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The Bridge on the River Kwai Reviews

Page 2 of 110
February 23, 2013
While William Holden's scenes feel a bit padded, the remainder of the film is an outstanding test of wills between opposing forces.
April 12, 2014
A more complex movie than I first realized when I started watching. It is not just about the men in the prison camp, but also a group of commandos that is heading to them. These two story lines coming together at the very end is what makes this movie. The climax is filed with tension. I just wish it would have gotten there a little more quickly. The ending itself is not the completely happy ending that you might expect of movies from this era. Although the music at the end betrays this fact. A small complaint, but still valid. Also, I guess the filmmakers deserve credit for using actual Japanese actors, but their accents are so thick that it is almost incomprehensible.
April 7, 2014
What compels David Lean to tell such gripping stories of the human condition? I would give anything to sit down with him and ask him what drives him. What makes him see deep into the bowels of the human conscience and emerge with such melodies. River Kwai is an example of a director's search for meaning in a wasteland. The wasteland is World War II. The meaning is much more than honor, duty, or excellence. It is that war consumes all the good and evil that falls between its years. War is hell. And nothing can escape that. Lean's little corner of history becomes what Clipton surmises near the curtain call. Madness! Madness! Alec Guiness, William Holden and Hayakama along with Hawkins and the rest are brilliant in this story of one side vs. another side vs. another side. It's a war triangle, not a love one. One wants to build, the other to exceed, and the other to destroy. But all are bound by the chains of the times. War turns man's achievements into gunfights. Man's dignity into blood. Man's purpose into frightful death. The audience will be torn asunder rooting for what is right, what is just and for men who are truly good and yet for a while on different sides of intent. This is how character is developed. The third act hits like a ton of bricks as all the folly and beautiful cinematography collide in one painful minute.
James De Bello
April 7, 2014
7.5/10 Aesthetically old fashioned but anyways weird, yet both morally complex and not sided, it does not have the answers to the questions it raises and this makes for a very compelling historical drama. This movie has a lot going for it and there are many elements of greatness, but as a whole the movie never won me over and didn't have the epic emotional impact I was expecting. As a 1957 moive, this is a great one, but watching it now, in 2014, I do not think it has stood the test of time, at least for me. I immensly respect David Lean's work here and the historical relevance it has in cinema history, yet it just left me slightly disappointed in regards to what I was excpecting. Anyways it is a positive film and it did stick in my mind for the moral problems it raises.
October 31, 2012
The Bridge on the River Kwai has great cinematography and amusing ending, but apart from that is a disappointing film that hopelessly lacks energy in its execution. Needless to say, it did not deserve all its accolades, but its Oscars for Editing and Score are ridiculous to say the least having in mind the lack of discipline in pacing and the evident lack of any soundtrack. It is a very overrated film.
April 1, 2014
Just the title is fantastic alone <3
November 1, 2007
A brilliant performance from Alec Guinness and a fierce social allegory make this one of the all time great war movies.
March 9, 2014
A piece of imperialistic horror and despicable army worship but major movie making.
March 2, 2014
Maj. Warden (Jack Hawkins): I belong to a rather rum group called Force 316. Our headquarters is up in the botanical gardens.

Commander Shears (William Holden): Protecting rare plants from the enemy?

Amazing cast, stellar performances from Misters Holden, Hayakawa and Hawkins but most notably Sir Alec Guinness who was pure genius! I loved that his character had so many layers: he was a gentleman, an epitome of leadership and grace under pressure and just when you think him perfect, he shows that he's as flawed as any human being. The conversations between Colonel Nichols and Colonel Saito was my favorite part of the film. The chemistry between Mr. Guinness and Mr. Hayakawa was just electric and I found each character's point of view was just profound and gives the audience a little insight to the whole psychology of war. For a war picture, this film lacks brutality and violence by today's standards; which was fine by me, I don't need all the gory details to remind me that war is awful. Instead, the film focuses more on the human spirit and what we are able to endure and accomplish (even if the motives may sometimes be a bit misguided).
February 23, 2012
epic WWII pic post WWII
November 9, 2013
This is a powerful story of honor and pride; and a struggle with the own principles of a man. It is made with wit and told with the strenght of an authentic epic. The performances are too overwhelming and the adaptation too real. It dried my lips and left me speechless. It is amazing!
February 9, 2014
War films usually don't fascinate me but this one is really thrilling and highly entertaining.
January 20, 2014
The acting from everyone is superb. The plot is interesting but i felt like Obi-wan's dumb assness to his captor didn't accomplish anything but diminished screen time for him.
Halcombe N.
January 8, 2014
If we were transported right now to the year 1958 and we were watching the big night of world cinema we would have clapped enthusiastically seeing how David Lean won everything with The Bridge on the River Qwai. We had probably gone to the movies to watch it as it was the most successful flick that year and we had ignored therefore its two rivals "12 Angry man" of Sidney Lumet and Witness for the Prosecution of Billy Wilder.

Little did we have known then about the reality behind the classic The Bridge on the River Qwai and the greatness of the two losing movies which are amongst the best ever produced. Luckily, time allow us to analyse everything that have taken place with neutral dexterity.

Even though it is not a bad movie The Bridge on the River Qwai was excessively awarded back then and if you compared it to the sheer lucid direction of Sidney Lumet and the artistic riches of the screenplay of Billy Wilder you would realise that the power Hollywood Productions own, the opportunity of that story on that particular epoch and the propagandist element of its message overcame the better technical quality of the movies 12 Angry Men and Witness for the prosecution. These two movies would have won everything anytime, yet on this ocassion they were left with nothing.

Witness for the prosecution
Witness for the prosecution is based upon a story written by Agatha Christie and tells off a peculiar judicial case within London. Marlene Dietrich´s performance and above all Charles Laughton´s one are amazing, the screenplay is full of cleverness and witty details, it can be a confusing story but it is a title you should always have in your film collection

12 Angry Men
12 Angry Men makes the supposed perfection of the popular juries look ludicrous. It has a great performance in the hands of Henry Fonda, even though it is merely recorded within a room the whole filming turns out to be of a superb quality.

Novel Bridge on the River Qwai by Pierre Boulle.
The bridge on the River Qwai it is based on the novel of French writer Pierre Boulle inspired as well on a true story, British soldiers working under Japanese officials built on that bridge during Second World War in Burma with the result of more than 2000 deaths (it is unknown the exact amount) American aviation destroyed it and afterwards it was built again in metal (the bridge does exist today albeit not on the exact situation but close to it)

Michael Wilson and Carl Foreman Screenwriting of The Bridge on the River Qwai.
Notwithstanding, that it is not the most surprising fact but the authorship of the screenplay, Michael Wilson and Carl Foreman were in the Hollywood blacklist of McCarthy Senator because of their liking for Communism so that their names were omitted on the credits of the movie and publicly too. To say the truth, the two writers did not work together, the screenplay was started by Foreman and it was finished by Wilson as David Lean was specially harsh and persnickety when it came to screenwriting and he usually hired more than one writer to pen all his projects.

Consequently, it was assured that the writer of the original novel, Pierre Boulle, was responsible of The bridge on the River Qwai´s screenplay. Nonetheless, the French writer was so horrified and got so angry when discovered that his Japanese general was not as sadistic as the character is on his play and the end was not loyal to what he had conceived that he did not want to recognize it. What is more, he even felt insulted because General Nicholson did not act as the way he wrote it but Hollywood make him to make us believe the screenplay was his in order to avoid any troubles with US Government.

The problem did not end here nonetheless as while winning the BAFTA Award on the category of the best screenplay everybody realized that Pierre Boulle did not know a lot of English therefore How on earth somebody that barely speaks the language is capable of writing a screenplay winner of the BAFTA Award? Boulle himself, said he was receiving it because of his book. It was hardly a secret that he had not written that screenplay but the truth had to be kept secret however happened.

To make matters worse, Pierre Boulle, because he was angry, embarrassed as he did not want anybody to discover what had happened (or perhaps because he did not know English either) did not attend to the Academy Awards of 1958 to pick the Oscar for best screenplay, somebody from the Studios (Columbia Pictures) did saying Pierre Boulle was overwhelmed and was too shy to go there. In 1985, Academy Awards did give an Honorific Award to the two screenwriters recognising the responsibility of such an relevant script. As they were dead the prizes were garnered by some relatives. Final credits were also modified so that include its names forever.

David Lean
Furthermore, legendary British filmmaker David Lean was not entitled to be the director of The Bridge on The river Qwai, seeing the nature and meaning of that movie we cannot be surprise knowing that John Ford and Howard Hawks were the favourite ones to direct a project that counted with even more candidates.

David Lean the author of renowned movies such as Lawrence of Arabia or Doctor Zhivago had always had lots of troubles with women (was married 6 times and had plenty of lovers) The divorce with the English actress Ann Todd was so expensive (he owed 20.000 pounds to British Taxpayers, a very large sum of money at that time) that he had to beg to make the movie in order to obtain a huge wage thus he had to make this project by hook or by crook otherwise he would have went bankruptcy. Indeed, David Lean did not trust the screenplay as he did not deem the story exciting, nevertheless, it was his first success worldwide and lot of people do still only link his name to The Bridge over the river Qwai

Regarding the shooting of The Bridge on the River Qwai everything was insane because Hollywood Studios did want the biggest accuracy available hence they demanded an American actor (William Holden) to make happy the American audience. It is also said that David Lean was on the verge of losing his life drowned having to be rescued just prior to perish and it is very famous indeed the predicament he had with British actors with whom he had some and very earnest confrontations.

What strikes us is that in such epoch Ceylon known now as Sri Lanka (the place chosen for the shooting) was a country under British influence, even though its population was living in penury, neither Britain nor other rich countries did care about the people who were stricken by poverty, rich countries little did to change the bad situation, however, there were not problems at all when it came to fulfilled all the caprices Movie producers wish for so that give the movie more attractiveness. As a matter of fact, they destroyed the local environment and change the nature in such a way that they were able to build a real bridge to subsequently explode it with a real train too, destroying surroundings and spending a lot of money to make the movie and film goers blissful making The Bridge on the River Qwai more appealing to a massive audience.

Colonel Bogey March, theme of the bridge on the river Qwai.
We should end with the famous melody "Colonel Bogey March" which was written by a British composer in 1914 who was inspired by the whistle a soldier did between one bogey and other while he was playing golf. The movie made him a star and nowadays it is the official hymn of the Canadian Official army.

It is one of the most popular and catchy songs within the entire history of the cinema, however, despite its fame its lyrics have been always been somewhat confused and ignored because of its rudeness, the truth is that in Second World War British soldiers added some particular lines of their own to the song that joyed them on his crusade against Germany during Second World War. Many people do not know the title of the song let alone the lyrics but when it sounds a smile is put on everybody´s face. David Lean was going to include it, but in the end he was persuaded to change his mind.

There is no doubt that is far too much better that an entertaining movie which praises the winners of the Second World War were the best movie of that year than awarding others that make us aware of loopholes on the Justice and the dark side of human soul as Witness for the Prosecution and 12 Angry Men do.

In short, it is really clear that on the edition of the Academy Awards of 1958 we would have applauded as seeing The bridge on the river Qwai winning, meanwhile, David Lean and the screenwriters had some relief, the owners of the production and the author of the lyrics of the famous swindle were laughing out loud whilst Sidney Lumet and Billy Wilder looked at each other in annoyance.

Thereafter, the famous theme from The Bridge over the River Qwai was heard whose lyrics are not more than the following....

Lyrics of Colonel Bogey March
Hitler has only got one ball,
Göring has two but very small,
Himmler is somewhat similar,
But poor old Goebbels has no balls at all.
Hitler has only got one ball,
The other is in the Albert Hall
His mother, the dirty bugger,

Cut it off when he was only small...
Alec B

Super Reviewer

December 29, 2013
Its an examination of madness disguised as an epic. The brilliance of the film is that it manages to appease audience expectations while also subverting them. The most important takeaway from the ending isn't the building of the bridge or the attempt to destroy it . . . it's how pointless everything ultimately was.
December 22, 2013
ROYAL THEATER, 2013/12/21
December 20, 2013
The Bridge on The River Kwai is second only to David Lean's own Lawrence of Arabia in terms of war epics, with sumptuous photography, an impressively literate and tragically ironic plot, and riveting, career defining performances from Alec Guinness, William Holden and Sessue Hayakawa as three very different men unknowingly stuck in an exciting cross-Atlantic battle of wills which culminates in an unforgettable climax.
August 5, 2007
David Lean's great wartime masterpiece is not really about war, but about minds who partake in war. THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI, based on a book by the French author Pierre Bouille, is one of the finest war films ever made- and it's my personal favorite war film. It has brilliant performances throughout, one of the finest scripts ever written and committed to a major motion picture, and visionary, headstrong direction.
November 15, 2013
Alec Guinness knocks it out of the park in The Bridge on the River Kwai leaving the viewer to ponder real moral conundrums.
August 9, 2012
The Bridge On The River Kwai is an intricate and endearing anti-war film.
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