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Bridge On The River Kwai

Page history last edited by BridgeRiver 13 years, 10 months ago


     The Bridge on the River Kwai is a 1957 movie that takes place during World War II.  It stars Alec Guinness as Colonel Nicholson, a strict Britsh officer who is captured by the Japanese and sent to a Bumese prison camp[1].  The camp is led by the Japanese Colonel Saito, played by Sessue Hayakawa, a silent film star who successfully switched into the era of movies with sound[2].  In addition, there is the Ameriacn commandeer Shears, played by William Holden, who is the exact opposite of Nicholson[3].  The movie starts off as a battle of wills between the Japanese prison camp commander and the British comander when Colonel Saito demands for the prisoners to build a bridge over the river Kwai, a bridge that would connect Bangkok, Thailand, to Rangoon, Burma[4].  Not only does Colonel Saito order them to do this, he also orders for the officers to work alongside their men.  Colonel Nicholson refuses, explaining that under the Geneva Conventions he and his officers are not required to do any manual labor[5].  In the end, Colonel Nicholson wins and does not have to work, which ends up inspiring his men[6].  He decides to help the Japanese build their bridge, but he becomes obsessed with its completion, making the audience unsure of where his loyalties lie[7].  Unknown to him, a squad of British-led commanders are assigned to destroy the bridge, the very thing that he has spent so long to complete[8].  The climax occurs when the two forces collide, and Colonel Nicholson realizes what the war has done to him[9].  Based on a best-selling novel of the same name by French author Pierre Boulle, the film was directed by the British director David Lean, and was written by Carl Foreman and Michael Wilso[10].  The film was nominated for eight academy awards, and ended up winning seven of them[11].  In addition, it won a British Academy of Film and Telivision Arts award, three Golden Globe awards, three New York Film Critics awards, the Driectors Guild of America award, and, in 1997, the National Film Preservation Board in the United States addedit to its National Film Registry[12].  Described as "...a story of rare magnitude told with such insight and experience that it becomes a living experience..."[13] this film is called an epic film by many[14].

     This film has influenced the way British films were both made and marketed, starting an era of big, epic films[15].  In addition, The Bridge on the River Kwai inspired a documentary called The True Story of the Bridge on the River Kwai and also a fictional movie titled Return from the River Kwai[16].  Not only has the movie affected the way movies were both created and considered, but it also changed how people viewed war.  It has made people consider what is the true definition of heroism, and whether the cost of war is too great for us to even consider fighting in the first place[17]The Bridge on the River Kwai is an inspiring movie that shall continue to make people question the madness of war, as it has done since 1957.


  1. http://www.worldbookonline.com/student/article?id=ar748864&st=the+bridge+on+the+river+kwai
  2. http://www.worldbookonline.com/student/article?id=ar748864&st=the+bridge+on+the+river+kwai
  3. http://popculture.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/1480072?terms=the+bridge+on+the+river+kwai
  4. http://www.worldbookonline.com/student/article?id=ar748864&st=the+bridge+on+the+river+kwai
  5. http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2001/01/23/bridge_on_the_river_kwai_1957_review.shtml
  6. http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2001/01/23/bridge_on_the_river_kwai_1957_review.shtml
  7. http://www.worldbookonline.com/student/article?id=ar748864&st=the+bridge+on+the+river+kwai
  8. http://www.worldbookonline.com/student/article?id=ar748864&st=the+bridge+on+the+river+kwai
  9. http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2001/01/23/bridge_on_the_river_kwai_1957_review.shtml
  10. http://popculture.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/1480072?terms=the+bridge+on+the+river+kwai
  11. http://popculture.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/1480072?terms=the+bridge+on+the+river+kwai
  12. http://popculture.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/1480072?terms=the+bridge+on+the+river+kwai
  13. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHQVJ.EKQy4
  14. http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2001/01/23/bridge_on_the_river_kwai_1957_review.shtml
  15. http://popculture.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/1480072?terms=the+bridge+on+the+river+kwai
  16. http://popculture.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/1480072?terms=the+bridge+on+the+river+kwai
  17. http://popculture.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/1480072?terms=the+bridge+on+the+river+kwai

Comments (6)

Space Monkey said

at 3:00 pm on Sep 23, 2010

I was surprised when I learned that the Bridge on the River Kwai was not literally talking about the actual bridge but a movie. Way to go! I could never have found 17 footnotes on my topic. I think that you wrote an excellent piece and gave a strong explanation of why this topic was important. I was wondering, did you watch this movie? I am thinking about it and wondering if you would support my decision of watching it? Katie, I think that you wrote this article from your heart and spent a good amount of time making it the best article that you could. Continue to impress me with your writing.

BridgeRiver said

at 3:30 pm on Sep 23, 2010

Thanks for your comment! No, I did not see the actual movie. But I did view clips of them on youtube, including one of the movie trailer (which happens to be my primary source). Based on what I saw, I would strongly encourage you to see this movie. It is considered a classic, and I could tell that it is filled with lots of action and drama. I hope that you decide to see it, for I think that it is definitely worth your while!

Space Monkey said

at 4:39 pm on Sep 23, 2010

Thanks!! Once again I think that your wiki is magnificent. On more question: I'm not quite sure if you mentioned this but, is this movie based on an event during World War II and what is some background information on the brige? Not to me mean, just purely curious.

Princess Grace said

at 3:37 pm on Sep 23, 2010

I knew from talking to you that this was a movie in World War II. However, by your description, this movie seems to tell us about a side of WWII that students don't learn about. I was surprised by how Colonel Nichelson wanted to complete the bridge. I agree with Space Monkey, you did a fantastic job finding footnotes! What was most surprising to you about your topic?

BridgeRiver said

at 3:53 pm on Sep 23, 2010

Probably the most surprising thing that I learned was that this was a movie in the first place. I thought that it perhaps was talking about an important event that took place on a bridge, such as a march of some sorts that was meant to protest something. It took me a while to figure out that it was actually a movie! Overall, it was a very intersting topic.

Space Monkey said

at 4:40 pm on Sep 23, 2010

I know some people with other topics that had unusual names that turned out to be books! They said it was challenging to discover that their topic was not an event but a book title.

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