A true story about four Allied POWs who endure harsh treatment from their Japanese captors during World War II while being forced to build a railroad through the Burmese jungle. Ultimately they find true freedom by forgiving their enemies. Based on the true story of Ernest Gordon.
Life is brutally harsh in the Japanese camps, as in one in Burma where POW's, mainly from a Scottish regiment, must build part of the enemy's supply railroad trough the ever-inhospitable jungle, and not just in terms of poor conditions, but also brutal discipline under a bushido logic which assumes Westerners to be an inferior race, in need of doggish discipline, while even for Japanese troops and Korean auxiliaries severe corporal punishment always looms. The POWs realize respect is the key, and earn some from the camp staff by taking efficient charge of the engineering challenge, and self-respect furthermore by mounting a Shakespeare play and a 'jungle university'. Still a violent escape attempt is made, not without punishment and gruesome twist, and again as the fortune of war turns the tables...
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