The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) Poster

Sessue Hayakawa: Colonel Saito



  • Colonel Saito : Do you know what will happen to me if the bridge is not built on time?

    Colonel Nicholson : I haven't the foggiest.

    Colonel Saito : I'll have to kill myself. What would you do if you were me?

    Colonel Nicholson : I suppose if I were you... I'd have to kill myself.

    Colonel Nicholson : [raising the glass of scotch he previously declined]  Cheers!

  • Colonel Saito : I hate the British! You are defeated but you have no shame. You are stubborn but you have no pride. You endure but you have no courage. I hate the British!

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

  • Colonel Saito : All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.

  • Colonel Saito : Let me remind you of General Yamashita's motto: be happy in your work.

  • Colonel Saito : Attention, English prisoners! Notice I do not say "English soldiers". From the moment you surrendered, you ceased to be soldiers. You will finish the bridge by the twelfth day of May. You will work under the direction of a Japanese engineer, Lieutenant Mioura. Time is short. All men will work. Your officers will work beside you. This is only just. For it is they who betray you by surrender. Your shame is their dishonor. It is they who told you: "Better to live like a coolie than die like a hero." It is they who brought you here, not I. Therefore, they will join you in useful labor. That is all.

  • Colonel Nicholson : It only remains for me to say, thank you, Colonel Saito, for your kind attention, and are there any other questions?

    Colonel Saito : One question... can you finish the bridge in time?

    Colonel Nicholson : Frankly, the consensus of opinion is that it's impossible... but we'll certainly give it a go. After all, we mustn't forget that we've wasted over a month through an unfortunate disagreement for which I was not to blame.

  • Colonel Saito : A word to you about escape. There is no barbed wire. No stockade. No watchtower. They are not necessary. We are an island in the jungle. Escape is impossible. You would die.

  • Colonel Nicholson : Now, there's another important decision that can't be postponed. As most of the British soldiers will be working on the bridge, only a small number will be available for railway work. So, I must ask you, Colonel Saito, to lend us some of your own men to reinforce the railway gang, so that the final stretch of track can be completed as quickly as possible.

    Colonel Saito : I have already given the order.

    Colonel Nicholson : We must fix the daily work quota for your men. At first I thought of setting it at a yard and a half, so as not to overtire them, but don't you think it would be best if we make it the same as the British soldiers? That would also create a healthy competitive spirit.

    Colonel Saito : I have already given the order.

  • Colonel Saito : I am Colonel Saito. In the name of His Imperial Majesty, I welcome you. I am the commanding officer of this camp, which is Camp 16 along the great railroad which will soon connect Bangkok with Rangoon. You British prisoners have been chosen to build a bridge across the River Kwai. It will be pleasant work, requiring skill, and officers will work as well as men. The Japanese Army cannot have idle mouths to feed. If you work hard, you will be treated well, but if you do not work hard, you will be punished!

  • 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 Lieutenant Mioura.

    Colonel Saito : [points to Lt. Mioura, who looks down with shame]  He is a bad engineer! He is unworthy of command!

    Colonel Saito : Therefore, I have removed him from his post. Tomorrow we begin again. I shall be in personal command. Today we rest. All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. As token of regard for your efforts in the future... I give presents to you all!

    Colonel Saito : [the back gate of a nearby truck is dropped down, revealing stacks of packages, Red Cross parcels, etc]  Let us be happy in our work. Company, dismissed.

See also

Release Dates | Official Sites | Company Credits | Filming & Production | Technical Specs

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