What Is This (High School) Movie?

OK, this is a real Doper’s test.

I saw this B/W | Color(?) movie several times in high school, as part of the cirriculum.

IIRC, it takes place during the Civil War. A condemned man is sentenced to death by hanging. He is brought to a railroad bridge over a stream where he is made to literally walk the plank. As he stands on the end of the plank, soldiers on the other end step off and he is hanged.

However, either the rope breaks or is too long and he plunges into the river. We see him struggling to free his hands and coming to the surface, where soldiers starting firing on him.

The rest of the movie is his trying to escape his pursuers. We find near the end he is trying to reach his beloved living on a traditional Southern Plantation.

So as I will not spoil it for those who never saw the movie, I’ll stop here.

For the life of me I cannot remember the movie title. I don’t know if the movie is even shown in schools anymore.

I believe the title is “Incident at Owl Creek Bridge”

I don’t remember the title, or the movie…but I do know I read this as a short story in high school. So, it exists in book form as well, for anyone searching.

The film is french, so you may find several different translations of the title, btw.

That’s the same title I remember, and I saw it in school as well.

It was also used as the last broadcast episode of The Twilight Zone.


…and the author was Ambrose Bierce, who also did The Devil’s Dictionary

Another version of Incident at Owl Creek Bridge was shot as an episode of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” aired in 1959. The only reason I remember it at all was because James Coburn, playing “A Union Soldier,” had a small part in it. I don’t even remember who the main character was.


Oh, for Christ’s sake. The Ambrose Bierce story is “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”, one of the most famous short stories of the 19th century. Don’t they teach American Literature at some point in the public schools?

(My guess is that there might be confusion between this story and “The Ox-Bow Incident”, which of course also involves a hanging.)

AB’s story may well be “Occurrence” (I never read it) but the film here is “Incident,” “Occurrence.” and “Occurence.” How’s that for confusion? Look at the “Also Known As” section towards the bottom, here.

The Coburn-starring TV episode I mentioned above has only “Occurrence” listed.