terminal. The two also co-produced the war miniseries Band of Brothers and The Pacific.

Bridge of Spies is the first movie Spielberg has directed since the 2012 film Lincoln and was written by brothers Joel Coen and Ethan Coen as well as Matt Charman. The movie was released on Friday. 

PHOTOS: Nina Dobrev and Austin Stowell make their red carpet debut as a couple: See pics from the Bridge of Spies premiere

Check out five reviews of Bridge of Spies.

1. The Chicago Sun-Times‘ Richard Roeper gives the film 4 out of 4 stars.

“Spielberg and his superb cinematographer Janusz Kaminski deliver some excellent visual callbacks,” he writes, adding, “The supporting cast, including Amy Ryan as Donovan’s wife and Scott Shepherd as a CIA operative who becomes Donovan’s unofficial partner in espionage, is first-rate. Hanks will be in the conversation for best actor, Rylance will almost certainly be nominated for best supporting actor, and when the titles of the five-plus films nominated for best picture are announced, it will be a surprise if Bridge of Spies doesn’t make the cut.”

2. Mashable’s Jordan Hoffman says Bridge of Spies “sinks into a schmaltzy bore” and that “the movie as a whole is too reserved to interest folks who aren’t History Channel enthusiasts.”

“Other than the opening arrest and Powers’ stratospheric ejection, mainstream audiences may find themselves taken aback by how little action is in this film,” he writes. “Even with the terrific period décor and some creative lighting, Bridge of Spies could easily be adapted into a play.”

WATCH: Tom Hanks and Jimmy Fallon perform Bridge of Spies “Kid Theater”

Austin Stowell, Bridge of SpiesJaap Buitendijk / DreamWorks II Distribution Co., LLC and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

3. ReelViews’ James Berardinelli gives the movie 3 out of 4 stars.

“Tom Hanks has grown into this sort of role,” he writes. “It’s that of a grizzled warhorse who is fueled by equal parts cynicism and idealism. He’s a good man who recognizes that might not matter much. Amy Smart (as Donovan’s wife) and Sebastian Koch (as the East German lawyer who becomes involved in the negotiations) provide solid support. But the real standout is Mark Rylance, whose turn as the meek, composed Abel compels the viewer’s attention. His quiet performance steals scenes away from Hanks and everyone else.”

Tom Hanks, Amy Ryan, Bridge of SpiesJaap Buitendijk / DreamWorks II Distribution Co., LLC and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

4. Deadspin’s Will Leitch gives the film a B grade.

Bridge of Spies is effective, efficient, compelling, smart and absorbing throughout, and I still couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed. I think we’re starting to lose the Spielberg who was a risk-taker,” he writes. “Bridge of Spies is a crackling little thriller, but it’s also a safe, conventional one. It’s the first time Spielberg feels like an old fogey. It feels like an acceptance that he’s not a filmmaker for kids, anymore, but rather for their grandparents.”

5.’s Edward Douglas gives Bridge of Spies as score of 7.5 out of 10.

“The movie works better if you don’t go into it expecting some sort of Jason Bourne movie but rather as a historic drama that tries to shine the light on a man who played an important part in U.S. diplomatic relations during the Cold War,” he writes, adding, “While it takes some time to make its snail’s pace seem worthwhile, Bridge of Spies ultimately confirms that when it comes to historic dramas, Steven Spielberg is still the best.”

PHOTOS: Tom Hanks’ movie star roles!


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