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Encyclopedia > The Bridge on the River Kwai
The Bridge on the River Kwai

Original film poster
Directed by David Lean
Produced by Sam Spiegel
Written by Pierre Boulle (novel)
Carl Foreman & Michael Wilson (screenplay)
Starring Alec Guinness
Sessue Hayakawa
William Holden
Jack Hawkins
Geoffrey Horne
Music by Malcolm Arnold
Cinematography Jack Hildyard, BSC
Editing by Peter Taylor
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date(s) United Kingdom:
October 2, 1957
United States:
December 18, 1957 (NYC premiere)
Running time 161 min.
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget US$3,000,000 (est)
Allmovie profile
IMDb profile

The Bridge on the River Kwai is a 1957 World War II film based on the novel Le Pont de la Rivière Kwaï by French writer Pierre Boulle. The film is a work of fiction but borrows the construction of the Burma Railway in 1942-43 for its historical setting. It was directed by David Lean and stars Alec Guinness, Sessue Hayakawa, Jack Hawkins and William Holden. The Bridge over the River Kwai taken in June 2004. ... Image File history File links 194ER57. ... Sir David Lean KBE (March 25, 1908 – April 16, 1991) was an Academy Award-winning English film director and producer, best remembered for big-screen epics such as Lawrence of Arabia, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Doctor Zhivago and A Passage to India. ... Sam Spiegel (11 November 1901 - 31 December 1985) was a successful independent film producer. ... Pierre Boulle (20 February 1912 – 30 January 1994) was a French novelist largely known for two famous works, The Bridge over the River Kwai (1952) and Planet of the Apes (1963). ... Carl Foreman Carl Foreman (July 23, 1914 – June 26, 1984) was an American screenwriter and film producer who was blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studio bosses in the 1950s. ... For other persons named Michael Wilson, see Michael Wilson (disambiguation). ... Sir Alec Guinness CH, CBE (2 April 1914 – 5 August 2000) was an Academy Award and Tony Award-winning English actor. ... Sessue Hayakawa (早川雪洲 Hayakawa Sessue, June 10, 1889 - November 23, 1973) was a Japanese actor in American films, including two in the U.S. National Film Registry: The Cheat in 1915 The Bridge on the River Kwai in 1957, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting... William Holden (April 17, 1918 – ca. ... John Edward Jack Hawkins (September 14, 1910 - July 18, 1973) was a British film actor of the 1950s and 1960s. ... Geoffrey Horne is an actor and acting coach at Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. ... Sir Malcolm Arnold Sir Malcolm Henry Arnold, CBE (21 October 1921 – 23 September 2006) was an English composer. ... Jack Hildyard (1908-1990) was a British cinematographer who worked on more than 80 films during his career. ... Peter Taylor (Portsmouth 28 February 1922 - Rome, Italy 17 December 1997) was a distinguished English film editor. ... The Columbia Pictures logo from 1993 to the present Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. ... is the 275th day of the year (276th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1957 Gregorian calendar). ... is the 352nd day of the year (353rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1957 Gregorian calendar). ... New York, New York redirects here. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... The year 1957 in film involved some significant events. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... Pierre Boulle (20 February 1912 – 30 January 1994) was a French novelist largely known for two famous works, The Bridge over the River Kwai (1952) and Planet of the Apes (1963). ... The Bridge over the River Kwai Map of the Burma Railway The Burma Railway, also known also as the Death Railway, the Thailand-Burma Railway and similar names, is a 415 km (258 mi) railway between Bangkok, Thailand and Rangoon, Burma (now Myanmar), built by the Empire of Japan during... Year 1943 (MCMXLIII) was a common year starting on Friday (the link will display full 1943 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Sir David Lean KBE (March 25, 1908 – April 16, 1991) was an Academy Award-winning English film director and producer, best remembered for big-screen epics such as Lawrence of Arabia, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Doctor Zhivago and A Passage to India. ... Sir Alec Guinness CH, CBE (2 April 1914 – 5 August 2000) was an Academy Award and Tony Award-winning English actor. ... Sessue Hayakawa (早川雪洲 Hayakawa Sessue, June 10, 1889 - November 23, 1973) was a Japanese actor in American films, including two in the U.S. National Film Registry: The Cheat in 1915 The Bridge on the River Kwai in 1957, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting... John Edward Jack Hawkins (September 14, 1910 - July 18, 1973) was a British film actor of the 1950s and 1960s. ... William Holden (April 17, 1918 – ca. ...


In 1997, this film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and selected for preservation in the United States Library of Congress National Film Registry. Construction of the Thomas Jefferson Building, from July 8, 1888 to May 15, 1894. ... The National Film Registry is the registry of films selected by the United States National Film Preservation Board for preservation in the Library of Congress. ...

Contents

Synopsis

Two prisoners of war are burying a corpse in the graveyard of a Japanese World War II prison camp in southern Burma. One, American Navy Commander Shears (William Holden), routinely bribes guards to ensure he gets sick duty, which allows him to avoid hard labour. A large contingent of British prisoners arrives, marching in defiantly whistling the Colonel Bogey March under the leadership of Colonel Nicholson (Alec Guinness). William Holden (April 17, 1918 – ca. ... The Colonel Bogey March is a popular march that was written in 1914 by Lieutenant F. J. Ricketts (1881-1945), a British military bandmaster who was director of music for the Royal Marines at Plymouth. ... Sir Alec Guinness CH, CBE (2 April 1914 – 5 August 2000) was an Academy Award and Tony Award-winning English actor. ...


The Japanese camp commander, Colonel Saito (Sessue Hayakawa), addresses them, informing them of his rules. He insists that all prisoners, regardless of rank, will work on the construction of a bridge over the Kwai River as part of a railroad that will link all Burma. Sessue Hayakawa (早川雪洲 Hayakawa Sessue, June 10, 1889 - November 23, 1973) was a Japanese actor in American films, including two in the U.S. National Film Registry: The Cheat in 1915 The Bridge on the River Kwai in 1957, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting...


The next morning, when Saito orders everyone to work, Nicholson commands his officers to stand fast. He points out that the Geneva Conventions state that captured officers are exempt from manual labour. Saito is infuriated and backhands Nicholson in the face, but the latter refuses to back down, even after Saito has a machine gun set up threatening to shoot all the officers. Saito is dissuaded from shooting by Major Clipton (James Donald), a British medical officer also a prisoner, citing an inquiry and scandal should Saito carry through with the murder of officers; instead, the Japanese commander leaves Nicholson and his officers standing in the intense heat. As the day wears on, one of them collapses, but Nicholson and the rest are still standing defiantly at attention when the men return from the day's work. After Colonel Nicholson is beaten in Saito's quarters, the British officers are sent into a punishment cage and Nicholson into his own box for solitary confinement. Original document. ... James Donald in The Bridge on the River Kwai James Donald (May 18, 1917 - August 3, 1993) was a Scottish actor. ...


When Clipton requests to be allowed to check the officers, Saito agrees on the condition that Clipton persuade Nicholson to change his mind. Nicholson, however, refuses to budge, saying "if we give in now there'll be no end to it." In the meantime, construction of the railroad bridge falls far behind schedule, due in part to many "accidents" purposely arranged by the British prisoners.


Saito has a deadline; if he should fail to meet it, it would bring him great shame and oblige him to commit seppuku (ritual suicide). So Saito reluctantly releases Nicholson, telling him that he has proclaimed an "amnesty" to commemorate the anniversary of Japan's great victory in the Russo-Japanese War, using it as an excuse to exempt the officers from work. Upon their release, Nicholson and his officers proudly walk through a jubilant reception. Saito for his part breaks down in tears in private. Hara-kiri redirects here. ... Belligerents Russian Empire Principality of Montenegro [1] Empire of Japan Commanders Emperor Nicholas II Aleksey Kuropatkin Stepan Makarov â€  Emperor Meiji Oyama Iwao Heihachiro Togo The Russo–Japanese War (Japanese: Nichi-Ro Sensō, Russian: Russko-Yaponskaya Voyna, Chinese: RìézhànzhÄ“ng, February 10, 1904–September 5, 1905) was a conflict...


Having recovered from his ordeal physically, but not mentally broken, Nicholson sets off on an inspection of the bridge and is shocked to find disorganization, shirking and outright sabotage on the construction site. He decides to build a better bridge than the Japanese soldiers. He orders Captain Reeves (Peter Williams) and Major Hughes (John Boxer) to come up with designs for a proper bridge, despite its military value to the Japanese. He wants to demonstrate to his captors what he considers superior British ingenuity and to also keep his men busy, which he feels would be better for morale than sitting around doing nothing in prison.


Meanwhile, three men, one of them the American Shears, attempt to escape. Two are killed; Shears is shot, falls into the river and is swept downstream. After many days in the jungle, he stumbles into a Siamese village, whose residents help him get back to safety. Shears is shipped to a British hospital in Colombo (modern Sri Lanka; at the time, Ceylon). While recuperating, he dallies with a lovely nurse. For the country formerly called Siam see Thailand SIAM is an acronym for Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. ... Map of Colombo with its administrative districts Coordinates: , District Colombo District Government  - Mayor Uvaiz Mohammad Imitiyaz (Sri Lanka Freedom Party) Area  - City 37. ... The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (ශ්රී ලංකා in Sinhala / இலங்கை in Tamil) (known as Ceylon before 1972) is a tropical island nation off the southeast coast of the Indian subcontinent. ...

Shears recuperates after his escape.
Shears recuperates after his escape.

Major Warden (Jack Hawkins), a member of the British Special Forces, asks to speak with him. He informs Shears that he is leading a small group of commandos on a mission to destroy the Kwai bridge. He asks Shears to volunteer, since he knows the area. Shears refuses, finally admitting that he is not Commander Shears at all, but a Navy enlisted man. Shears recounts that he and a Navy Commander survived the sinking of their ship, but the Commander was subsequently killed by a Japanese patrol. "Shears" switched dog tags with the dead officer, hoping to get preferential treatment in captivity. It didn't work, but he then had no choice but to continue the impersonation. Warden tells him that they already knew this. To avoid bad publicity, the U.S. Navy is only too happy to loan him to the British. Warden offers him a deal: in exchange for his services, he will be given the "simulated rank" of major on the mission and avoid being charged with impersonating an officer, an offense punishable by death, so Shears reluctantly "volunteers" with the understanding that should he survive, he'll get to keep his officer status. They are to be joined by Lieutenant Joyce (Geoffrey Horne), a young eager officer with no combat experience who insists that he won't fold under pressure should he have to kill someone on the mission, and a fourth officer. John Edward Jack Hawkins (September 14, 1910 - July 18, 1973) was a British film actor of the 1950s and 1960s. ... Geoffrey Horne is an actor and acting coach at Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. ...


Back in the camp, Clipton watches in bewilderment as Nicholson maniacally drives his men to complete the project by the deadline. Ironically, he even volunteers his junior officers to assist with the physical labor, something he had refused to consider earlier in the standoff with Saito - provided that the Japanese officers are willing to pitch in as well. As the Japanese engineers had chosen a poor site, the original bridge is abandoned and construction of a whole new bridge is commenced 400 yards downriver.


Meanwhile, the commandos parachute in. The fourth officer dies due to a bad landing. The rest make their way to the river, assisted by native Burmese women porters and their village chief, Yai (M.R.B. Chakrabandhu). The commandos come upon a Japanese patrol whom they try to kill without firing shots, but Joyce freezes when confronted by one in the jungle causing Warden to jump in front of him and kill the Japanese soldier. Warden gets shot in the foot as a consequence. This slows him down but Shears refuses to leave him behind and the trio make their way to the bridge with the Burmese helpers.


As the prison camp celebrates the completion of the bridge on time with a party for all, Shears and Joyce wire explosives to it under cover of darkness. The next day, a Japanese train full of soldiers and important officials is scheduled to be the first to use the bridge; Warden wants to blow it up just as the train passes over, accomplishing two missions at one time.

Nicholson beside a plaque commemorating the completion of the bridge.
Nicholson beside a plaque commemorating the completion of the bridge.

As dawn approaches, the trio notice with horror that the river has receded and the wires and explosives that were hidden the night before are now exposed. Nicholson proudly walks up and down his bridge, making a final inspection and notices the wires. The train can be heard approaching. Nicholson and Saito frantically hurry down to the riverbank, pulling up and following the wire towards Joyce who is waiting by the detonator. When they get too close, Joyce breaks cover and stabs Saito to death. Nicholson yells for help and then tries to stop Joyce (who cannot bring himself to kill Nicholson) from getting to the detonator. A firefight erupts as Warden fires upon the approaching Japanese soldiers; Yai is killed in the gunfight. When Joyce is hit, Shears swims across the river to finish the job, but he too is shot just before he reaches Nicholson. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ...


Recognizing Shears, Nicholson suddenly comes to his senses and exclaims, "What have I done?" Warden desperately turns the mortar fire in their direction, killing Shears in the blast and mortally wounding Nicholson. The colonel stumbles over to the detonator plunger and falls on it with his dying breath, just in time to blow up the bridge and send the train hurtling into the river. (A full-sized bridge and a real train were used, probably the first time this had been done without model shots since 1952's The Big Trees. Buster Keaton's The General included an almost identical scene.) A 1952 film starring Kirk Douglas. ... Joseph Frank Buster Keaton (October 4, 1895 – February 1, 1966) was an Academy Award-winning American comic actor and filmmaker. ... The General is a 1927 silent comedy about a bumbling Confederate engineer (train driver) who pursues Union spies who steal his beloved locomotive, The General, which incidentally also carries his estranged girlfriend as well. ...


Warden, feeling guilty for killing Shears and Nicholson because of the shocked stares of the Burmese women, pleads, "I had to do it! They might have been taken alive! It was the only thing to do!" Meanwhile, Major Clipton, the British medical officer who has witnessed all the carnage unfold from his vantage point on the hill utters one of the most memorable last lines in the history of motion pictures as he shakes his head incredulously, "Madness! ... Madness!".


Historical accuracy

The bridge over the Kwai River in June 2004. The round truss spans are the originals; the angular replacements were supplied by the Japanese as war reparations.
The bridge over the Kwai River in June 2004. The round truss spans are the originals; the angular replacements were supplied by the Japanese as war reparations.

The largely fictitious film plot is based on the building in 1943 of one of the railway bridges over the Mae Klong - renamed Khwae Yai in the 1960s - at a place called Tamarkan, five kilometres from the Thai town of Kanchanaburi. This was part of a project to link existing Thai and Burmese railway lines to create a route from Bangkok, Thailand to Rangoon, Burma (now Myanmar) to support the Japanese occupation of Burma. About a hundred thousand conscripted Asian labourers and 12,000 prisoners of war died on the whole project.[1][2] Download high resolution version (2560x1920, 1234 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Download high resolution version (2560x1920, 1234 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... War reparations refer to the monetary compensation provided to a triumphant nation or coalition from a defeated nation or coalition. ... Typical river house on the River Kwai The River Kwai, more correctly Kwhae Noi (English small tributary), is a river in western Thailand, near the border with Myanmar. ... The bridge of the Burma Railway crosses the river at the town of Kanchanaburi. ... The Bridge over the river Kwai A World War II cemetery in Kanchanaburi Kanchanaburi (Thai: ) is a city in the west of Thailand. ... Location within Thailand Coordinates: , Country Settled Ayutthaya Period Founded as capital 21 April 1782 Government  - Type Special administrative area  - Governor Apirak Kosayothin Area  - City 1,568. ... Yangon (also known as Rangoon) is the largest city of Burma. ... Anthem Kaba Ma Kyei Capital Naypyidaw Largest city Yangon Official languages Burmese Demonym Burmese Government Military junta  -  Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council Than Shwe  -  Prime Minister Soe Win  -  Acting Prime Minister Thein Sein Establishment  -  Bagan 849–1287   -  Taungoo Dynasty 1486–1752   -  Konbaung Dynasty 1752–1885   -  Colonial rule...


Although the suffering caused by the building of the Burma Railway and its bridges is true, the incidents portrayed in the film are mostly fictional. Historically the conditions were much worse. The real senior Allied officer at the bridge was Lieutenant Colonel Philip Toosey. Some consider the film to be an insulting parody of Toosey.[2] On a BBC Timewatch programme, a former prisoner at the camp states that it is unlikely that a man like the fictional Nicholson could have risen to the rank of lieutenant colonel; and if he had, he would have been "quietly eliminated" by the other prisoners. Julie Summers, in her book The Colonel of Tamarkan, writes that Pierre Boulle, who had been a prisoner of war in Thailand, created the fictional Nicholson character as an amalgam of his memories of collaborating French officers.[2] Brigadier Sir Philip John Denton Toosey (12 August 1904 - 22 December 1975) was (as a Lieutenant-Colonel) the senior Allied officer in the Japanese prisoner-of-war camp at Tamarkan in Thailand during World War II. The men under his command built the Bridge on the River Kwai which was... Timewatch is a long running television series produced by the BBC. It presents a broad range of historical investigations focusing forgotten events or forgotten aspects of major events. ...


Toosey was very different from Nicholson and was certainly not a collaborator who felt obliged to work with the Japanese. Toosey in fact did much to delay the building of the bridge as much as possible. Whereas Nicholson disapproves of acts of sabotage and other deliberate attempts to delay progress, Toosey encouraged this: white ants were collected in large numbers to eat the wooden structures, and the concrete was badly mixed.[1][2] Families Reticulitermes spp. ...


Some of the characters in the film have the names of real people who were involved in the Burma Railway. Neither their roles nor their characters appear to be portrayed accurately. For example, historically a Sergeant-Major Saito was second in command at the camp. In the film a colonel of the same name is camp commandant. In reality, Saito was respected by his prisoners for being comparatively merciful and fair towards them; Toosey later defended him in his war crimes trial after the war, and the two became friends.


The destruction of the bridge as depicted in the film is entirely fictional. In fact, two bridges were built: a temporary wooden bridge and a permanent steel and concrete bridge a few months later. Both bridges were used for two years, until they were destroyed by Allied aerial bombing. The steel bridge was repaired and is still in use today. AZON (AZimuth ONly) was one of the worlds first smart bombs, deployed by the Allies and contemporary with the German Fritz X. Officially designated VB-1 (Vertical Bomb), it was invented by Major Henry J. Rand and Thomas J. ODonnell during the latter stages of World War II...


Production

A scene in the film, bridge at Kitulgala in Sri Lanka, before the explosion
A scene in the film, bridge at Kitulgala in Sri Lanka, before the explosion
A photo of Kitulgala in Sri Lanka (photo taken 2004), where the bridge was made for the film.

View of the river Kitugala is a small town in the west of Sri Lanka. ... Kitulgala, my photo File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Kitulgala, my photo File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... View of the river Kitugala is a small town in the west of Sri Lanka. ...

Screenplay

The screenwriters, Carl Foreman and Michael Wilson, were on the Hollywood blacklist and could only work on the film in secret. The two did not collaborate on the script, but Wilson took over after Lean was dissatisfied with Foreman's work. The official credit was given to Pierre Boulle (who did not speak English), and the resulting Oscar was awarded to him. Only in 1984 did the Academy rectify the situation by retroactively awarding the Oscar to Foreman and Wilson, posthumously in both cases. At about the same time, a new release of the film finally gave them proper screen credit. Carl Foreman Carl Foreman (July 23, 1914 – June 26, 1984) was an American screenwriter and film producer who was blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studio bosses in the 1950s. ... For other persons named Michael Wilson, see Michael Wilson (disambiguation). ... Protestors opposing the jailing of the Hollywood Ten in 1950 (from the 1987 documentary Legacy of the Hollywood Blacklist). ... In general, the term credit in the artistic or intellectual sense refers to an acknowledgement of those who contributed to a work, whether through ideas or in a more direct sense. ... Pierre Boulle (20 February 1912 – 30 January 1994) was a French novelist largely known for two famous works, The Bridge over the River Kwai (1952) and Planet of the Apes (1963). ... Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study in Hollywood, California Founded on May 11, 1927 in California, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) is a professional honorary organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of motion pictures. ...


Reportedly, Sessue Hayakawa edited his copy of the script so that it only contained his own lines of dialogue; thus, he did not know that his character was to be killed off at the end of the film.[citation needed] Sessue Hayakawa (早川雪洲 Hayakawa Sessue, June 10, 1889 - November 23, 1973) was a Japanese actor in American films, including two in the U.S. National Film Registry: The Cheat in 1915 The Bridge on the River Kwai in 1957, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting...


The film was relatively faithful to the original novel, with two major exceptions: the character of Shears, who was a British commando officer like Warden in the book, becomes an American sailor who escaped from the POW camp; and the climax. In the original book, the bridge isn't destroyed, and Warden kills Nicholson and all of his fellow commandos; in the film, of course, the bridge is destroyed, and Warden only kills Nicholson.


Filming

Many directors were considered for the project, among them John Ford, William Wyler, Howard Hawks, Fred Zinnemann, and Orson Welles. Producer Sam Spiegel later said that David Lean, then virtually unknown outside of the United Kingdom, was chosen "in absence of anyone else."[citation needed] For other persons named John Ford, see John Ford (disambiguation). ... William Wyler (July 1, 1902 – July 27, 1981) was a prolific, Oscar-winning motion picture director. ... Howard Winchester Hawks (May 30, 1896 – December 26, 1977) was an American film director, producer and writer of the classic Hollywood era. ... Fred Zinnemann (April 29, 1907–March 14, 1997) was an Austrian-American film director. ... George Orson Welles (May 6, 1915 – October 10, 1985) was an Academy Award-winning American director, writer, actor and producer for film, stage, radio and television. ... Sam Spiegel (11 November 1901 - 31 December 1985) was a successful independent film producer. ... Sir David Lean KBE (March 25, 1908 – April 16, 1991) was an Academy Award-winning English film director and producer, best remembered for big-screen epics such as Lawrence of Arabia, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Doctor Zhivago and A Passage to India. ...


David Lean clashed with his cast members on multiple occasions, particularly Alec Guinness and James Donald, who thought the novel was anti-British. Lean had a lengthy row with Guinness over how to play the role of Nicholson; Guinness wanted to play the part with a sense of humor and sympathy, while Lean thought Nicholson should be "a bore". On another occasion, Lean and Guinness argued over the scene where Nicholson reflects on his career in the army. Lean filmed the scene from behind Guinness, and exploded in anger when Guinness asked him why he was doing this. After Guinness was done with the scene, Lean said "Now you can all fuck off and go home, you English actors. Thank God that I'm starting work tomorow with an American actor (William Holden)". (Piers Paul Read, Alec Guinness, 293) William Holden (April 17, 1918 – ca. ...


Alec Guinness later said that he subconsciously based his walk while emerging from "the Oven" on that of his son Matthew when he was recovering from polio. He called his walk from the Oven to Saito's hut while being saluted by his men the "finest work I'd ever done". Matthew Guinness (June 6, 1940) is a British actor and the son of the famous actor Sir Alec Guinness. ... Poliomyelitis (polio), or infantile paralysis, is a viral paralytic disease. ...


Lean nearly drowned when he was swept away by a river current during a break from filming; Geoffrey Horne saved his life.[citation needed] Geoffrey Horne is an actor and acting coach at Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. ...


The film was an international co-production between companies in the UK and the United States. It is set in Burma, but was filmed mostly near Kitulgala, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), with a few scenes shot in England. In filmmaking, an international co-production is a film made by production companies from different countries. ... The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a country in western Europe, and member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the G8, the European Union, and NATO. Usually known simply as the United Kingdom, the UK, or (inaccurately) as Great Britain or Britain, the UK has four constituent... View of the river Kitugala is a small town in the west of Sri Lanka. ... The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (ශ්රී ලංකා in Sinhala / இலங்கை in Tamil) (known as Ceylon before 1972) is a tropical island nation off the southeast coast of the Indian subcontinent. ... For other uses, see England (disambiguation). ...


The filming of the bridge explosion was to be done on March 10, 1957, in the presence of S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, then Prime Minister of Ceylon, and a team of government dignitaries. However, cameraman Freddy Ford was unable to get out of the way of the explosion in time, and Lean had to stop filming. The train crashed into a generator on the other side of the bridge and was wrecked. It was repaired in time to be blown up the next morning, with Bandaranaike and his entourage present.[citation needed] is the 69th day of the year (70th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1957 Gregorian calendar). ... Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike (1899-September 26, 1959) was Prime Minister (1956-59) of Ceylon (later Sri Lanka). ... The following is a list of Sri Lankan Prime Ministers: Don Stephen Senanayake (February 4, 1948 - March 26, 1952) Dudley Shelton Senanayake (March 26, 1952 - October 12, 1953) John Lionel Kotalawela (October 12, 1953 - April 12, 1956) Solomon Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike (April 12, 1956 - September 26, 1959) Vijayananda Dahanayake (September...


According to Turner Classic Movies, the producers nearly suffered a catastrophe following the filming of the bridge explosion. To ensure they captured the one-time event, multiple cameras from several angles were used. The film was shipped to London by air freight for processing. When the shipment failed to arrive, a world-wide search for the film was undertaken. To the producers' horror the film containers were found a week later on an airport tarmac in Cairo, sitting in the broiling Egyptian sun. Though it was not exposed to sunlight, the heat-sensitive color film stock should have been hopelessly ruined. However, when processed the shots were perfect and appeared in the film.


Music

A memorable feature of the film is the tune that is whistled by the POWs — the Colonel Bogey March when they enter the camp. The piece was originally written in 1914 by Kenneth Alford. It was accompanied by a counter melody composed by Malcolm Arnold (known as The River Kwai March) played by the off-screen orchestra taking over from the whistlers. Mitch Miller had a hit with a recording of both marches. Arnold won an Academy Award for its score. The Colonel Bogey March is a popular march that was written in 1914 by Lieutenant F. J. Ricketts (1881-1945), a British military bandmaster who was director of music for the Royal Marines at Plymouth. ... Kenneth Joseph Alford was a composer, best known for his marches, of which the most famous is Colonel Bogey. ... Sir Malcolm Arnold Sir Malcolm Henry Arnold, CBE (21 October 1921 – 23 September 2006) was an English composer. ... Mitch Millers single for his recording of The River Kwai March and the Colonel Bogey March This is an article about the counter-march to the Colonel Bogey created for the film The Bridge on the River Kwai. ... Mitch Miller (born Mitchell William Miller, July 4, 1911) is an American musician, singer, conductor, record producer, A&R man and record company executive. ...

Besides serving as an example of British fortitude and dignity in the face of privation, the Colonel Bogey March suggested a specific symbol of defiance to British film-goers as it associated the melody with a vulgar verse about Hitler, the leader of Nazi Germany and Japan's principal ally during the war. Although the mocking lyrics were not used in the film, British audience members of the time knew them well enough to mentally sing along when the tune was heard. Hitler has only got one ball refers to the many variations on a set of vulgar lyrics to the popular Colonel Bogey March. These are four-line lyrics making fun of the Nazi leaders. ... Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, commonly refers to Germany in the years 1933–1945, when it was under the firm control of the totalitarian and fascist ideology of the Nazi Party, with the Führer Adolf Hitler as dictator. ...


The soundtrack of the film is largely diegetic; background music is not widely used. In many tense, dramatic scenes, only the sounds of nature are used. An example of this is when commandos Warden and Joyce hunt a fleeing Japanese soldier through the jungle, desperate to prevent him from alerting other troops. According to Gerald Prince in A Dictionary of Narratology, diegesis is (1) The (fictional) world in which the situations and events narrated occur; (2) Telling, recounting, as opposed to showing, enacting. ...


Cast

  • William Holden as US Navy Commander Shears. The screenplay was written with Humphrey Bogart in mind for the role of Shears, but Columbia Studios head Harry Cohn refused to allow Bogart out of another project.
  • Alec Guinness as Lieutenant Colonel Nicholson. Contrary to popular belief, Guinness was Spiegel's first choice for the role (if not David Lean's), but he initially turned it down because he disliked the part and thought Boulle's novel was anti-British. Charles Laughton, James Mason, Ralph Richardson, Norman Wooland, Noel Coward, and Anthony Quayle were all approached. Even Cary Grant was briefly considered to star as Colonel Nicholson, but his flop in a serious role in Crisis (1950 film) concerned the producer, Sam Spiegel, so Grant was refused. Guinness changed his mind largely due to his friend Jack Hawkins, who had been cast as Major Warden.[citation needed]
  • Jack Hawkins as Major Warden, a British commando officer.
  • Sessue Hayakawa as Colonel Saito, the prison camp commander.
  • James Donald as Major Clipton, the medical officer.
  • Geoffrey Horne as Lieutenant Joyce.
  • André Morell as Colonel Green.
  • Peter Williams as Captain Reeves.
  • John Boxer as Major Hughes.
  • Percy Herbert as Private Grogan. It was reportedly Herbert who suggested to Lean the use of the Colonel Bogey March on the soundtrack.
  • Harold Goodwin as Private Baker.
  • Ann Sears as the nurse at the hospital in Ceylon where Shears recuperates.
  • Heihachiro Okawa as Captain Kanematsu.
  • Keiichiro Katsumoto as Lieutenant Miura.
  • M.R.B. Chakrabandhu as Yai.

William Holden (April 17, 1918 – ca. ... Bogart redirects here. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Harry Cohn (July 23, 1891–February 27, 1958), sometimes nicknamed King Cohn, was president and production director of Columbia Pictures. ... Sir Alec Guinness CH, CBE (2 April 1914 – 5 August 2000) was an Academy Award and Tony Award-winning English actor. ... Charles Laughton (1 July 1899 – 15 December 1962) was an English stage and film actor. ... James Neville Mason (May 15, 1909 – July 27, 1984) was a three-time Academy Award nominated English actor who attained stardom in both British and American films. ... Sir Ralph David Richardson (19 December 1902 – 10 October 1983) was an English actor, one of a group of theatrical knights of the mid-20th century who, though more closely associated with the stage, did their best to make the transition to film. ... Norman Wooland (16 March 1910 - 3 April 1989) was a British character actor who appeared in many major films, notably in several Shakespearean ones. ... Noël Peirce Coward (December 16, 1899 – March 26, 1973) was an Academy Award winning English actor, playwright, and composer of popular music. ... Anthony Quayle Sir John Anthony Quayle (7 September 1913 – 20 October 1989) was an English actor and director. ... For the vocal coach, see Carrie Grant. ... Sam Spiegel (11 November 1901 - 31 December 1985) was a successful independent film producer. ... John Edward Jack Hawkins (September 14, 1910 - July 18, 1973) was a British film actor of the 1950s and 1960s. ... Sessue Hayakawa (早川雪洲 Hayakawa Sessue, June 10, 1889 - November 23, 1973) was a Japanese actor in American films, including two in the U.S. National Film Registry: The Cheat in 1915 The Bridge on the River Kwai in 1957, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting... James Donald in The Bridge on the River Kwai James Donald (May 18, 1917 - August 3, 1993) was a Scottish actor. ... Geoffrey Horne is an actor and acting coach at Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. ... André Morell as Professor Bernard Quatermass in the BBC Television serial Quatermass and the Pit (1958-59). ... Harold Goodwin (October 22, 1917 - June 3, 2004) was a British actor born in Wombwell, Yorkshire, England. ... The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (ශ්රී ලංකා in Sinhala / இலங்கை in Tamil) (known as Ceylon before 1972) is a tropical island nation off the southeast coast of the Indian subcontinent. ...

Awards

Academy Awards

Award Person
Best Director David Lean
Best Actor Alec Guinness
Best Cinematography Jack Hildyard
Best Picture Sam Spiegel
Best Film Editing Peter Taylor
Best Music Malcolm Arnold
Best Adapted Screenplay Carl Foreman*
Michael Wilson*
Pierre Boulle
Nominated:
Best Supporting Actor Sessue Hayakawa

(* - Honored posthumously in 1984, see above.) The Academy Award for Directing is one of the awards given to directors working in the motion picture industry by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. ... Sir David Lean KBE (March 25, 1908 – April 16, 1991) was an Academy Award-winning English film director and producer, best remembered for big-screen epics such as Lawrence of Arabia, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Doctor Zhivago and A Passage to India. ... Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry. ... Sir Alec Guinness CH, CBE (2 April 1914 – 5 August 2000) was an Academy Award and Tony Award-winning English actor. ... Charles Rosher the first recipient in 1928 The Academy Award for Best Cinematography is awarded each year to a cinematographer for his work in one particular motion picture. ... Jack Hildyard (1908-1990) was a British cinematographer who worked on more than 80 films during his career. ... ©A.M.P.A.S.® The Academy Award for Best Motion Picture is one of the Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to artists working in the motion picture industry. ... Sam Spiegel (11 November 1901 - 31 December 1985) was a successful independent film producer. ... The Academy Award for Film Editing was first given for films issued in 1934. ... Peter Taylor (Portsmouth 28 February 1922 - Rome, Italy 17 December 1997) was a distinguished English film editor. ... The Academy Award for Original Music Score is presented to the best substantial body of music in the form of dramatic underscoring written specifically for the film by the submitting composer. ... Sir Malcolm Arnold Sir Malcolm Henry Arnold, CBE (21 October 1921 – 23 September 2006) was an English composer. ... The Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay is one of the Academy Awards, the most prominent film awards in the United States. ... Carl Foreman Carl Foreman (July 23, 1914 – June 26, 1984) was an American screenwriter and film producer who was blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studio bosses in the 1950s. ... For other persons named Michael Wilson, see Michael Wilson (disambiguation). ... Pierre Boulle (20 February 1912 – 30 January 1994) was a French novelist largely known for two famous works, The Bridge over the River Kwai (1952) and Planet of the Apes (1963). ... The Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor is one of the awards given to male actors working in the motion picture industry by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; nominations are made by Academy members who are actors and actresses. ... Sessue Hayakawa (早川雪洲 Hayakawa Sessue, June 10, 1889 - November 23, 1973) was a Japanese actor in American films, including two in the U.S. National Film Registry: The Cheat in 1915 The Bridge on the River Kwai in 1957, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting... This article is about the film. ...


Other awards

This page lists the winners and nominees for the BAFTA Award for Best Film, BAFTA Award for Best Film not in the English Language and Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film for each year, in addition to the retired earlier versions of those awards. ... Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Drama has been awarded annually since 1944 by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. ... New York Film Critics Circle Awards are given annually to honor excellence in cinema worldwide by an organization of film reviewers from New York City-based publications. ... Director Guild of America building on Sunset Boulevard. ... Golden Globe Award for Best Director - Motion Picture has been awarded annually since 1944 by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. ... New York Film Critics Circle Awards are given annually to honor excellence in cinema worldwide by an organization of film reviewers from New York City-based publications. ... The Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture - Drama was first awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association as a separate category in 1951. ... New York Film Critics Circle Awards are given annually to honor excellence in cinema worldwide by an organization of film reviewers from New York City-based publications. ...

Other nominations

Awards
Preceded by
Around the World in Eighty Days
Academy Award for Best Picture
1957
Succeeded by
Gigi
Preceded by
Gervaise
BAFTA Award for Best Film from any Source
1958
Succeeded by
Room at the Top
Preceded by
Reach for the Sky
BAFTA Award for Best British Film
1958
Succeeded by
Room at the Top

Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture was first awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in 1944 for a performance in a motion picture released in the previous year. ... The Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media has been awarded since 1960. ... Sir Malcolm Arnold Sir Malcolm Henry Arnold, CBE (21 October 1921 – 23 September 2006) was an English composer. ... Around the World in Eighty Days is a 1956 adventure film made by the Michael Todd Company and released by United Artists. ... ©A.M.P.A.S.® The Academy Award for Best Motion Picture is one of the Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to artists working in the motion picture industry. ... For other uses, see Gigi (disambiguation). ... Gervaise is a 1956 French film directed by René Clément based on the novel LAssommoir by Émile Zola. ... This page lists the winners and nominees for the BAFTA Award for Best Film, BAFTA Award for Best Film not in the English Language and Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film for each year, in addition to the retired earlier versions of those awards. ... Room at the Top is a 1959 film adapted by Neil Paterson and Mordecai Richler (uncredited) from the novel by John Braine. ... Reach For The Sky is the name of the biography of Douglas Bader, by Paul Brickhill, and also of a film of Baders story released in 1956, starring Kenneth More and directed by Lewis Gilbert. ... This page lists the winners and nominees for the BAFTA Award for Best Film, BAFTA Award for Best Film not in the English Language and Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film for each year, in addition to the retired earlier versions of those awards. ... Room at the Top is a 1959 film adapted by Neil Paterson and Mordecai Richler (uncredited) from the novel by John Braine. ...

Recognition

The National Film Registry is the registry of films selected by the United States National Film Preservation Board for preservation in the Library of Congress. ... The first of the AFI 100 Years. ... 100 Years. ... The 100 most heart-pounding American films as described by the AFI on the evening of June 12, 2001. ...

Mistakes

There are some prints of the film in which Alec Guinness' name is misspelled "Guiness" in the credits.



In all the early prints Guinness' name was misspelled in the opening credits but correctly spelled in the closing credits. This was finally corrected when Columbia issued an anniversary video of the film with the blacklisted writers (Michael Wilson and Carl Foreman) credited in place of novelist Pierre Boulle for the Academy Award-winning screenplay.


Parody

In 1962 Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers, with Peter Cook and Jonathan Miller released the LP record 'Bridge On The River Wye' (Parlophone LP PMC 1190,PCS 3036 (November 1962)) This spoof of the film was based on the script for the 1957 Goon Show episode 'An African Incident'. Shortly before its release, for legal reasons, producer George Martin edited out the 'K' every time the word 'Kwai' was spoken. Terence Alan Patrick Seán Milligan KBE (16 April 1918–27 February 2002), known as Spike Milligan, was an Irish comedian, writer, musician, poet and playwright. ... This article is about the British actor. ... For other persons named Peter Cook, see Peter Cook (disambiguation). ... This article is about the British physician, theatre and opera director, and television presenter; for other people named Jonathan Miller, see Jonathan Miller (disambiguation). ... The Goon Show was a hugely popular and extremely influential British radio comedy programme, which was originally produced and broadcast by the BBC from 1951 to 1960 on the BBC Home Service. ... For other uses, see George Martin (disambiguation). ...


The comedy team of Wayne and Shuster performed a sketch titled "Kwai Me a River" on their March 27, 1967 TV show,[3] in which an officer in the British Dental Corps is captured by the Japanese and forced to build the commander of the POW camp a (dental) 'bridge on the river Kwai'. Wayne and Shuster were a Canadian comedy duo formed by Johnny Wayne and Frank Shuster. ... is the 86th day of the year (87th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1967 (MCMLXVII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar) of the 1967 Gregorian calendar. ...


See also


Peter Sellers' hit film The Mouse That Roared also parodied the sequence of Col. Nicholson's refusal to eat and drink food when held captive. In contemporary usage, a parody (or lampoon) is a work that imitates another work in order to ridicule, ironically comment on, or poke some affectionate fun at the work itself, the subject of the work, the author or fictional voice of the parody, or another subject. ...


References

  1. ^ a b Davies, Peter (1991). The Man Behind the Bridge. Continuum International Publishing Group. 0-485-11402-X. 
  2. ^ a b c d Summer, Julie (2005). The Colonel of Tamarkan. Simon & Schuster Ltd. 0-7432-6350-2. 
  3. ^ Wayne and Shuster Show, The Episode Guide (1954-1990) (series). tvarchive.ca. Retrieved on 2007-11-03.

This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 307th day of the year (308th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
The Bridge on the River Kwai


Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Wikiquote is one of a family of wiki-based projects run by the Wikimedia Foundation, running on MediaWiki software. ... For the in-memory database management system, see In-memory database. ...

Coordinates: 14°02′27″N 99°30′11″E / 14.04083, 99.50306 Michael Caine in Get Carter (1971). ... This is a list of some of the more notable British films. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it. ... This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it. ... Map of Earth showing lines of latitude (horizontally) and longitude (vertically), Eckert VI projection; large version (pdf, 1. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
COFEPOW - Stories- The Bridge on the River Kwai (3392 words)
The bridge steel girder sections were brought complete from Java to replace the wooden bridge made famous by Pierre Boulle in his book "The Bridge on the River Kwai", and by the film of the same title.
On that fateful day the Japanese were aware of the impending raid because of the earlier observation of Allied spotter planes, and forced all the POW's in the bridge camp to stand on the bridge and wave at the Allied planes in an attempt to prevent a bombing raid.
Two of the curved sections of the bridge in the middle of the river were totally destroyed in the raid and later replaced with squared metal sections.
A Fistful of Reviews - The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) (731 words)
His men are to build a bridge over the River Kwai, a vital bridge that will transport Japanese men and materials to aid in the War.
He wants the bridge to be a lasting achievement that will illustrate British superiority to all those who use it and see it.
Whatever else "The Bridge on the River Kwai" may be, it is most definitely a great movie.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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