The Bridge on the River Kwai
THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (PG)
D: David Lean
Columbia (Sam Spiegel)
UK/USA 🇬🇧 🇺🇸 1957
W: Carl Foreman & Michael Wilson [based on the novel by Pierre Boulle]
DP: Jack Hildyard
Ed: Peter Taylor
Mus: Malcolm Arnold
William Holden (Shears), Alec Guinness (Colonel Nicholson), Jack Hawkins (Major Warden), Sessue Hayakawa (Col. Saito), James Donald (Major Clipton), Geoffrey Horne (Lt. Joyce), Andre Morell (Col. Green), Peter Williams (Capt. Reeves), John Boxer (Maj. Hughes)
David Lean's classic war adventure about a group of British POW's in Burma who are forced by Japanese soldiers to build the bridge of the title.
Memorable for many reasons and in particular for Alec Guinness' performance as the staid Colonel Nicholson, who initially displays a heroic stance against the British-hating, dictatorial Saito who runs the POW camp, refusing to order his men to work on the bridge as it contravenes the rules of the Geneva Convention and faces punishment as a result.
When construction of the bridge falls behind schedule, Nicholson agrees to take on a supervisory role on the project so the men will receive better treatment, but also as a statement that British brains are mightier than Japanese brawn. However, when a rescue operation advances to blow up the bridge, Nicholson simply cannot bear to see the bridge destroyed due to it's symbolisation of patriotic endeavour.
All aspects of the production are fantastic, but the movie does detract from the tension inside the POW camp with scenes concerning an escapee (William Holden) and the impending operation of rescue and destruction. The film would perhaps have been more thrilling (and shorter), if the action was set entirely inside the POW camp.
Nevertheless, It will always be considered one of the finest war dramas of all time.