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
  • William Holden 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)
  • Alec Guinness and Sessue Hayakawa in The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

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Cast & Crew

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Director:

David Lean

Writers:

Pierre Boulle (novel), Carl Foreman (screenplay), Michael Wilson (screenplay)

Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


3 September 2002 | votarus4
KWAI -- NOW
Without belittling `Kwai,' it does seem, looking backwards at David Lean's career, to be a dress rehearsal for the more operatic, tightly controlled (and better written) `Lawrence of Arabia.' Alec Guiness's passionate, detailed performance as Colonel Nicholson, above all other factors, makes Kwai a still watchable and important experience. The screenplay, however, divides unevenly between those who must build the Bridge and those who must destroy it. Ebert, in his Great Movies article, correctly identifies William Holden's character in Kwai as undergoing an implausible transition from escaped POW to martini-guzzling playboy to selfless war hero. Verbatim: `Holden's character, up until the time their guerrilla mission begins, seems fabricated; he's unconvincing playing a shirker, and his heroism at the end seems more plausible.' That, I believe, is also Kwai's greatest weakness. Holden's relationship with Jack Hawkins (playing a parallel role to his General Allenby in Lawrence) seems pallid next to the mighty Guiness/Hayakawa standoff – in fact, it seems to be in another movie altogether. Also, Malcolm Arnold's score, which I loved when I was a kid, seems now jarringly inappropriate from start to finish. I am too much influenced, I suppose, by the rock and roll jungle menace of Coppola's `Apocalypse Now.' Lastly, it is many decades past 1957. Images of whistling soldiers, marching proudly after months of captivity, then putting on an `entertainment' more expected in the world of Rodgers and Hammerstein, may ring very false to today's viewer. But keep your eyes fastened tight to Alec Guiness. Kwai is the Everest of his career, and very few actors climb that high.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

William Holden, then a major star, was brought into the project to provide "box-office appeal" after Cary Grant turned down the role. He received three hundred thousand dollars up front, and was guaranteed a ten percent share of the profits, to be paid at the rate of fifty thousand dollars a year. This is one reason why Holden sued to stop the first American television showing of the movie in 1966, claiming it would hurt future box-office receipts, on which he was dependent (the lawsuit was unsuccessful). Because the movie made so much money, his shares eventually accumulated to the point where the studio was making more off of the interest on the unpaid balance than Holden was paid per year. A settlement was reached where Holden was paid a lump sum, and any future payments were willed to a motion picture relief fund.


Quotes

Colonel Nicholson: It is quite understandable; it's a very natural reaction. But one day - in a week, a month, a year - on that day when, God willing, we all return to our homes again, you're going to feel very proud of what you have achieved here in the face of great...


Goofs

After Lt. Joyce has decoded the message they got from the radio he is reading it to them while it's supposedly still raining but the raindrops are only splashing on the close side of the river and not on the far side closer to the opposite bank.


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

God Save the King
(1744) (uncredited)
Written by
Henry Carey
Performed by the British Prisoners of War

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Adventure | Drama | War

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