"You'll all turn to dust, but one thing is sure, boys: Branston Bridge will stand unbroken."Bridges are seen as symbols for the crossroads of life, so therefore, it can also be the setting for an important plot point. Bridges are often used as meeting places, places for swaps, etc., anything relative to the plot. This is sometimes done when they form the border between two territories. They can also serve as the only connection for the isolated region to the mainland. Reaching it may put you in Liminal Time. It can also be a battlefield for two men in a duel, with the loser falling to their doom. In this scenario, underneath the bridge is a chasm, some rapids, a pit of spikes, or anything deadly. When the bridge itself is hazardous, that's Rope Bridge; when it's guarded, it's a Troll Bridge. Unlike the misleading title, this may not always involve James Brown...or Justin Timberlake.
— Union Captain, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
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Anime & Manga
- One of the Fairy Princess Minky Momo OAVs ("The Bridge Over Dreams," maybe?) had a bridge with the legend that anyone who met another person on the bridge would eventually meet them there again. The catch is that it's about to be torn down—will everyone be able to get back in time?
- The Bridge of Heaven and Earth in Naruto.
- In Saint Seiya, the way to Yamir, home of the Cloth Artisan Mu, can only be reached by crossing a bridge across a spike-lined pit. At the bottom lie the corpses of all warriors and Saints who failed to conquer the bridge, and whose restless spirits now pull any newcomers into their own deaths. Dragon Shiryu, in his quest to have Mu repair the Dragon and Pegasus Cloths, must cross this bridge.
- In Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, a lone bridge separates the neo-Deshima of the refugees from the capital. This is also starting point of the army/police crackdown.
- Several scenes in the .hack series involve bridges.
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- The Bridges of Madison County, that were covered so passerbys wouldn't interrupt all the sex.
- Subverted in The Bourne Identity when Bourne arranges a meeting on Pont Neuf but doesn't actually go. (He's merely using the rendezvous as a ploy to draw out the agents chasing him.)
- In The Movie of Prince Caspian, the Beruna Bridge becomes this.
- The Lord of the Rings. In The Film of the Book, Arwen gives the Evenstar to Aragorn on an obviously symbolic bridge.
- Connor Macleod and Sunda Kastagir meet in the first Highlander film on a bridge in Central Park.
- In The Matrix, Neo was picked up by Trinity and the others under the Adams Street bridge.
- Spider-Man Trilogy:
- In Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, that structure Luke fled onto before having his hand cut off and getting hit with a paternal revelation might or might not have been a bridge, it's hard to tell, but it certainly looks like one. Notably, the part he was trapped on was a dead end.
- The Force Awakens: Toward the end of the film, Han Solo encounters Kylo Ren on an incredibly thin bridge over a large chasm inside Starkiller Base, with no handrails preventing anyone from falling over the side.
- Bridge to Terabithia, linking our world with the world of Jesse and Leslie.
- It's actually a rope. The titular bridge doesn't appear until the end.
- Indiana Jones
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom features Indy, Short Round and Willie trapped in the middle of a rope bridge with the bad guys surrounding them. Indy: "Oh, shit."
- In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the invisible bridge (a trick of perspective) that connects the inner chambers of Alexandretta with the Grail's Tomb is devised as the ultimate test of the seeker's faith.
- Frantic. The second attempt at a Hostage for MacGuffin exchange takes place beneath the pont de Grenelle. Justified as the protagonist can threaten to throw the MacGuffin into the river if his wife isn't returned to him.
- The French film Les Amants du Pont-Neuf (The Lovers on the Bridge).
- In Show Me Love (or Fucking Åmål if you prefer), Agnes and Elin share their first real kiss on a bridge.
- The final battle in Balls of Fury takes place, in part, on a bridge.
- The final test of the student's skill at the beginning of Bulletproof Monk.
- Many War Movies will have as their focus the taking or destroying of a strategic bridge. Some examples are The Bridge on the River Kwai and Force 10 from Navarone.
- Volunteers deals with a Peace Corps unit's building of a bridge near a small Thai village and attempts by several factions to use it to take control of the region.
- Robin Hood: Men in Tights parodies the scene mentioned in Robin Hood's entry under literature. In this movie, the "river" is a tiny crick that one can straddle with no effort and the bridge is just a six-foot work over a 3-inch drop. In this one, Robin won and John feared drowning in the "river" when he lands in it.
- Sort-of done in The One, where the climactic Mirror Match between Gabe and Yulaw starts on a narrow catwalk above a factory floor. The fight them moves down to the floor itself, though.
- Bridge of Spies is named after the bridge where the climactic prisoner trade takes place (Glienicke Bridge, which also carries that nickname in Real Life).
- Oliver Twist. Nancy goes to meet Rose Maylie and Mr. Brownlow there every Saturday night though she kinda fails at times
- The original book of Bridge to Terabithia, basis for the movie.
- Older Than Print: Robin Hood first met Little John when they fought with quarterstaves over a bandit toll John had posted on a bridge. Robin lost, but John was impressed enough with his sportsmanship and abilities that he became Robin's right-hand man.
- The Princess and the Cowherd is about two lovers who are forever separated by the Milky Way, except for on the seventh day of the seventh month, when a bridge of magpies forms for them to be together.
- In The Lord of the Rings, it is at the Bridge of Khazad-dûm where Gandalf the Grey fights the Balrog, and falls.
- The Lost World (1912) features a huge tree which the heroes use as a bridge onto the plateau. Predictably, it gets destroyed, leaving them with no choice but to go forward.
- The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: Crossing the covered bridge is the only way to escape the Headless Horseman. Local reports differ, but it appears that Ichabod never made it.
- The third Skulduggery Pleasant book has a scene on Dublin's Liffey Bridge, where the heroes have to trade Fletcher, the only person in the world who can open the gate for the Faceless Ones, to the Diablerie in exchange for Grand Mage Thurid Guild. Naturally, they all double-cross each other multiple times. The Diablerie wins.
- The Ice Palace has a notable chapter midways through the book, called "bridges under snow" - implying the problems of communication between people, especially the main characters. One of them freezes to death because of this (symbolical) impassable bridge.
- Smiley's People, third of John le Carre's The Quest for Karla trilogy, has its climactic scene set on an unnamed bridge across divided Berlin, the culmination of George Smiley's final victory against Karla, by blackmailing him into defecting to the West. It's the second time in the series, and the only time outside of Smiley's flashback in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, that he meets his nemesis face-to-face; the bridge is heavily implied to be the famous "Bridge of Spies", the Glienicke Bridge.
- In The Bridge of San Luis Rey, the How We Got Here moment is a bridge collapse that kills five. Notably, four of the five people who plunged off the bridge, all but little Don Jaime, had reached major turning points in their lives. And the last lines of the novel characterize love as a bridge between the living and the dead.
- In the climax of The Sight, Larka and Morgra confront each other on a bridge on a citadel which collapses and kills them both.
- In The Girl From The Miracles District, the third act of the story is kicked off by Robin and Nikita crossing a cursed bridge that leads from Wars to Sawa. It's also where the readers get to learn a bit more about Robin and get their first glimpse of Ernest.
- Heroes. "Company Man." Noah shoots his former partner off one.
- Doctor Who. In "The Last of the Time Lords", the Doctor and Martha say goodbye to Jack on a bridge in Cardiff. It's there that they learn that Jack is The Face of Boe.
- Hey, guess what, The Bridge prominently features a bridge! This one is the bridge over the Rio Grande between the US and Mexico at El Paso/Ciudad Juarez. The bridge is also a metaphor for the cultural divide between the two countries. The premise is that a body was dumped exactly on the border to create Jurisdiction Friction.
- Game of Thrones. After several episodes of Snark-to-Snark Combat, Jaime and Brienne finally go at each other for real while crossing a bridge. They're also captured on that same bridge, being unable to quietly fade into the undergrowth when the men searching for them come riding up.
- In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Rocks and Shoals" has a prisoner swap on an isthmus on a barren world.
- The infamous footbridge in The Music Man. It's indecent, too.
- Chrono Trigger''s Zenan Bridge looks out over the ocean. When the game starts, the enemy forces have already demolished it. It's hastily rebuilt and must be protected from another siege. This area plays host to a number of important cutscenes from the past and future.
- In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Naked Snake is betrayed and left for dead by his beloved mentor, The Boss, just as he has retrieved his target from imprisonment and they're crossing the rope bridge towards their recovery point.
- Link and Saria in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time have a poignant goodbye as he leaves the forest for the first time to go on a quest.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, the Bridge of Eldin (shown above) is where Link engages in a mounted duel with King Bulblin. The same bridge is also a stage in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
- Garcian meets with Christopher Mills, his contact for the jobs taken by Killer7, on an overpass. Close enough.
- Mortal Kombat has "The Pit", where the Kombatants fight on a bridge over a pit of spikes or just the cold hard floor.
- Although in Deception, it is made to be a huge square tile on a giant pillar.
- The famous Conerian Bridge in Final Fantasy I, built to connect the peninsula of Coneria to the rest of the Southern Continent as reward for the Light Warriors' triumph over Garland and their rescue of Princess Sarah.
- The battlefield variation of this trope is subverted in Final Fantasy II, where a bridge is a possible background for random encounters, but not boss fights.
- In Final Fantasy IV, the Tower of Bab-Il is surrounded by a moat of magma, and thus the only access is via a suspension bridge from solid ground. After the Light Warriors disable the Super Cannon, Golbez retaliates by destroying the bridge right from under them, forcing Cid to catch them on the deck of the Enterprise.
- Final Fantasy V features the Big Bridge, a grand structure across the ocean which connects the continents of the West (allied) and the East (Exdeath's domain.) When Galuf crosses this bridge, alone, to rescue his captive friends, he's met by Gilgamesh and the famous Battle On The Big Bridge theme plays, which became so iconic of the battle it has become Gilgamesh's personal theme song.
- In Final Fantasy VI, Locke the treasure hunter was on another treasure quest, this time with his lover Rachel tagging along. As they crossed a bridge deep within a cave, Rachel fell to her death, and a grief-stricken Locke preserved her body in suspended animation until he could find a way to revive her.
- In Final Fantasy VII, similar to the above incident, Tifa and her friends were sneaking out of their village and into Mt. Nibel, with Cloud following close behind, when the rope bridge going across a gorge collapsed. Tifa was severely injured and all blame was placed on Cloud, inspiring him to try to become stronger so he could protect her. Thus his desire to join SOLDIER was born.
- In Final Fantasy VIII, one of Squall's first major Not So Stoic moments takes place on the Horizon Bridge when he pours his heart out to the unconscious Rinoa during the hike along the bridge to Esthar.
- In Final Fantasy X, there is one final bridge between the holy cloisters of the Temple of Bevelle and an escape route out of the city. While the party flees, Kimahri insists on staying behind to hold off their pursuers. After a brief pause to realize what they're doing, the party goes back to help him and then they all escape together.
- In Final Fantasy XII, the ancient, mystical city of the Gods, Giruvegan, is joined to the far more ordinary (for fantasy standards) realm of Ivalice by an enormous bridge across the sea, protected by a seal at the entrance and a headless guardsman at the end.
- Gilgamesh also appears as an optional boss with the first of his two battles on a bridge. He tries to introduce himself as dramatically as possible, but he winds up jumping a little too far and bouncing over the edge before flying back up to initiate the battle.
- Dusky Bridge in case 4 of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials & Tribulations.
- Arcanum had it for a quest to pick up alcohol to a tavern in the really bad part of Tarrant's bar on the bridge. Unsurprisingly, there is an ambush waiting for you.
- Shadow of the Colossus has a massive bridge connecting the mainland to the Shrine of Worship in the Forbidden Lands. Due to the surrounding cliffs (Read: edges of the map), the bridge is the only way to enter or exit the Lands. In the end, the bridge collapses, trapping all left within the land.
- The 16th and final Colossus rests atop a mountain temple, and the only way to enter is via a smaller stone bridge that crosses a very deep ravine. However, it's so ancient and decayed that even the weight of Wander will collapse it. ...unless he approaches fast enough, as in, riding a horse at full gallop. Unfortunately not even Agro is fast enough to escape the collapse herself, and she tosses Wander off her back and onto safe ground at the last second, plummeting into the chasm while her master screams for her. This makes it the game's Point of No Return.
- In Dragon Quest I, bridges serve as the boundaries between areas with monsters of differing power- cross a bridge, and you'll be facing difficult fights soon. Also, the hero spends most of the quest trying to create a rainbow bridge to reach the Big Bad's castle.
- Half-Life 2 has a memorable sequence where Gordon Freeman has to get across the underside of a bridge to shut off a force field. When you finally get to cross the bridge on the surface it's not half as dramatic, apart from almost getting run over by a train.
- In ICO, the Queen's Castle rests atop a mountain jutting out from the ocean. Therefore, its only connection to the mainland is either by boat, or via an enormous stone bridge. When Ico and Yorda first try to escape, the Queen appears to bar their way and close the way to the bridge. When they return and succeed in opening the gate, the Queen retracts the bridge, stranding Yorda in the castle and causing Ico to fall into the misty depths of the chasm.
- Super Street Fighter II: Cammy's stage is a bridge across the battlements of a castle in England.
- Chief Thunder's stage in Killer Instinct is another Fighting Game example. Notable in that it's made of wood and rope, and actually bends under the characters' weight, making it one of the most unique stages.
- Bridges are vital defensive choke points in Medieval II: Total War, since a battle taking place over one forces the aggressor to take their entire army over the narrow path, turning their ordered ranks into a shapeless mass. An enterprising player can take advantage of this if they are playing as factions like England — by placing a few units of infantry directly in front of the bridge to block off their path forward, and using copious numbers of archers, the defending army can inflict more than 1500 casualties while suffering less than 50. Entire factions can be militarily humbled or broken entirely from a couple of these battles. Demonstrated by the Scots in A Scotsman in Egypt where the Mongols hordes are eradicated over the course of two battles on bridges thanks to well-prepared formations, siege weapons, and Scotsmen being Scotsmen.
- God of War II: Three-quarters of a way through the game, Kratos comes across a massive bridge leading over a large valley leading to the Temple of The Sisters of Fate, which falls to pieces as he makes his way across it. Fortunately, he "borrows" some wings from Icarus just before he got there.
- In The Elder Scrolls Online, you cannot swim across the Niben River due to slaughterfish killing you; you are forced to cross it at one of three bridges. These create natural chokepoints where many battles occur, particularly at Alessia Bridge.
- The bridge to Gillitie Wood from Gunnerkrigg Court, Chapter 7: "Something is wrong. I shouldn't be here."
- The epic duel on the bridge version of this trope is subverted in this strip of El Goonish Shive. The stage is set for a Justin vs the dragon battle on the bridge, but the dragon simply flies away.
- In Stand Still, Stay Silent the Øresund bridge marks the end of the Known World. Made almost symbolic by it being shrouded in mist with other end invisible, as the Silent World is a mystery.
- Invoked in the Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy episode "Dueling Eds". Rolf digs up his own pit and creates his own bridge by lifting a tree from the root so he could duel Eddy on it.
- In the Heavy Metal episode "Harry Canyon", the exchange for the Loc-Nar occurred at the Brooklyn Bridge.
- The Transformers features an iconic duel sequence between Optimus Prime and Megatron in part two of the "More Than Meets The Eye" pilot mini-series. The two leaders fight atop Sherman Dam as the dam's waters churn below, substituting their normal firearms with wrist-mounted Energon melee weapons - Optimus wields an Energon axe, Megatron an Energon mace/flail. The duel ends when Optimus Prime is distracted by Spike's jeopardy, enabling Megatron to strike a blow that sends Optimus off the dam and into the rapids below.
- The second episode of Beast Wars also features a bridge battle, this time a land bridge, with the battle being between Optimus Primal and Dinobot for leadership of the Maximals.
- The real-life Glienicke Bridge in Berlin used for three spy-swaps.
- Has also appeared in fiction, such as Funeral in Berlin.
- Similarly, there is the former "Bridge of No Return" in the Joint Security Area of Panmunjeom, where POW and other prisoner exchanges (such as the freeing of the crew of USS Pueblo, captured in 1968, the last men to cross the bridge) have been held since the armstice that has paused the Korean War. It was called "The Bridge of No Return" because once one crossed the bridge, they could never change their mind later on. It was officially decomissioned in 1976, and has been in disrepair ever since.
- Said bridge is depicted, inaccurately, in the prisoner exchange in Die Another Day.
- These kinds of real life incidents are marvellously parodied in The Beiderbecke Connection, which has "a dissident being smuggled over the Yorkshire-Lincolnshire border" via the Humber Bridge.
- Venice has many bridges; one of particular fame is that which connects two judicial buildings: prisoners were led across the bridge to receive their sentence, and led back to be either released or punished.
- Bridges are the site of many historical battles, due to their value as "choke points" that an enemy must file through slowly. The Battle of Stirling, depicted in the movie Braveheart as a battle on an open field, was really the Battle of Stirling Bridge.
- Ancient Rome had its hero, Horatius Cocles with Spurius Lartius and Titus Herminius Aquilinus defending Rome against its Celtic enemies in 509BCE. In 1842, the battle was commemorated in the poem Horatio At The Bridge by Thomas Macauly.
- Likewise, 12th Century Japan has the tale of the warrior monk Benkei who stood at Gojō Bridge in Kyoto, disarming passing swordsmen, and reputedly fought 999 samurai, taking their swords, only to be defeated by the 1000th he faced, Minamoto no Yoshitsune. He followed Yoshitsune for two years, eventually dying at another bridge while defending against an army, giving Yoshitsune time to commit seppuku.