True Films

The Bridge


This film is about public suicides. They all take place on the world’s most popular suicide destination, the Golden Gate Bridge. Every two weeks someone jumps off the Bridge. For 12 months filmmaker Eric Steel and crew kept a cinematic vigil and filmed the jumpers (when his radio calls to police could not rescue them). He then interviewed their surviving family and friends. The stories of the jumpers are sobering and dispiriting. Their departed selves share a common thread of depression, despair, and chronic mental illness. Although it shows sensational footage of their plunges, this is not a sensational film. Indeed it is depressing and immensely sad. There is nothing uplifting, heroic, or romantic about it, even when it succeeds in getting you into the mind-set of the jumpers. Regrettably the film does not explore why this Bridge out of all other bridges, why jumpers usually face the city rather than the ocean, why these suicides are so public and dramatic, and why the controversy around a proposed fence won’t go away — or any of another dozen frequent questions about suicides on this Bridge. Despite its title, this film is not about the Bridge. Rather it focuses solely on the lives and deaths of a handful of desperate people who jumped during the year of filming. It’s a troublesome film, but memorable. You definitely need to be in the right state of mind to watch it.

— KK


The Bridge
Eric Steel
2006, 94 min.
$18, DVD

Official website

Read more about the film at Wikipedia

Rent from Netflix

Available from Amazon

Posted May 8, 2009 at 12:15 pm | comments

  • felix

    I don’t get how jumping from that bridge is guaranteed death. Surely cliff divers do something similar? Is it that high?

    • It is not certain death. People survive. In fact the film interviews one that did live.

  • Vinny Senguttuvan

    This documentary inspired a short story of mine.

  • No Thanks

    The majority of people jump off the city side of the bridge because that is where pedestrians are allowed. The other side is reserved for bicyclists. You’d quickly gain a lot of attention if you tried walking on the bike side of the bridge whereas you can wander around freely / hang out for a long period of time on the pedestrian side.

  • Trevor

    I think the screen grabs for this review are pretty tacky. Look to the trailer (and the actual film) for a better way to deal with sensitive material like this.

  • Still Here

    I first became aware of the movie via the Apple (computer) website, in the Quicktime trailer section. I was grabbed. While I’ve never attempted suicide, “not to be” has been an option for many years. In almost all objective senses, I’m successful – programmer, employed, modest debt, married, have child, faithful, honorable, healthy physically and mentally. I’m not perfect, but I try to do okay. Despite that, there are complications in my life that make the options of exit possible and practicable. I experience violent scenes of my exit many times a day, sometimes as few as twenty, sometimes as many as a hundred, sometimes at my own hand, sometimes at someone else’s. A coworker exited last year. I grokked.

    The Bridge is an interesting movie. I purchased it online when it was finally available, and I’ve watched it a few times. What struck me was that some of the people who were focal points of the movie had what are probably organically based mental health issues. Others, such as Gene, may not have had such issues. In the past I spent time on a.s.h ( – I can’t believe Google won’t even tell you what a.s.h is on the first page), and found The Bridge to be real.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control, the 2006 statistics show there were 18,573 homicides throughout the US, or about 50 a day. They also show there were 33,300 suicides, or about 91 people taking their lives each day. While the GGB is certainly a magnet and visible exit point, it’s actually a minor player at one person every two weeks. Regardless, if The Bridge can get people actually talking about suicide, as opposed to preaching about it, I think that’s a good thing.

  • Dallas

    There is a New Yorker article that covers this topic also

  • Chris

    It is not certain death. People survive. In fact the film interviews one that did live

    1300 have jumped and 26 have survived. It’s as certain as death gets!