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An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge (French: La Rivière du hibou = "Owl River") is a 1962 French short film based on the short story of the same name by Ambrose Bierce first published in the 1891 collection Tales of Soldiers and Civilians. It was directed by Robert Enrico and produced by Marcel Ichac and Paul de Roubaix with music by Henri Lanoe. It won awards at the Cannes Film Festival and the Academy Awards. It was also screened on American television as an episode of The Twilight Zone.


Peyton Farquhar, a Civil War civilian prisoner and spy, is about to be hanged from Owl Creek Bridge. As he is dropped, the rope breaks, and as he swims away the soldier's bullets miss him. After avoiding capture, he arrives at his home, and sees his wife and child. He runs toward his wife and she toward him. Just as they are about to fall into each other's arms, however, the scene cuts to Farquhar being dropped from the platform and hanged on the bridge.

Twilight Zone airing[]

"An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge"
The Twilight Zone episode
Roger Jacquet in “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 142
Written by Robert Enrico, based on a short story by Ambrose Bierce
Directed by Robert Enrico
Original airdate February 28, 1964
Guest stars

Roger Jacquet : Peyton Farquhar (Confederate Spy)
Anne Cornaly : Mrs. Farquhar
Anker Larsen : Union Officer

Episode chronology
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"Spur of the Moment" "Queen of the Nile"
List of Twilight Zone episodes

Two years after its production, the film was screened on American TV as part of the fantasy/science fiction show The Twilight Zone. Producer William Froug saw the film and decided to buy the rights to syndicate it on American television. The transaction cost The Twilight Zone $25,000 – significantly less than the average of $65,000 they expended on producing their own episodes. However, Froug’s purchase allowed for the film to be aired only twice (the first airing was on February 28, 1964). Consequently, it is not included on The Twilight Zone’s syndication package (although it is included on Image Entertainment's DVD box set of the original series and on the DVD Treasures of the Twilight Zone). The episode's introduction is notable for Rod Serling breaking the fourth wall even more than usual, as he explains how the film was shot overseas and later picked up to air as part of The Twilight Zone.

Marc Scott Zicree's The Twilight Zone Companion incorrectly states the French film was purchased for $10,000. This mistake has been reprinted in a number of books since the 1984 publication. The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic by Martin Grams correctly verifies the purchase price as $20,000 plus $5,000 additional costs for reediting.

According to Zicree, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge was the last episode of the classic Twilight Zone to be "produced" (presumably referencing the reediting and the addition of footage of Rod Serling, as production of the series was cancelled afterwards.) It was not, however, the last episode of the series to be broadcast.

Opening narration[]

Tonight, a presentation so special and unique that, for the first time in the five years we've been presenting 'The Twilight Zone', we're offering a film shot in France by others. Winner of the Cannes Film Festival of 1962, as well as other international awards, here is a haunting study of the incredible, from the past master of the incredible, Ambrose Bierce. Here is the French production of "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge".

Closing narration[]

An occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge—in two forms, as it was dreamed, and as it was lived and died. This is the stuff of fantasy, the threat of imagination...the ingredients of the Twilight Zone.

Preview for next week's story[]

Announcer: "And now, Mr. Serling."

'Twilight Zone' regular Charles Beaumont brings us our next offering, a tale of age and youth and a beautiful woman. Our star is Ann Blyth, our story, "Queen of the Nile". They say that beauty is only skin deep, and when the surface is scratched, what you might conceivably find underneath is something quite apart from beauty. This is the rather intriguing basis of our next presentation on The Twilight Zone. Miss Ann Blyth in "Queen of the Nile".


  • Won first prize for Best Short Subject at the 1962 Cannes Film Festival.
  • Won the 1963 Academy Award for Live Action Short Film.[1]


  • Zicree, Marc Scott (1982). The Twilight Zone Companion. New York: Bantam. ISBN 0-553-01416-1. 
  • DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1593931360
  • Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0970331090

External links[]

Template:AcademyAwardBestShort 1961-1980 Template:CinemaofFrance

fr:La Rivière du hibou it:La Rivière du hibou nl:La rivière du hibou