IMDb > The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
The Bridge on the River Kwai
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The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) More at IMDbPro »

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The Bridge on the River Kwai -- After settling his differences with a Japanese PoW camp commander, a British colonel co-operates to oversee his men's construction of a railway bridge for their captors - while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it.
The Bridge on the River Kwai -- Clip: What have I done
The Bridge on the River Kwai -- Clip: A reasonable type

Overview

User Rating:
8.3/10   110,854 votes »
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Down 15% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writer (WGA):
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View company contact information for The Bridge on the River Kwai on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
14 December 1957 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
It spans a whole new world of entertainment!
Plot:
After settling his differences with a Japanese PoW camp commander, a British colonel co-operates to oversee his men's construction of a railway bridge for their captors - while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Won 7 Oscars. Another 24 wins & 5 nominations See more »
NewsDesk:
(163 articles)
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User Reviews:
The Definitive Guinness Performance See more (243 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Directed by
David Lean 
 
Writing credits
(WGA)
Pierre Boulle (novel "Le pont de la rivière Kwaï")

Carl Foreman  screenplay (originally uncredited)
Michael Wilson  screenplay (originally uncredited)

Produced by
Sam Spiegel .... producer
 
Original Music by
Malcolm Arnold 
 
Cinematography by
Jack Hildyard (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Peter Taylor (chief editor)
 
Art Direction by
Donald M. Ashton 
 
Makeup Department
Stuart Freeborn .... makeup artist
George Partleton .... makeup artist
 
Production Management
Cecil F. Ford .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Gus Agosti .... assistant director
Ted Sturgis .... assistant director
John Kerrison .... second assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Geoffrey Drake .... assistant art director
Peter Dukelow .... construction manager
 
Sound Department
Pam Bosworth .... additional sound editor
Eric Boyd-Perkins .... additional sound editor
Fred Burnley .... additional sound editor
Rusty Coppleman .... additional sound editor
John Cox .... sound
Teddy Darvas .... additional sound editor
Janet Davidson .... additional sound editor
Norma Hawkes .... additional sound editor
Peter Miller .... additional sound editor
John W. Mitchell .... sound (as John Mitchell)
Winston Ryder .... chief sound editor
Peter Davies .... post-synchronisation (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Nosher Powell .... stunts (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Archie Dansie .... chief electrician
Peter Newbrook .... camera operator
Ron Drinkwater .... clapper loader (uncredited)
Gerry Fisher .... additional camera operator (uncredited)
Gerry Fisher .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Robert Merry .... lighting technician (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
John Wilson-Apperson .... wardrobe (as John Apperson)
 
Editorial Department
George Hively .... editor (restoration)
William Pine .... color timer (restoration) (as Bill Pine)
Sati Tooray .... colorist (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Malcolm Arnold .... conductor (uncredited)
Charles Camilleri .... additional orchestrator (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Angela Martelli .... continuity
L.E.M. Perowne .... technical adviser (as Major-Gen. L.E.M. Perowne C.B. C.B.)
William Harrigan Jr. .... technical advisor (uncredited)
Robert Haslam .... consultant: explosives (uncredited)
Robert Haslam .... technical advisor (uncredited)
Grady Johnson .... publicist (uncredited)
Maurice Landsberger .... cashier (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
MPAA:
Rated PG for mild war violence (re-rating) (1991)
Runtime:
161 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints) (RCA Sound Recording) | Mono (35 mm prints) (RCA Sound Recording) | 4-Track Stereo (Linear PCM)
Certification:
Argentina:13 | Australia:PG | Brazil:12 | Canada:PG (Ontario) | Chile:14 | Finland:K-16 | Iceland:12 | Japan:G (2010) | Norway:16 | Portugal:17 | Portugal:M/12 (R-10) (re-release) | South Korea:12 | Spain:T | Sweden:15 | UK:U (original rating) | UK:PG (tv rating) | UK:PG (video rating) (1986) (1992) | USA:Approved | USA:TV-PG (TV rating) | USA:PG (re-rating) (1991) | West Germany:12 (w)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The title of the English translation of the French novel "Le pont de la rivière Kwai" was "The Bridge Over the River Kwai".See more »
Goofs:
Errors in geography: In the opening scene, the railway is 5'6" (1.676 m) broad gauge, as used in Ceylon (Sri Lanka), the filming location; but when we see tracks on the finished bridge, they're much narrower, about 2' (60 cm).See more »
Quotes:
Colonel Nicholson:It is quite understandable; it's a very natural reaction. But one day - in a week, a month, a year - on that day when, God willing, we all return to our homes again, you're going to feel very proud of what you have achieved here in the face of great adversity...See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in "Mad Men: The Fog (#3.5)" (2009)See more »
Soundtrack:
River Kwai MarchSee more »

FAQ

How does the movie end?
Why was this film controversial when it was released?
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See more »
96 out of 124 people found the following review useful.
The Definitive Guinness Performance, 9 June 2001
Author: jhclues from Salem, Oregon

Within the Conflict that was World War II, there were many more smaller, more personal conflicts which, when added up, made a significant impact on the outcome of the War; though trying to explain them, or war in general, is like attempting to decipher the indecipherable. In `The Bridge On the River Kwai,' director David Lean takes you deep into the Burmese jungle to examine some of these deeper conflicts, and the effects of extraordinary circumstances on some ordinary men: British Colonel Nicholson (Alec Guinness) is a man of rigid principles and ideals, to whom acquiescence in any quarter is not an option; Japanese Colonel Saito (Sessue Hayakawa) lives by an inflexible code of conduct and is adamant in his adherence to it, through which he maintains his dignity and honor; American Navy Commander Shears (William Holden) just wants to make it through the war alive and get back home.

As an integral part of their war effort, the Japanese have ordered a strategic bridge to be built across the Kwai River to facilitate the transport of troops and equipment. This monumental task has been given to Saito, the commandant of an allied prisoners-of-war camp; and not only must he build it, it must be completed by a specific date. And time is short. Toward that end, Saito has pressed into service every prisoner, including officers, whom according to the Geneva Convention of 1864 (which established rules for the humane treatment of prisoners of war), are to be excluded from any manual labor. When a fresh contingent of British prisoners arrives to bolster his complement of workers, Saito finds himself up against a formidable opponent, Nicholson, who immediately informs Saito that his officers will not work, in accordance with the rules of the Geneva Convention. And it's the beginning of another war-- a war of wills-- between two men determined to win at any cost. To Saito, this is more than just another assignment, it's an obligation, and failure is not an option. If he does not succeed in having the bridge built-- and on time-- he will be forced to take his own life, in accordance with his own moral code. Nicholson, on the other hand, is unyielding to the point of madness, and will die before he accedes to Saito's demands.

Meanwhile Shears has managed by some miracle to escape and has made his way back to Ceylon. And he's home free-- after some recuperation time at Mount Lavinia Hospital, he'll be on his way back to the states. Or so he thinks. But unbeknownst to him, the British are aware of the bridge being built on the Kwai, and are planning a commando raid to destroy it. And Shears has something they need: First hand knowledge of the precise location, and of the jungle through which he made his miraculous escape. Subsequently, the Navy agrees to `loan' Shears to the British, to aid them with their mission. So instead of a ticket home, Shears is faced with another arduous trek through an uncompromising jungle, all for a mission of which the odds against success are nearly incalculable.

From the beginning of the film to it's spectacular climax, Lean builds and maintains a subtle tension that underscores the drama, which makes this a compelling, unforgettable motion picture. Lean is the Master of epic films such as this, filling them with sweeping visuals while integrating them with the emotional involvement of his characters perfectly. Lean knows what he wants and how to get it, and he takes a terrific story (and this definitely is one) and tells it by using every bit of space--visually and audibly-- at this disposal. And most importantly, he knows how to get the kind of performances from his actors to put it all across so convincingly and believably.

Alec Guinness deservedly received the Oscar for Best Actor for his role of Nicholson, whom he embodies from the inside out, disappearing so utterly into the character that the actor is forgotten, leaving nothing but the real man in his stead. It's a superlative piece of acting from one of the truly great actors of all times. Holden, as well, delivers an outstanding performance as Shears, capturing that somewhat embittered, off-handed sarcasm and resignation of a man trapped by circumstances beyond his control, who nevertheless does what he can to make the most of it, while awaiting the first opportunity for escape that affords itself. Holden's work here is Award-worthy, as well, but was destined to forever remain in the shadows of what is probably the definitive Guinness performance. And what a rare treat, having two performances of this caliber in a single film.

Other notable performances include Hayakawa, entirely convincing as the tormented Saito, and Jack Hawkins, as demolition expert Major Warden, the absolute personification of the undaunted British stiff-upper-lip.

The supporting cast includes James Donald (Clipton), Geoffrey Horne (Joyce), Percy Herbert (Grogan), Ann Sears (Nurse) and Andre Morell (Green). Beautifully filmed and expertly crafted and delivered, `The Bridge On the River Kwai' is one of David Lean's masterpieces. It's an emotionally involving, dramatic action/adventure that offers some real insight into the determination and tenacity of the human spirit. This film (especially the ending) is one you will never forget; a classic in every sense of the word, it exemplifies the magic of the movies. I rate this one 10/10.

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
The Geneva Conventions rule seems incredibly elitist. HardCore88
Just fell out of the Top 100. Really?? SpaceMonkey-Mafioso
Suggestion of seppuku? Max_Planck
Nicholson deliberately set off the explosives internetnicknamehere-178-30027
Language mistake lmh-10
Colonel Saito and the knife. jerryco99
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