The Bridge on the River Kwai - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Bridge on the River Kwai Reviews

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April 16, 2017
Everybody has those kind of movies where for one reason or another they are universally acclaimed, but personally you just don't understand the full appeal. This is one such movie for me. The scope of the production is impressive, but an over three hour run time is always a slog for me, unless I feel the movie truly earned it, this just doesn't earn it. It's one of those 'classics' that you shouldn't feel bad about not seeing.
½ April 16, 2017
I'm rather divisive on what rating this film truly deserves, on the higher end, it's a visual masterpiece with stunning performances, revolutionary cinematography that matches the look of modern films, a catchy score and a thought-provoking narrative, however on the lower end, it's rather ambiguous. David Lean stands to this day as one of my all-time favourite directors, with many of his flicks remaining some of my personal favourites. One question though: does 'The Bridge on the River Kwai' stand as one of the finest war films ever made? You bet it does.

Whilst watching this movie, maybe it's my own personal perception, but I was able to spot areas of inspiration that would later influence other movies such as 'The Great Escape' and 'Cool Hand Luke', perhaps solely because this was one of the first and one of the best prisoner of war / "prison" films. The main area that I found amazing, was the stunning cinematography, it is completely revolutionary, like that in his epic 'Lawrence of Arabia' to follow, there were shots I was staring at in awe, compelled by the vast vistas of the Burmese landscapes, unsure as to whether I was watching a movie from the 1950's or modern day, it is completely stunning and ahead of its time.

Alec Guinness and Sessue Hayakawa are the main stars in this film, each one mad and each one resilient. Guinness, the British officer standing up for what he knows is right, Hayakawa, the Japanese colonel standing up for what he "believes" is right. The majority of the film focusses on the feud between the two characters and their eventual understanding, but also as Guinness's Colonel Nicholson slowly comes to realise what's occurred through his "madness" as in horror, he says "What have I done?" before landing the final blow. The ambiguity occurs when James Donald arrives, repeatedly quoting "Madness...", but at the same time it's a powerful punch to conclude the aforementioned scenes, it is completely riveting and complex, in it's character development and plot development. An utter stunner of the war genre, and (as a patriotic Briton) it's nice to see British resilience in the face of adversity at its finest, whether war or peace, we'll walk along whistling, holding our heads up high.
April 15, 2017
Thought movie great til i read real story in killing the risen sun. How Hollywood could have written and changed the British lt colonel into collaborating instead of the real story of not collaborating plus the horrific treatment of POW held there was quite disappointing. I am Former POW felt betrayed when they viewed movie and portrayal of there commander
April 15, 2017
Since reading killing the risen sun and learning of the horrific atrosities of these men - i watched this movie again. I gave it a 5.
April 5, 2017
The cast's charm and the great tension leads the movie in a perfect way. "The Bridge on the River Kwai" addresses the most complicated themes to approach in a war environment like pacience, discipline and respect for the superiors in charge. Even though it's almost 3 hours long, it deserves to be watched!
March 9, 2017
Classic movie that won best picture in 1957. It's about 2.5 hours in length, but worth your time. the movie does an amazing job building the tension to the final ending and it all pays off to one of the greatest endings in movie history.
March 7, 2017
Inspired to watch this by the Top Gear Burma Special (S21) it was a rewarding film to watch. The film was rewarding and I found myself reflecting on it more than I thought I would. I.e. Why was so much time dedicated to the protest against British officers working on the bridge when, in the end, they did?
I will watch this film again to resolve my plot concerns -- but this must be a sign it was an excellent film!
February 28, 2017
It wouldn't be an overstatement to say this is the greatest and most important war film ever made.
February 28, 2017
While most war films concentrate more of violent war scenes, this one focuses much more on the characters themselves, and the interaction between them which is boosted by well written dialogue and competent actors. As a result, The Bridge on the River Kwai is one of the best movies in history, and even creates a feeling of suspense, before the blowing of the bridge, something that I was not expecting at all. Recommended !!
February 11, 2017
An absolute collapse from the beginning. It's terrible. (First and only viewing - 7/12/2010)
½ February 10, 2017
Excellent character study, that fleshes out psyches and makes you question who is in the right, while not giving you a clear answer. Couple that with some knockout performances, makes this prestigious and timeless.
December 30, 2016
Guinness steals the show and inspires...the movie delivering a powerful ending that stayed with me
½ December 20, 2016
Alec Guinness is the best part of this movie.
December 16, 2016
It's a great classic with very good screenplay. Full of conflicts everywhere. Each character in the movie has a valid reason for what he is doing. Colonel Nicholson's obsession to the bridge, Shear's escape and back to the bridge, and Joyce's inability to kill somebody with a knife all ead to the confrontation of these 3 men in the final scene. Colonel Nicholson wants to prove British soldiers can build a great bridge, but he loses sight of the British's true plan.
November 24, 2016
Great movie! Not as good as Lawrence Of Arabia but.
September 19, 2016
I'll admit that, prior to watching this classic film, I was under the impression that it was simply a movie about building a bridge in the midst of a war. Now I know there is so much more going on than just that. It's actually a film about obsession, duty, pride, and so much more. Alec Guinness does something in The Bridge on the River Kwai that I never expected and it simply amazed me. His character takes such an interesting arc throughout the film, and our opinion of him shifts along with that arc. I was fascinated with how dramatically my emotions about one man could vary so dramatically over the course of a few hours. I, personally, feel the shortcoming of this film is the fact that we leave the POW camp for way too long about two-thirds of the way through the movie. The prisoners and the bridge was the story I was invested in, that was the plot I wanted to see in center focus most of the time. Leaving the camp for a couple brief scenes to setup the ending would have worked, but they completely shift the entire film and try to establish a whole new cast of characters, meanwhile I'm waiting to get back to the guys I cared about. It's not enough to ruin the movie, and knowing the team of commandos adds some extra emotion to the climax, I just didn't know if it was necessary. However, even with some small aspects that discouraged me, The Bridge on the River Kwai is an amazing movie and I can see why it has been highly regarded for so long.
September 2, 2016
Winner of 7 Oscars including Best Picture, "The Bridge on the River Kwai" was a spectacular film! With amazing direction by David Lean (who won Best Director & who later directed the Oscar winning epic, "Lawrence of Arabia"), great acting by Alec Guinness (who won Best Actor), William Holden, & Sessue Hayakawa, an engaging story, & perfect settings, this film truly is one of the greatest of the 20th Century and all time!
½ August 28, 2016
Overlong look at a prisoner of war camp run by Japanese during WWII. Very strong performance by Guinness, even though I found the character to be too by the book making him have no common sense. The situation was a bit difficult to imagine really taking place as well. Still, it had enough going for it to keep your interest for nearly three hours. Decent war time movie.
August 28, 2016
"The Bridge on the River Kwai" is not what generally comes to mind when you think of a WWII epic. Instead of tanks, air raids and gun battles, this film focuses on the Prisoner of War camps where soldiers were forced into labor and unjust punishment. I loved the content of the film but 2 hours and 40 minutes was way too long to tell this story. Everything develops so slowly that it becomes difficult to stay focused. It is celebrated as one of the greatest films of all time but I can't find any reason that this film should have beat "Twelve Angry Men" for the Best Picture and Best Director Oscars. I don't even think that it is as good as "Witness for the Prosecution," another Best Picture nominee from 1957. Still, Alec Guinness puts on an Oscar-winning performance and several of the film's iconic scenes have etched their imprint onto cinema history. I feel nostalgic during the "Colonel Bogey March" sequence, the hot box scene is very raw, and the "What have I done?" concluding scene is excellent. Even though this movie came out 20 years before "Star Wars," it is hard to watch Guinness without thinking about Obi-Wan Kenobi the entire time. Ironically, I believe his Oscar-nominated "Star Wars" performance to be better than his performance in this film. I would even go as far to say that Charles Laughton, Henry Fonda, and Lee J. Cobb were all more deserving of the 1957 Oscar. The acting in this film is good but the scenery, cinematography, and screenplay are what you will remember. "The Bridge on the River Kwai" is a significant part of cinema history but its legacy is tainted by several other films of its era that contain superior acting and dialogue.
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