8.2/10
183,543
298 user 136 critic

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

Trailer
3:07 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
After settling his differences with a Japanese P.O.W. 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.

Director:

David Lean

Writers:

Pierre Boulle (novel), Carl Foreman (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
1,724 ( 1,092)
Top Rated Movies #141 | Won 7 Oscars. Another 23 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Adventure | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

The story of T.E. Lawrence, the English officer who successfully united and led the diverse, often warring, Arab tribes during World War I in order to fight the Turks.

Director: David Lean
Stars: Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Allied prisoners of war plan for several hundred of their number to escape from a German camp during World War II.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough
Ben-Hur (1959)
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

When a Jewish prince is betrayed and sent into slavery by a Roman friend, he regains his freedom and comes back for revenge.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Stephen Boyd
The Sting (1973)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Two grifters team up to pull off the ultimate con.

Director: George Roy Hill
Stars: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Robert Shaw
Certificate: Passed Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A manipulative woman and a roguish man conduct a turbulent romance during the American Civil War and Reconstruction periods.

Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Thomas Mitchell
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

An ex-prize fighter turned longshoreman struggles to stand up to his corrupt union bosses.

Director: Elia Kazan
Stars: Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Wyoming, early 1900s. Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid are the leaders of a band of outlaws. After a train robbery goes wrong they find themselves on the run with a posse hard on their heels. Their solution - escape to Bolivia.

Director: George Roy Hill
Stars: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katharine Ross
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Fred Dobbs and Bob Curtin, two Americans searching for work in Mexico, convince an old prospector to help them mine for gold in the Sierra Madre Mountains.

Director: John Huston
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt
Platoon (1986)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A young soldier in Vietnam faces a moral crisis when confronted with the horrors of war and the duality of man.

Director: Oliver Stone
Stars: Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe
Adventure | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A hapless New York City advertising executive is mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies, and is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A naive man is appointed to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate. His plans promptly collide with political corruption, but he doesn't back down.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his children against prejudice.

Director: Robert Mulligan
Stars: Gregory Peck, John Megna, Frank Overton
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
William Holden ... Shears
Alec Guinness ... Colonel Nicholson
Jack Hawkins ... Major Warden
Sessue Hayakawa ... Colonel Saito
James Donald ... Major Clipton
Geoffrey Horne ... Lieutenant Joyce
André Morell ... Colonel Green (as Andre Morell)
Peter Williams Peter Williams ... Captain Reeves
John Boxer John Boxer ... Major Hughes
Percy Herbert ... Grogan
Harold Goodwin ... Baker
Ann Sears ... Nurse
Heihachirô Ôkawa Heihachirô Ôkawa ... Captain Kanematsu (as Heihachirô 'Henry' Ôkawa)
Keiichirô Katsumoto Keiichirô Katsumoto ... Lieutenant Miura (as Keiichiro Katsumoto) (as K. Katsumoto)
M.R.B. Chakrabandhu M.R.B. Chakrabandhu ... Yai
Edit

Storyline

This movie deals with the situation of British prisoners of war during World War II who are ordered to build a bridge to accommodate the Burma-Siam railway. Their instinct is to sabotage the bridge, but under the leadership of Colonel Nicholson, they are persuaded that the bridge should be constructed as a symbol of British morale, spirit, and dignity in adverse circumstances. At first, the prisoners admire Nicholson when he bravely endures torture rather than compromise his principles for the benefit of the Japanese Commandant Saito. He is an honorable, but arrogant man, who is slowly revealed to be a deluded, obsessive man. He convinces himself that the bridge is a monument to British character, but actually is a monument to himself, and his insistence on its construction becomes a subtle form of collaboration with the enemy. Unknown to him, the Allies have sent a mission into the jungle, led by Warden and an American, Shears, to blow up the bridge. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It spans a whole new world of entertainment!

Genres:

Adventure | Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild war violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | Japanese | Thai

Release Date:

14 December 1957 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El puente sobre el río Kwai See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$44,908,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Horizon Pictures (II) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (1973 re-isssue 70 mm prints) (RCA Sound Recording)| Mono (35 mm prints) (RCA Sound Recording)| 4-Track Stereo (Linear PCM)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Shooting in the jungles of Ceylon was not always a happy experience for cast and crew. Living conditions were uncomfortable due to the intense heat and humidity. The unit also had to co-exist with snakes, leeches, and other indigenous creatures of the area. Illness was rampant. Adding to the discomfort was Sir David Lean's tendency to take many hours or even days to get a single shot. See more »

Goofs

During the first two formations in front of Colonel Saito's office, the sun is behind the men, yet we can see some shadows in their foreground, caused by the movie lights behind or to the sides of the cameras. See more »

Quotes

Colonel Saito: [Addressing the prisoners, who are standing in formation] English prisoners... let us ask the question... "Why does the bridge not progress?" You know why. Because your officers are lazy! They think themselves too good to share your burdens! This is not just. Therefore, you are not happy in your work. Therefore, the bridge does not progress. But there is another cause. I do not hide the truth. With deep shame and regret, I admit to you the failure of a member of the Japanese staff. I refer to ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

And introducing Geoffrey Horne See more »

Alternate Versions

Various versions have different main credits. There is the original that gives screenplay credit to Pierre Boulle, there is the restored version in which previously blacklisted Carl Foreman and Michael Wilson are credited and there is the original version that was distributed to cinemas at the time still lacking in CinemaScope equipment in which the Cinema Scope credit is omitted and the credits formatted to fit the smaller frame. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in The Haunted Castle (1960) See more »

Soundtracks

Camp Concert Dance
(uncredited)
Written by Malcolm Arnold
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Nothing less than a masterpiece...
5 April 2003 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

About as Oscar-worthy as any film made in the '50s is David Lean's gripping BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI. Based loosely on a real-life incident, it tells the story of an imprisoned British officer (Alec Guinness) who loses sight of his mission when forced to build a bridge for the Japanese that will enable the enemy to carry supplies by train through the jungle during World War II. Guinness plays the crisp British officer to perfection, brilliant in all of his scenes but especially in his confrontations with Sessue Hayakawa. William Holden has a pivotal role as one of the prisoners who escapes and enjoys his freedom for awhile before being asked to return with a small squadron to destroy the bridge. Jack Hawkins and Geoffrey Horne have colorful roles too and all are superb under David Lean's direction.

The jungle settings filmed in Ceylon add the necessary realism to the project and there is never a suspension of interest although the story runs well over two-and-a-half hours. The film builds to a tense and magnificent climax with an ending that seems to be deliberately ambiguous and thought provoking. Well worth watching, especially if shown in the restored letterbox version now being shown on TCM.

Some of the best lines go to William Holden and he makes the most of a complex role--a mixture of cynicism and heroism in a character that ranks with his best anti-hero roles in films of the '50s. He brings as much conviction to his role as Alec Guinness does and deserved a Best Actor nomination that he did not get.


62 of 81 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 298 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching



Recently Viewed