The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Bridge of Spies

Based on a true story, Bridge of Spies tells the tale of James Donovan (Tom Hanks), a New York lawyer who is forced to defend a Soviet spy in American court and broker the exchange of an American and Soviet spy.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

Bridge of Spies does not pass the Bechdel, Russo or race test.

While walking home from work, Donovan notices that someone is following him.

 There are a couple of women in Bridge of Spies, but they appear so little in the film that, collectively, they only have two to three minutes of airtime in the film. Furthermore, while some of the women in the film have names and they do talk to each other, Bridge of Spies does not pass the Bechdel test as there is never an instance where named women talk to each other without mentioning men.

As to the Russo and race test, Bridge of Spies does not pass either of these diversity tests, and the film does not pass these tests because there are no LGBTI characters or non-White individuals in the film.

*The Bechdel test entails three requirements:
1. It has to have at least two (named) women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man

**The Vito Russo test entails three requirements:
1. The film contains a character that is identifiably lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex and/or transgender
2. The character must not be solely or predominately defined by her sexual orientation, gender identity and/or as being intersex
3.The character must be tied into the plot in such a way that her removal would have a significant effect

***The race or people of color (POC) test has three requirements:
1. It has two people of color in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something other than a White person

****Just because a film passes the Bechdel, Russo and race test does not mean that it is not sexist, heterosexist, racist and/or cissexist, etc. The Bechdel, Russo and race test is only a bare minimum qualifier for the representation of LGBTI individuals, women and people of color in television. The failure to pass these tests also does not identify whether the central character was a woman, a person of color or a LGBTQI individual and it does not dictate the quality of the film.

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