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: 2.35:1
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

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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