Robert Sherwood's play is tamed as an officer in World War I is reported fallen after nearly marrying a dancer, who after illness in poverty falls into prostitution.
On September 3, 1939 England learns they are at war with Germany again. Col. Roy Cronin (Robert Taylor) stops at Waterloo Bridge and remembers 25 years before. Roy helps Myra Lester (Vivien Leigh) in an air raid. She is a ballet dancer and gives him her good-luck charm. Roy goes to the ballet. Madame Olga Kirowa (Maria Ouspenskaya) criticizes the dancers and makes Myra write a note back to Roy; but Kitty (Virginia Field) tells Roy that Myra will meet him. At the Candlelight Club Roy and Myra dine and dance. Madame complains that Myra was out till four and warns her. Myra sees Roy waiting in the rain and rushes out. They kiss, and Roy persuades her to marry and goes to his colonel for permission. Roy is sent to his uncle, the Duke (C. Aubrey Smith), who wanted to marry a dancer and consents. The Vicar (Halliwell Hobbes) says they can't wed after 3 and tells them to come back at 11 a.m. Myra tells dancers, gets a call, and goes to see Roy as his trains departs. Myra is late, and Madame dismisses her and Kitty too for complaining.
Myra and Kitty can't find jobs, and Kitty asks Myra to write Roy they are broke. Myra gets a letter that Roy's mother is coming. Myra waits for her and reads that Roy has fallen. Myra faints. Margaret Cronin (Lucile Watson) arrives, offers to be friends, sees Myra is upset, and leaves. Kitty blames ill Myra for going out in the rain. Myra learned that Kitty is not in a show but is a prostitute. Myra goes to Waterloo Bridge and is picked up by a man. At the station to sell herself to a soldier, Myra sees Roy and is amazed he is alive. She cries, and he calls his mother. Myra says she can't go but denies there is anyone else. Roy buys her clothes, and Myra tells Kitty. Myra says she will tell Roy. He takes her to his mother. At a party Roy and Myra dance as people gossip. Roy senses she is afraid. The Duke asks Myra to dance with him and says she is good and will not shame them. Later Lady Margaret apologizes to Myra, who says she can't marry Roy and hints why. She makes Margaret promise not to tell Roy why. Roy sees Myra and gives her the good-luck charm. Roy reads a good-bye note from Myra and tries to find her. Roy asks Kitty what it is, and she takes him to find Myra. Roy understands and says she is lost. On Waterloo Bridge Myra walks in front of a truck. In 1939 Roy holds the good-luck charm she dropped and goes on to France.
Historically war affects women by making some prostitutes
though in this case one wonders why they could not find war jobs.
Feared shame of the social stigma prevents Myra from marrying
into the upper class.