The Bridge on the River Kwai Overview:

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) was a Adventure - Drama Film directed by David Lean and produced by Sam Spiegel.

The film was based on the novel The Bridge over the River Kwai written by Pierre Boulle published in 1952.

SYNOPSIS:

Directed by the now-legendary David Lean, The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) is an epic WWII war film starring Alec Guinness, Sessue Hayakawa and William Holden. The film was adapted from the 1952 best-selling novel, Le Pont de la Riviere Kwai, by?Pierre Boulle, which, although largely fictitious, was based on Boulle?s own war experiences and also pulls historical context from the construction of the POW-built 1942-43 Burma-Siam railway.

The film is set in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp in Burma (filmed in Ceylon, now Sri Lanka), where camp commandant Colonel Saito (Sessue Hayakawa) and newly-arrived prisoner, British officer Lieutenant Colonel Nicholson (Alec Guinness), clash over Saito?s insistence that POW officers work as laborers to build a railway bridge. This begins an intense battle of wills that ultimately leads to an ironic outcome as Nicholson tasks himself, and his men (officers included), with building the bridge - not only a bridge, but a ?proper bridge? ? to raise morale and showcase British superiority to the Japanese. Meanwhile, American prisoner, Commander Shears (William Holden), manages to escape the un-escapable camp, but is later coerced into joining a British-led commando team that must return to the camp and destroy the bridge. Now, I don?t want to spoil the ending of this exquisite and powerful film for you, so suffice it to say, that the iconic last line of the movie captures it all: ?Madness! Madness!?

(Source: article by Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

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The Bridge on the River Kwai was inducted into the National Film Registry in 1997.

Academy Awards 1957 --- Ceremony Number 30 (source: AMPAS)

AwardRecipientResult
Best ActorAlec GuinnessWon
Best Supporting ActorSessue HayakawaNominated
Best CinematographyJack HildyardWon
Best DirectorDavid LeanWon
Best Film EditingPeter TaylorWon
Best Music - ScoringMalcolm ArnoldWon
Best PictureSam Spiegel, ProducerWon
Best WritingMichael Wilson, Carl Foreman, Pierre BoulleWon
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BlogHub Articles:

The Bridge on the River Kwai: Honor, Duty, and Madness

By Annmarie Gatti on Dec 14, 2019 From Classic Movie Hub Blog

The Bridge on the River Kwai: Honor, Duty and Madness – an Unforgettable Film even 62 Years Later… In honor of the anniversary of the US theatrical release of The Bridge on the River Kwai on December 14, 1957, a mere 62 years ago today, I am reprinting an article that I wrote for Sony... Read full article


The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

By Beatrice on Jun 28, 2016 From Flickers in Time

The Bridge on the River Kwai Directed by David Lean Written by Carl Foreman and Michael Wilson (both uncredited) from a novel by Pierre Boulle 1957/UK/USA Columbia Pictures Corporation/Horizon Pictures Repeat viewing/Netflix rental #340 of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die David Lean makes... Read full article


The Bridge on the River Kwai

By Michael on May 24, 2011 From Le Mot du Cinephiliaque

The Bridge on the River Kwai (David Lean, 1957) The Bridge on the River Kwai is a widely popular and acclaimed film from one of the most famous British directors of all-time: David Lean. With 7 Oscars and a #83spot on the not-so-viable IMDb Top 250, the movie should at least ring a bell to anyone. ... Read full article


The Bridge on the River Kwai

By Alyson on Nov 9, 2010 From The Best Picture Project

In a Japanese POW camp, prisoners are overworked and the death rate is extremely high. ?We first meet Shears (William Holden) as he?s digging a grave, by the time he?s finished he can?t even remember who he just buried. ?He has seen so many men arrive and die in this camp his spirit is nearly broken... Read full article


See all The Bridge on the River Kwai articles

Quotes from

Colonel Saito: Do not speak to me of rules. This is war! This is not a game of cricket!


Shears: I'd say the odds against a successful escape are about 100 to one. But may I add another word, Colonel? The odds against survival in this camp are even worse.


Maj. Clipton: The fact is, what we're doing could be construed as - forgive me sir - collaboration with the enemy. Perhaps even as treasonable activity. Must we work so well? Must we build them a better bridge than they could have built for themselves?


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Facts about

After a successful stunt test for the film's climax, where a Japanese soldier falls off the bridge into the river, stuntman Frankie Howard was swept under the strong current during the actual shooting of the scene. Prop man Tommy Early dove in to save him but was also pulled under. Once they stopped struggling against the current, both men were carried to a point in the river where they were rescued. Unfortunately, Howard later died from a stomach illness while in the Hospital for Tropical Diseases back home in England.
Ian Watts, longtime professor of English at Stanford, and author of the landmark "The Rise of the Novel", was a prisoner in the camp, helped with the construction of the bridge, and served as an advisor during the making of the film.
The film's eight months of shooting began in October 1956. A scouting expedition of the real river Kwai had shown that it was an unsuitable location for filming, as it appeared to be nothing more than a trickling stream. The production finally settled on a tiny village called Kitulgula in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). The site was remote, so a compound of bungalows had to be built for the film crew.
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Best Picture Oscar 1957






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National Film Registry

The Bridge on the River Kwai

Released 1957
Inducted 1997
(Sound)




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Also directed by David Lean




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Also produced by Sam Spiegel




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Also released in 1957




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