1950s The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

Published on June 9th, 2007 | by Chris

1

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)


Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On June 9, 2007
Last modified:October 8, 2012

Summary:

there are a lot of typically-cheesy "50's" moments ("Lovely!"), but there is a great deal more introspection and commentary on the entire methodology with which we fight most wars, and a lot about the people involved and the so-called rules they're supposed to play by.

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)1957's The Bridge on the River Kwai is a classic by any definition of the word.  Based on the book "The Bridge Over the River Kwai" by Pierre Boule, it tells the compelling story of a band of British soldiers taken prisoner by the Japanese in Thailand during WWII, and how they overcome their situation by building a magnificent bridge for their captors.

Of course that's just on the surface mind you.  Alec Guinness masterfully portrays Col. Nicholson, the "by the book" leader of this group.  Nicholson's refusal to give into the less-than-honorable demands of the Japanese Col. Saito (Sessue Hayakawa) earned him a well-deserved Oscar for this role.  He effectively takes charge of the camp and the bridge building efforts from Saito due to the latter's incompetence and weakness.  He uses the bridge as a means to restore some order and dignity to the men, even though not all of them are on board with the idea.

Then there is "Commander" Shears (William Holden), an American who escapes the camp early on, just as Nicholson and his brigade arrives.  He finds his way out of the jungle and back to "civilization," only to be recruited (or blackmailed might be a better term) by British forces to help with destroying Nicholson's bridge.

Sure there are a lot of typically-cheesy "50's" moments ("Lovely!"), but there is a great deal more introspection and commentary on the entire methodology with which we fight most wars, and a lot about the people involved and the so-called rules they're supposed to play by.

And in the end, Guinness' portrayal of Nicholson's ultimate realization is sheer brilliance, and brings everything to a decisive end.

This is one of WMB's top twenty, to be sure.  See it someday soon!

The Bridge on the River Kwai (Limited Edition) The Bridge on the River Kwai (Limited Edition)
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Description

When British POWs build a vital railway bridge in enemy-occupied Burma, Allied commandos are assigned to destroy it in David Lean's epic World War II adventure THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI. Spectacularly produced, THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI captured the imagination of the public and won seven 1957 Academy Awards(r), including Best Picture, Best Actor (Alec Guinness), and Best Director...

DVD Information

Binding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 2.55:1
Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Brand: Sony
Manufacturer: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Original Release Date:
Actors:
  • William Holden
  • Alec Guinness
  • Jack Hawkins
  • Sessue Hayakawa
  • James Donald

Reviews

Customer Reviews
Average Customer Review

240 of 251 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars real Blu Ray review, November 3, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I'm still not entirely sure why Amazon lumps the reviews for all versions of a given release in the same category. It makes it especially hard to locate reviews on the blu ray version. Anyway, this is a review of the blu ray version recently released, in a collector's format. It is composed of basically a digibook within a hard external case, which is quite flashy as it has raised illustrations and looks quite nice. Upon removing the digibook (which is quite a bit thicker than others), you will find a blu ray version of the film, a dvd version, and a few other things.

First up is the small production book. Actually in comparison with the material you get from other digibooks (which are usually scant on information), these few pages are full of notes and events during filming, almost a quick documentary in itself. It's nice to see a version of this book-within-case that is heavy on words and light on pictures, which are still nice on a few pages.

Second are the... Read more
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107 of 124 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bridge on the River Kwai: Be Happy in Your Work, July 3, 2000
David Lean's "Bridge on the River Kwai" is one of my favorite movies of all time, and one one the greatest war movies of all time, but a differnt war movie. Can the civilized Colonel Nichoson (brilliantly played by Alec Guinness and won him an Academy Award for best actor) defy the brutal Japanese Colonel Saito(Sessue Hayakawa, also brilliant)and win the war of wills? At first we think he won't but the plot takes a strange turn and this Nicholson turns out to be as fanatic as Saito is in the prison camp. Beautifully shot in Ceylon(Sri Lanka) serving well for Burma by Freddie Young, Lean's great photographer also for "Lawrence of Arabia" the viewer can feel the heat and humidity, see the starving appearance of the prisoners, who start buiding the bridge as a lark until Nicholson wins his points of honor and they work harder than ever. My favorite line in the movie is one of Colonel Saito's favorite sayings: "Be happy in your work," which takes... Read more
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69 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars David Lean's anti-war masterpiece in all it's glory......, November 21, 2000
By 
P. Ferrigno "firehouse444" (Melbourne, Victoria Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Bridge on the River Kwai (Limited Edition) (DVD)
The release of David Lean's powerful, intelligent and thought provoking anti-war masterpiece on widescreen DVD accompanied by the added bonus documentary "The Making of the Bridge on the River Kwai", along with other featurette's, theatrical trailers and an appreciation of the film by noted director, John Milius, is indeed a cause for celebration amongst cinema afficiando's of this most superb of motion pictures.
The remarkable novel by Pierre Boulle (also author of "Monkey Planet"...filmed as the memorable "Planet of the Apes") is masterfully brought to the screen by director David Lean, a true genius behind many historical epics.
Deep inside snake ridden Asian jungles, British and American prisoners of war toil under the sweltering tropical sun working on part of the infamous Burma railway that claimed thousands of Allied lives during WWII. Colonel Saito (talented Japanese actor Sessue Hayakawa) presides over his POW camp with an iron... Read more
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The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) Chris

4.2

Summary: there are a lot of typically-cheesy "50's" moments ("Lovely!"), but there is a great deal more introspection and commentary on the entire methodology with which we fight most wars, and a lot about the people involved and the so-called rules they're supposed to play by.


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About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.



One Response to The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

  1. It’s an excellent movie to be sure, but surviving veterans who were forcibly impressed as slave labour to build the Rangoon-Ichinaro railway and watched their mates die by the thousands of torture, overwork, disease and slow starvation quite understandably seethe with rage at the portrayal of British officers and men acting as willing collaborators with the Japanese. That knowledge unavoidably taints the film.

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