Tom Hanks Archives
Bridge of Spies

Character: James B. Donovan
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Written by: Matt Charman, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Produced by: Steven Spielberg, Marc Platt, Kristie Macosko Krieger
Other cast: Mark Rylance, Amy Ryan, Alan Alda
Release date: October 16, 2015
Genre: Drama, History, Thriller
Running time: 2h 22min

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union captures U.S. pilot Francis Gary Powers after shooting down his U-2 spy plane. Sentenced to 10 years in prison, Powers' only hope is New York lawyer James Donovan, recruited by a CIA operative to negotiate his release. Donovan boards a plane to Berlin, hoping to win the young man's freedom through a prisoner exchange. If all goes well, the Russians would get Rudolf Abel, the convicted spy who Donovan defended in court.


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


♦ According to Tom Hanks in a press release for the movie, when his lawyer character of James B. Donovan makes arguments to the Supreme Court about Rudolf Ivanovich Abel, the actual words used in the dialogue for this movie were the same as the arguments presented to the U.S. Supreme Court.
♦ Tom Hanks was 59 when he played James B. Donovan in this movie. The real Donovan was in his 40s when the events of the film took place, and later passed away from a heart attack at age 53.

Character’s Quotes

• I have a mandate to serve you. Nobody else does. Quite frankly, everybody else has an interest in sending you to the electric chair.
• 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.
• It doesn’t matter what others think. You know what you did.
• 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.
• Every person matters.
• The death sentence is not a foregone conclusion. Don’t worry.
• Everyone will hate me, but at least I’ll lose.
• This is how we do it. The case against you matters. Making them prove it matters. The fiction is: Whether you did it or not doesn’t matter. The state has to prove it, that you’re a spy.