Thornton Wilder's award-winning novel is given a lavish screen adaptation in this historical drama from writer and director Mary McGuckian. In Peru in 1714, a rickety bridge collapsed as five people were attempting to cross, forcing them to plunge to their deaths. Brother Fray Juniper (Gabriel Byrne) is a Franciscan monk who has been given the duty of looking into the tragedy by the archbishop of Lima (Robert De Niro), and to learn what he can about the victims. It is Juniper's belief that these particular people died for some reason, and that it is his duty to determine why God chose these five people to perish, while others in the vicinity survived. After five years, Juniper delivers his findings to the archbishop as well as the viceroy of Peru (F. Murray Abraham), as Juniper tells them of the lives of the troubled Dona Maria (Kathy Bates), the nun Pepita (Adriana Dominguez), warm-hearted Uncle Pio (Harvey Keitel), street kid-turned-actress La Perichola (Pilar Lopez de Ayala), and others involved in the tragedy. The Bridge of San Luis Rey
also features Geraldine Chaplin, John Lynch
, and brothers Mark Polish and Michael Polish.