The Bridge on the River Kwai ()

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British POWs are forced to build a railway bridge across the river Kwai for their Japanese captors, not knowing that the allied forces are planning to destroy it.

  • Won 7 Oscars. Another 23 wins & 7 nominations.
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Cast verified as complete

Colonel Nicholson
Major Warden
Colonel Saito
Major Clipton
Lieutenant Joyce
Colonel Green (as Andre Morell)
Peter Williams ...
Captain Reeves
John Boxer ...
Major Hughes
Heihachirô Ôkawa ...
Captain Kanematsu (as Heihachirô 'Henry' Ôkawa)
Keiichirô Katsumoto ...
Lieutenant Miura (as Keiichiro Katsumoto, K. Katsumoto)
M.R.B. Chakrabandhu ...
Vilaiwan Seeboonreaung ...
Siamese Girl
Ngamta Suphaphongs ...
Siamese Girl
Javanart Punynchoti ...
Siamese Girl
Kannikar Dowklee ...
Siamese Girl
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tokyo Rose (uncredited) (voice)
Christopher Greet ...
British Officer (uncredited)
Herbert Nelson ...
Bit part (uncredited)

Directed by

David Lean

Written by

Pierre Boulle ... (novel "Le pont de la rivière Kwaï")
Carl Foreman ... (screenplay) (originally uncredited)
Michael Wilson ... (screenplay) (originally uncredited)

Produced by

Sam Spiegel ... producer

Music by

Malcolm Arnold

Cinematography by

Jack Hildyard ... director of photography

Film Editing by

Peter Taylor ... chief editor

Editorial Department

George Hively ... editor (restoration)
William Pine ... color timer (restoration) (as Bill Pine)
Sati Tooray ... colorist (uncredited)

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
Eddie Fowlie ... property master (uncredited)
Charlie Parfitt ... props (uncredited)

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)
Malcolm Stewart ... sound (uncredited)


Frank Howard ... stunts (uncredited)
Dennis Ison ... stunt driver (uncredited)
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) / assistant camera (uncredited)
Robert Merry ... lighting technician (uncredited)
Abdus Samad ... apprentice cinematographer (uncredited)

Costume and Wardrobe Department

John Wilson-Apperson ... wardrobe (as John Apperson)

Music Department

Malcolm Arnold ... conductor (uncredited)
Charles Camilleri ... additional orchestrator (uncredited)
Harry Pitch ... musician: harmonica (uncredited)
John Scott ... chorus director: whistlers (uncredited) / musician: piccolo and flute (uncredited)

Script and Continuity Department

Angela Martelli ... continuity

Other crew

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) / technical advisor (uncredited)
Grady Johnson ... publicist (uncredited)
Maurice Landsberger ... cashier (uncredited)
Pamela Mann ... production secretary (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production Companies




Special Effects


Other Companies



Plot Summary

During WW II, allied POWs in a Japanese internment camp 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're persuaded the bridge should be built to help morale, spirit. At first, the prisoners admire Nicholson when he bravely endures torture rather than compromise his principles for the benefit of Japanese Commandant Colonel Saito, but soon they realise it's a monument to Nicholson, himself, as well as a form of collaboration with the enemy. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Keywords
Taglines It spans a whole new world of entertainment! See more »
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Additional Details

Also Known As
  • Le pont de la rivière Kwaï (France)
  • Die Brücke am Kwai (Germany)
  • El pont sobre el riu Kwai (Spain, Catalan title)
  • El puente sobre el río Kwai (Spain)
  • 戦場にかける橋 (Japan, Japanese title)
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  • 161 min
Aspect Ratio
Sound Mix
Filming Locations

Box Office

Budget $3,000,000 (estimated)
Cumulative Worldwide Gross $2,760,714

Did You Know?

Trivia Colonel Saito was inspired by Major Risaburo Saito, who, unlike the character portrayed in this movie, was said by some to be one of the most reasonable and humane of all of the Japanese officers, usually willing to negotiate with the P.O.W.s in return for their labor. Such was the respect between Saito and Lieutenant Colonel Toosey (upon whom Colonel Nicholson was based), that Toosey spoke up on Saito's behalf at the war-crimes tribunal after the war, saving him from the gallows. Ten years after Toosey's 1975 death, Saito made a pilgrimage to England to visit his grave. See more »
Goofs Japan was not a signatory of the Geneva Conventions until 1953, therefore there was no expectation by Allied prisoners of being treated in accordance with them. In fact, the Japanese treatment of prisoners led to the review and update of the conventions in 1949. See more »
Movie Connections Edited into The Geisha Boy (1958). See more »
Soundtracks Colonel Bogey March See more »
Crazy Credits And introducing Geoffrey Horne See more »
Quotes Maj. Warden: You'll go on without me. That's an order. You're in command now, Shears.
Commander Shears: You make me sick with your heroics! There's a stench of death about you. You carry it in your pack like the plague. Explosives and L-pills - they go well together, don't they? And with you it's just one thing or the other: destroy a bridge or destroy yourself. This is just a game, this war! You and Colonel Nicholson, you're two of a kind, crazy with courage. For what? How to die like a gentleman, how to die by the rules - when the only important thing is how to live like a human being!... I'm not going to leave you here to die, Warden, because I don't care about your bridge and I don't care about your rules. If we go on, we go on together.
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