Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Bridges of Madison County (1995)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Bridges of Madison County (1995)

In actor/director Clint Eastwood's tearjerking romantic melodrama, based on Robert James Waller's best-seller, and similar in plot to The Rose Tattoo (1955):

  • the opening sequence of two adult siblings, Michael and Carolyn Johnson (Victor Slezak and Annie Corley) going through the safe-deposit box possessions of their deceased Iowa farmhouse mother Francesca Johnson (Meryl Streep), including her contradictory instructions - her decision to be cremated with her ashes thrown off the Roseman covered bridge; they also were shocked to see photos and discover a letter (one of a series of letters) sent to her by National Geographic photographer Robert Kincaid (Clint Eastwood): "I struggIe to .put it together in a way that aIIows me to continue knowing that we're on separate roads. But then, I Iook through the Iens of my camera and you're there. I start to write an articIe and I find myseIf writing it to you. It's cIear to me now that we have been moving towards each other towards those four days, aII of our Iives"
  • the various flashbacked scenes in the idyllic four-day love affair in the mid-1960s in Winterset (Madison County), Iowa between middle-aged, 45 year-old, married Italian war bride Francesca Johnson and lean and lanky, rugged-faced, visiting globe-traveling Robert Kincaid who was photographing bridges in the area
Idyllic Four Day Affair in Iowa: Francesca with Robert
  • the last sequence - the lingering glance between married Iowa farmwife Francesca, seated in her husband's truck, and Robert Kincaid as he stood in the street a short distance away on a rainy afternoon: (Francesca in voice-over: "For a moment, I didn't know where I was. And for a split second, the thought crossed my mind that he really didn't want me. That it was easy to walk away")
  • at a red stoplight behind Robert's truck (from Washington State), she noticed that Robert leaned over in his truck's cab and retrieved something from his glove-box: (she remembered, in voice-over: "8 days ago, he'd done that, and his arm had brushed across my leg. A week ago I'd been in Des Moines, buying a new dress")
  • the sequence of Francesca's heartbreaking, pivotal, and fateful, cross-roads decision to remain with her husband in their truck instead of jumping out (although she partially turned the truck's doorknob), and her thoughts after watching Robert's truck turn left and drive away forever: ("Oh, no. The words were inside of me. I was wrong, Robert, I was wrong to stay, but I can't go. Let me tell you again why I can't go. Tell me again why I should go. I heard his voice coming back to me: 'This kind of certainty comes but once in a lifetime'")

Opening Sequence: Francesca's Safe Deposit Box


Francesca's Pivotal Decision: Remain in Husband's Truck


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