What an insane cast, pretty much every main character is one of the most famous actors of all time. The writing was basically wall to wall memorable sequences, like a compilation of the most harrowing moments of Operation Market Garden. It's almost impossible for that not to make for compelling viewing. Very informative, loaded with witty dialogue and great action. I love the flamethrower scene.
Why the lukewarm reputation? Puts a human face on both sides of Operation Market Garden, which it examines from a refreshingly multinational perspective with meticulous authenticity. Battle scenes are visceral and epic in scope, with no shortage of attention paid to gory consequences. Robert Redford gravely screaming Hail Mary during the airborne division's massacre of a river crossing chills to the bone.
A bit too long and complicated. I guess it's typical in Attenborough films. I was lost in some scenes. Still, there are some good moments (especially, the jumping off of the paratroopers from the planes. The paratroopers were like mushrooms or a bunch of jellyfish gradually falling from the sky. It is delightful.) and good performances.