The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

PG   |    |  Adventure, Drama, War


The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) Poster

After settling his differences with a Japanese P.O.W. camp commander, a British Colonel co-operates to oversee his men's construction of a railway bridge for their captors, while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it.

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8.2/10
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  • "Bridge On The River Kwai, The" William Holden 1957 Columbia
  • Alec Guinness and Sessue Hayakawa in The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
  • Alec Guinness and Sessue Hayakawa in The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
  • The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
  • The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
  • The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


6 September 1999 | Spleen
10
| Ageless and all but perfect
Of all war movies this is the one with the best idea behind it. Think how easy it is to make a bad war movie. A group of people must blow up a bridge, and this is the story of their quest ... Actually, that DID serve as the premise for a film: it was called `Force Ten from Navarone', and it was dire. Or how about this one: we see close up the brutalities of war. (Then we see them again. Then we see some more of the brutalities of war. Then we see the credits.) Or how about this: a humble American soldier, with the pragmatism native to his breed, rejects his superiors' highfalutin talk of honour and glory and asserts his basic humanity in trying to stay alive. Or this one: we see English prisoners of war maintain their dignity in the face of Japanese brutality.

They're all present, in a sort of a way: but ALSO present is a magnificent, long, suspenseful, tight story, around which these apparent clichés wrap naturally. If the clichés don't wrap naturally then they, not the story, are bent out of shape. Just when we think that the American pragmatist will turn out to be the hero, we see him cut a rather shabby figure, and it seems that there really WAS something to that highfalutin talk of honour and glory, after all. But then we discover that he has standards of his own, and they appear to be better ones. But THEN it seems that ... I could go on indefinitely, since there are many people here with something to be said for them, and it requires some thought to see who has the most to be said for him in the end.

There's almost no need to mention the excellent performances, photography and music. The only thing one might have qualms about is historical accuracy. Nothing like this ever happened. Still, that makes the movie much less dishonest than those that base themselves on historical events, and then proceed to get them all wrong. You can only be misled by `The Bridge on the River Kwai' if you don't know that it's pure fiction. Well - you know now.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sir Alec Guinness never saw the bridge blow up. He had completed all of his scenes and returned to England when the explosion was filmed.


Quotes

Major Clipton: The fact is, what we're doing could be construed as - forgive me, sir - collaboration with the enemy. Perhaps even as treasonable activity.
Colonel Nicholson: Are you alright, Clipton? We're prisoners of war, we haven't the right to refuse work.
Major Clipton: I understand that, sir...


Goofs

While the prisoners are all supposed to be sick and/or mistreated, in fact all look reasonably healthy and even tanned, and none in any kind of starved or emaciated state. In reality, as numerous photographs of actual prisoners of the Japanese show, all prisoners were uniformly emaciated, having lost an enormous amount of weight, starved, and with skeletal frames - conditions noticeably absent from any of the prisoners in the film. However, Saito was based on one of the more humane commandants who was acquitted of war crimes after war's end.


Crazy Credits

And introducing Geoffrey Horne


Alternate Versions

Various versions have different main credits. There is the original that gives screenplay credit to Pierre Boulle, there is the restored version in which previously blacklisted Carl Foreman and Michael Wilson are credited and there is the original version that was distributed to cinemas at the time still lacking in CinemaScope equipment in which the Cinema Scope credit is omitted and the credits formatted to fit the smaller frame.


Soundtracks

Camp Concert Dance
(uncredited)
Written by
Malcolm Arnold

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Adventure | Drama | War

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