21 Bridges

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21 Bridges
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBrian Kirk
Screenplay by
Story byAdam Mervis
Produced by
CinematographyPaul Cameron
Edited byTim Murrell
Music by
Distributed bySTXfilms
Release date
  • November 22, 2019 (2019-11-22)
Running time
100 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$33 million[2]
Box office$49.9 million[2]

21 Bridges is a 2019 American action-thriller film directed by Brian Kirk and written by Adam Mervis and Matthew Michael Carnahan, based on a story by Mervis. The film stars Chadwick Boseman as an NYPD Detective who shuts down the 21 river crossings of Manhattan to find two suspected cop killers, portrayed by Stephan James and Taylor Kitsch. Sienna Miller, Keith David and J. K. Simmons appear in supporting roles. The film was produced by brothers Joe and Anthony Russo, Mike Larocca, Robert Simonds, Gigi Pritzker, Boseman (in his only producing credit) and Logan Coles. It was also Boseman's final theatrical film before his death in August 2020. His last two films, Da 5 Bloods and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, were released on Netflix.

The project was announced as 17 Bridges in July 2018. Principal photography began on September 24, 2018 in New York City, primarily Brooklyn, and also took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[3][4] Several members of the cast joined the film in October 2018, including James and David.

21 Bridges was theatrically released in the United States on November 22, 2019, by STXfilms. It received mixed reviews from critics and grossed $49 million worldwide on a $33 million production budget.


Andre Davis is a successful NYPD Detective like his father, who was murdered on duty when Andre was 13. Struggling with his father's legacy, Davis has earned a reputation for killing several criminals over the years, although he claims they were all in self-defense and is uncomfortable with the label.

One night, Michael Trujillo and Ray Jackson, two small-time criminals and ex-military soldiers, attempt to steal 30 kilograms of cocaine from a wine shop in Brooklyn. Instead, they find 300 kilograms of cocaine, and when a group of officers from the NYPD's 85th Precinct arrives, Ray guns them down in a shootout, killing seven and wounding another, who later dies at hospital. After Michael and Ray escape into Manhattan with 50 kilograms, Michael chastises Ray for putting them in jeopardy by killing cops. Assigned to the case, Davis and NYPD Narcotics Detective Frankie Burns come into conflict with Sgt. Butchco and Sgt. Dugan, who attempt to allow FBI Special Agents to take over the case. Reasoning that the criminals would have to sell the cocaine in Manhattan before escaping the state, Davis secures the reluctant approval of the Deputy Mayor, the FBI, and the precinct's head, Captain McKenna, for Manhattan Island to be locked down until 5 a.m.

As Ray and Michael go with their liaison, Bush, to meet their buyer, Hawk, who gives them $1 million, Davis and Burns manage to identify all three. Bush is soon gunned down by Butchco and Dugan in a nightclub. After catching Butchco planting his backup sidearm on Bush's body and briefly scuffling with him, Davis becomes more suspicious of his colleagues.

Adi, a money launderer, gives Michael and Ray new identities and tells them to depart for Miami the next morning. However, before he can secure their money in an offshore account, a team of NYPD officers led by Lieutenant Kelly manages to locate and raid his apartment. Adi is mortally wounded but gives Michael two flash drives and their password.

Davis and Burns catch up to Michael and Ray; after accidentally killing a civilian, Ray is fatally wounded by Davis. Michael holds Burns at gunpoint, telling Davis about the drives and how suspicious everything is, before escaping. Burns scolds Davis for letting Michael escape despite Davis' reputation. In a hotel room, Michael unlocks the drives, realizing that McKenna's precinct was involved in trafficking the drugs from the winery and earning profits for it, and that some of the cops he and Ray had killed in the shootout had been corrupt. After another chase where Michael abandons his money, Davis manages to corner him on a subway train and convinces him to surrender, promising to keep him alive. Burns, who has also boarded the train, suddenly shoots Michael, claiming when he berates her that she thought Michael was still holding Davis at gunpoint. Michael secretly gives Davis the drives and password before dying. As the police congratulate the two for their efforts, Davis discovers that Burns had contacted Kelly before Adi's apartment was raided.

The next morning, McKenna returns home to find Davis holding him at gunpoint, having accessed the drives. McKenna explains that the officers went into drug trafficking because they were struggling to survive on a measly pay. Davis, refusing to walk away, kills the arriving Butchco, Dugan and Kelly – who were all on McKenna's payroll – then McKenna, who refuses to surrender. Burns, whom Davis deduced was also allied with McKenna, appears from behind and holds Davis at gunpoint, but surrenders after Davis reveals that he had already leaked the information online, exposing all the corrupt cops in New York, and reasons that her daughter would live without her mother should she get a life sentence for killing him.

In the aftermath, Davis solemnly drives along the Manhattan Bridge in the sunset, taking the drives with him.



On July 11, 2018, it was announced that Chadwick Boseman would star in the film, then known under the title 17 Bridges, with Brian Kirk directing.[5] J. K. Simmons, Sienna Miller and Taylor Kitsch were cast in September. Chris Pratt, Andrew Koji, Will Yun Lee, and Lewis Tan were also considered for roles.[6]

Filming began on September 24, with production occurring between New York City and Philadelphia.[7] Keith David, Morocco Omari, Stephan James and Jamie Neumann joined in October 2018.[8][9][10] Sienna Miller would later reveal just after his death that Boseman donated part of his salary to her in order to have her fairly compensated when STX did not meet her requested pay.[11]

Henry Jackman and Alex Belcher composed the film score, with the soundtrack being released by Sony Classical Records.


21 Bridges was released in the United States and Canada on November 22, 2019.[12] It was previously scheduled to be released on July 12 and September 27, 2019.[13][14]

The film was released in digital download on February 4, 2020 and also released on DVD and Blu-ray on February 18, 2020.[15] Over its first two weeks of release the film totaled $3.2 million in sales.[16]


Box office[edit]

21 Bridges grossed $28.5 million in the United States and Canada, and $21.4 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $49.9 million, against a production budget of $33 million.[2]

In the United States and Canada, the film was released alongside A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and Frozen II, and was projected to gross $10–12 million from 2,655 theaters in its opening weekend.[17] The film made $3.3 million on its first day, including $770,000 from Thursday night previews. It went on to debut to $9.3 million, finishing fourth at the box office.[18] The film fell 37% in its second weekend, making $5.8 million and finishing sixth.[19]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 54% based on 138 reviews, with an average score of 5.5/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "21 Bridges covers its beat competently enough, but given its impressive cast, this cop thriller should be more arresting than it is."[20] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 51 out of 100, based on 32 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[21] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an average 4 out of 5 stars, with 57% saying they would definitely recommend it.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "21 Bridges". British Board of Film Classification. Archived from the original on September 28, 2019. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "21 Bridges (2019)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on November 23, 2019. Retrieved March 8, 2020.
  3. ^ Hermann, Adam (November 20, 2019). "Chadwick Boseman explains why '21 Bridges', which filmed all over Philly, changed its name". PhillyVoice. Archived from the original on September 25, 2020. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  4. ^ "NYC What's Filming: Feature Film '21 Bridges' Starring Chadwick Boseman and Sienna Miller". www.backstage.com. May 17, 2019. Archived from the original on October 16, 2020. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  5. ^ "Chadwick Boseman to Star in the Russo Brothers' 17 Bridges". ComingSoon.net. July 11, 2018. Archived from the original on July 11, 2018. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  6. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (September 26, 2018). "Sienna Miller, J.K. Simmons & Taylor Kitsch Join Chadwick Boseman In STX Thriller '17 Bridges'". Deadline. Archived from the original on May 1, 2019. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  7. ^ "Chadwick Boseman's Cop Thriller '17 Bridges' Begins Filming September 24th In NYC and Philadelphia". GWW. July 18, 2018. Archived from the original on April 26, 2019. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  8. ^ "Keith David Joins Chadwick Boseman in 17 Bridges - ComingSoon.net". ComingSoon.net. October 2, 2018. Archived from the original on October 2, 2018. Retrieved October 2, 2018.
  9. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (October 3, 2018). "'If Beale Street Could Talk' Star Stephan James Lands Major Role Opposite Chadwick Boseman In '17 Bridges'". Deadline. Archived from the original on May 1, 2019. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  10. ^ Kroll, Justin (October 16, 2018). "Chadwick Boseman's '17 Bridges' Adds 'Deuce' Star Jamie Neumann (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Archived from the original on April 3, 2019. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  11. ^ Travis, Ben (September 28, 2020). "Chadwick Boseman Boosted Sienna Miller's 21 Bridges Salary From His Own Pay". Empire Magazine. Archived from the original on September 29, 2020. Retrieved September 28, 2020.
  12. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (July 29, 2019). "Chadwick Boseman-Starrer '21 Bridges' Moves To November 22 Opening Date". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on July 29, 2019. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  13. ^ Pederson, Erik (May 16, 2019). "Chadwick Boseman-Russo Bros Actioner '21 Bridges' Moves To Fall As STX Sets Dave Bautista's 'My Spy' For Summer". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on August 28, 2019. Retrieved May 16, 2019.
  14. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (August 30, 2018). "Chadwick Boseman Action Thriller '17 Bridges' From Russo Brothers & STX Targets Summer 2019 Release". Deadline. Archived from the original on May 11, 2019. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  15. ^ "21 Bridges (2019)". Archived from the original on February 6, 2020. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  16. ^ "21 Bridges (2019) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Archived from the original on September 13, 2020. Retrieved August 31, 2020.
  17. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony; Tartaglione, Nancy (November 20, 2019). "'Frozen 2' Set To Ice 'Toy Story 4' For Toon Global Opening Weekend Record With $242M+". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on November 20, 2019. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  18. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (November 24, 2019). "'Frozen 2' Thaws Frigid B.O. Marketplace With $130M+, Smashing November Animated Pic Opening Records". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on November 23, 2019. Retrieved November 24, 2019.
  19. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (December 1, 2019). "'Frozen 2' Hooks $126M+ Holiday Record, 'Knives Out' A $42M Win For Original Pics, 2019 YTD Crosses $10B+: Thanksgiving B.O." Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on December 1, 2019. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  20. ^ "21 Bridges (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Archived from the original on September 13, 2021. Retrieved October 10, 2021.
  21. ^ "21 Bridges Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on November 23, 2019. Retrieved November 25, 2019.

External links[edit]