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Purchase The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) Movie Online and Download - David Lean 🎥
Drama, Adventure, War
IMDB rating:
David Lean
William Holden as Shears
Alec Guinness as Colonel Nicholson
Jack Hawkins as Major Warden
Sessue Hayakawa as Colonel Saito
James Donald as Major Clipton
Geoffrey Horne as Lieutenant Joyce
André Morell as Colonel Green (as Andre Morell)
Peter Williams as Captain Reeves
John Boxer as Major Hughes
Percy Herbert as Grogan
Ann Sears as Nurse
Heihachiro Okawa as Captain Kanematsu (as Henry Okawa)
Keiichirô Katsumoto as Lieutenant Miura (as K. Katsumoto)
Storyline: The film deals with the situation of British prisoners of war during World War II who 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 are persuaded that the bridge should be constructed as a symbol of British morale, spirit and dignity in adverse circumstances. At first, the prisoners admire Nicholson when he bravely endures torture rather than compromise his principles for the benefit of the Japanese commandant Saito. He is an honorable but arrogant man, who is slowly revealed to be a deluded obsessive. He convinces himself that the bridge is a monument to British character, but actually is a monument to himself, and his insistence on its construction becomes a subtle form of collaboration with the enemy. Unknown to him, the Allies have sent a mission into the jungle, led by Warden and an American, Shears, to blow up the bridge.
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Changed the way I look at war movies!
The reason why I gave this movie a 10/10 is because not a movie before or since has shown me war in the same way. I am not implying that I have watched every war movie out there but of the one I have I can honestly say this movie is really unique. This movie is great for a number of reasons but what really makes this movie great in my opinion is that it does not glorify war like some movies (G.I Joe an obvious example) or show the tragedies of war (one example is Full Metal Jacket.) This movies shows war in a totally different light. War is not good or mad but a matter of principle. Both Colonel Nicholson and Colonel Saito are crazy and would rather dying than give in to the other. The struggle between these two for me show that war is not good or bad but a struggle and both you and your enemy are in the same struggle, the struggle to succeed, the struggle to survive. Not everything is black and white.

Another dynamic that plays into the movie is that at the same time this bridge is trying to be built the British forces are trying to destroy the bridge. This movie does a really good job of showing different sides to this struggle, not just the POW's side but also who the Japanese commander' side and also the British trying to destroy's side throughout the movie.

Lastly, This movie had some amazing performances by Alec Guinness who played Colonel Nicholson, Sessue Hayakawa who played Colonel Saito, but I really enjoyed everyone in this movie and I didn't think this movie had a bad performance. Also this movie had amazing directing by David Lean, editing by Peter Taylor and cinematography by Jack Hildyard.

This movie is one of the greatest movies in cinema history. What this movie did that I have never seen before or since was is didn't look at war as good or bad but a struggle.
David Lean's best work since Lawrence of Arabia
I've made a list of the top 10 favorite movies that I would to watch over and over again. These 10 movies will forever be near my heart and always influenced me to be a movie director in the future. The Bridge on the River Kwai is definitely one of the top 10 favorite films on my list. Of course, I also enjoyed and love other great movies as well. Other movies included on the my list are: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Bullitt, The Terminator, Thief, Lethal Weapon, The Wild Bunch and Alien. The Bridge on the River Kwai is also included. The movie is set in Burma during World War II. The year is 1943, and British POW's are being held up in Japanese war camps. One of those British POW's is Colonel Nicholson, played by Alec Guinness, who won an Academy Award for his role in this movie. Nicholson and his fellow men are assigned to build a bridge that will be used for a railway that will go through the Burmese jungle. Meanwhile, another POW, an American, played by William Holden, plans to blow up the bridge and sets off into the jungle to escape from the camp. Eventually, Holden and his recruits are all rounded to destroyed what is being constructed. David Lean is a cinematic master. His work is eye-popping and very vivid to look at. However, he is not one of my favorite directors. But, what I like about this movie is the way he tells the story. Some people may called it a war movie. But, others, like myself, would say that this movie is both a war movie, but most importantly, a war movie about individuals. So many war movies reflect on the pain of war. A lot of them reflect on the horrors of war itself. The Bridge on the River Kwai is a war movie about people. The people in this movie are devoted to be put into a plot that involves having to struggle and survive this snaring scenario. As we watch Bridge on the River Kwai, we are reminded that the two leading characters are different men coming from different backgrounds. One is honorable, but arrogant among his men. The other is not honorable and damaging, perhaps. These two men are stuck in a story where the only thing that stands in their way is a bridge. As a matter of fact, the bridge also plays a significant role in the movie. The bridge is a mark of the Japanese colonel, who assigned Nicholson to build the bridge. The Bridge on the River Kwai won 7 Oscars, including Best Picture. I like it a lot. Much of it is based on the story, direction and characters. I like when movies break new ground with their original stories. It's films like this one that reminds us how much we love movies. David Lean should be proud of making this movie, since it struggled through a troubled production. An excellent movie for the generation of film-makers. ★★★★ 4 stars.
A must see with an interesting plot and character development.
The Bridge on the River Kwai is an excellent movie and definitely one of the best of it's time. Yes, it's another world war 2 story, however, it's completely different from all the rest and shows us some of the events that took place elsewhere during this time of war.

As many of you probably know, this movie is based on real life events. In many ways, I believe that the message being portrayed throughout the film shows us the "other" harsh realities of war, not just soldiers dying in battle, but soldiers fighting to survive under harsh conditions, the pride of a captain who stands by his code, the pride of a Japanese captain and overall how both parties realise that war is what it is and we have to make the best out of each situation to survive.

When I first decided to see this movie, I thought it was going to be very mediocre and plain. It was not. On several occasions they managed to keep the plot interesting and create new character developments from both the leading actors as well as the supporting actors that made the story enjoyable to watch. And on a final note, you can really tell that they tried to put a lot of detail and "special effects" into their shots which is impressive for the time.

Don't miss out on this one.
David Lean directed this superb, Academy Award winning(best picture and director) film set in a Japanese WWII POW camp for British(and one American) soldiers. Alec Guiness(Academy Award winner for best actor) stars as Col. Nicholson, who is subjected to harsh treatment(the sweat box) by Col. Saito in defiance of his authority, and for the respect he and his men are entitled to. Saito gives in, and Nicholson then proceeds with the original plan to build a railway bridge in the jungle to help the Japanese with their resupplying efforts. William Holden plays the American among them who escapes to freedom, but is persuaded to return with a Major Warden(played by Jack Hawkins) on a mission to destroy the bridge that Nicholson is now determined to complete! Fine war film and character study about personal vs. patriotic motives in war, and how they can both collide and collude... Memorable ending and final quote says it all.
Among the Best.
This may be the best war movie -- if that's what it is -- that was ever put together. I don't think it would be made today. It was expensive and there were no women in it to speak of, and any committee member with an MBA reading the script would wonder why there wasn't more action. Further, the movie hasn't got any magnificent computerized graphics going for it. And we hardly see any blood. And nobody's head gets blown apart. And there's not a foul word in it.

David Lean has pulled off a neat stunt, making a superb film with a good script, great performances, effective location shooting, a subtext that provokes thought, a marvelously believable set of characterizations -- and no gimmicks.

It begins traditionally enough, with red mud and brilliant green foliage, and an authentic prisoner of war camp into which Nicholson's captured battalion marches proudly. The first real hint we get of the film's originality is when the men are marching in place to Colonel Bogey's march and we get one or two shots of feet stomping up and down on the wet gravel. One pair of feet wears only half shoes. The toes are pointing out of the right shoe. On the left shoe, the upper has separated from the sole, and it flaps up and down as the foot inside it drives into the earth. Not only is the shot THERE but it's lingered over, just long enough.

William Holden is running through the bushes, trying to escape from the camp, disturbing flocks of bird that chirp madly at him. One of his Japanese pursuers shoots him and he tumbles into a turbulent river. In any Hollywood movie, the drop would be done by a stunt man in the usual manner -- head over heels, arms flailing, off the cliff. Not here. Holden falls feet first, hands and palms held out at his sides, as if expecting to land on a trampoline. He simply doesn't FALL like a professional.

The film is loaded with grace notes like this. It's difficult to imagine a director willing to take the time to fine tune his film like this today because both the people making films and the viewers themselves are impatient to get on with the story and reach the next scene that has sex, blood, or comedy in it. I wonder if it's coincidental that people now categorize themselves as fans of one or another basketball team instead of a baseball team. Watching a baseball game calls for patience while the batter digs his cleated shoes into the dirt around the plate. Basketball is all momentum and no patience is required.

I won't go on about the movie except to say that it's masterly in almost every respect. But I guess I will mention one more thing of the sort that impressed me, dealing with characterization. Throughout the movie, we've been told and shown that Nicholson cares for nothing so much as the bridge itself. He began by thinking of it as a way to keep up the men's morale and a reason for keeping discipline, but it has come to have functional autonomy, eclipsing everything else in importance. Note the way Guiness's eyes light up in the day-for-night scene when he's told that similar bridges built of English elms have lasted for three hundred years. "Three hundred years!", he marvels.

Likewise, the supporting character of Joyce, on the commandos, is shown as being uncertain of whether he could use his knife in hand to hand combat or not. When an armed Japanese soldier appears at arm's length, Joyce freezes and Jack Hawkins dashes in to kill the man.

These two traits -- Nicholson's obsession with the bridge and Joyce's inability to use a knife -- are set up so that the final (and only) confrontation between Nicholson and Joyce can take place the way it does. Nicholson screams, "Blow up the BRIDGE?", grabs Joyce's legs and pulls him down to the sand, preventing Joyce from reaching the detonator. Commandoes be damned, nobody is going to destroy his bridge. Hawkins and Holden shout from the opposite bank of the river, urging Joyce to "kill him!" But Joyce can't kill him without using a knife, which we know he will be unable to do.

It's a perfect payoff for what we've learned about the two men.

Did Nicholson deliberately throw himself on the detonator as he was dying or did he fall on it by accident? Who cares. If he did it deliberately it would be a heroic act since he finally "came to his senses." But an accident would be more in keeping with the ironic tone of the rest of the film. At the end, everyone and everything of importance is dead except Clipton the humanitarian doctor who tells us unnecessarily that this is "madness" -- and those floating vultures with their Olympian view of these goings-on.

It's a gripping movie from beginning to end, a magnificent job by everyone involved.
An insult
Thousands of prisoners died building the Burma Railway and their memory deserves better than this. They were not sheep and did what they could to resist the Japanese. Former POWs have said that the fictional Nicholson would have been quietly eliminated, even if he had reached the unlikely rank of Lt-Colonel. The real officer in charge, Philip Toosey, was a hero and this film insults his memory. You cannot make a great film by telling a monstrous lie. Sadly many people only learn history from films and so each generation that sees it is misled. All TV companies should do the honourable thing and never show this film, or perhaps insert statements at various points to point out its injustices and multiple inaccuracies.
Winner of so many awards, they would take up more than 2 pages of text!
Copyright 1958 by Horizon Productions. Released worldwide through Columbia Pictures Corp. New York opening: 18 December 1957. U.S. release: November 1957. U.K. release: 9 February 1958. Australian release: 8 March 1958. Sydney opening at the Lyceum. 14,506 feet. 161 minutes. (Available on a superb Columbia DVD).

SYNOPSIS: Captured British officer eventually agrees to co-operate with the Japanese in building a railway bridge across the River Kwai.

NOTES: Extraordinarily, Pierre Boulle himself, author of the 1955 novel, although he had absolutely nothing at all to do with the writing of the screenplay, was handed the annual Academy Award for Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.

The only other category for which the film was Oscar-nominated was Supporting Actor, in which Sessue Hayakawa was defeated by Red Buttons in "Sayonara".

On the other hand, this movie was the Winner of the British Film Academy Awards for Best Film, Best Screenplay (incorrectly awarded to novelist Pierre Boulle instead of Carl Foreman and Michael Wilson), Best Actor, Sir Alec Guinness.

Winner of the New York Film Critics Awards for Best Motion Picture, Best Direction, Best Male Performance (Sir Alec Guinness). Most Outstanding Directorial Achievement of 1957 — Directors Guild of America.

Best Film of 1958 — Film Daily poll of American film critics. Best Film of 1957, Best Director, Best Actor (Guinness), Best Supporting Actor (Hayakawa) — National Board of Review.

Number one attraction at the U.S. and Canadian box office for 1958 with an initial domestic rental gross exceeding $15 million. Number one box office hit in the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Ceylon, Burma and South Africa for 1958. Top of the foreign film rentals in India and second to Sayonara among foreign film releases in Japan.

Negative cost: only $2.9 million. Locations filmed in Burma. A major contribution to the music score's success is due to Malcolm Arnold's use of K.J. Alford's "Colonel Bogey March".

COMMENT: Although I'd agree with a minority of critics that William Holden, fine actor though he is, doesn't quite belong in this movie, it still ranks as an outstanding achievement in all departments. I'm inclined to agree for once with the Press Book superlatives, headlined here as BRITAIN'S GREATEST MOTION PICTURE TRIUMPH! Maybe a little less than "greatest" as there are a number of films including The Red Shoes, Great Expectations, The Winslow Boy, The Third Man, Henry V and Owd Bob which have equal if not superior claims. But a great British triumph certainly. Thanks mainly to Guinness, Hayakawa, Hildyard, Arnold, and Lean.

ANOTHER REVIEW: The movie holds up reasonably well. The conflict between three national types represented by Guinness, Hayakawa and Holden is not only well observed and sharply presented, but still holds true these twenty years later. Holden is not outdone or out- acted or even over-classed. In fact he holds up his end remarkably well. Hawkins does not have a principal role, but heads the A-1 support cast... Not only a marvelous technical triumph, but powerful, perhaps even too forceful entertainment (to use that word in its broadest sense). Only the somewhat ambiguously too-ironical conclusion fails to fully satisfy and drive the message really solidly home. — J.H.R. in Sydney Shout (December 1977).
Great war movie
I heard a film critic once say that there really aren't "war movies"; there are only "anti-war" movies. I'm still not sure what I think of that claim, but having seen - The Bridge on the River Kwai- enough times in the past several years, I think I'm persuaded that it's at least half right. -Kwai-, I believe, is both a "war" and "anti-war" movie, and, in my view, it succeeds admirably at both.

There is almost no element of -Kwai- that is not praise-worthy. David Lean's direction is tight and evocative. The cinematography is great (even though the color seems increasingly drained in film versions that I have seen). The acting is top-notch. I honestly believe that this is Alec Guiness's best performance, and Sessue Hayakawa is also highly sympathetic and believable. William Holden and Jack Hawkins round out the cast nicely.

The musical score is also right on. Simply put, -Kwai- is an excellently constructed film made by people who obviously cared a great deal about it. As a result, the viewer comes to care a great deal about it as well.

Clearly -Kwai- is an anti-war film. There is no glorification here. War is brutal, period. It's brutality is not captured here in terms of gory carnage or senseless battles. Instead, the psychological dimension of brutality comes across clearly. Yet, -Kwai- also shows the resilience of the human spirit as well as its complexity. One is left wondering if participation in World War II not only psychologically brutalized the characters played by Guiness, Hayakawa, and Holden but also if it simultaneously uplifted them. The paradox is striking to me each time I view this film. War can act both as a positive and negative catalyst, and it can do both of these things at the same instant.

So, is -The Bridge on the River Kwai- a war movie or an anti-war movie? I think Lean clearly preferred the latter, but the subject matter and his approach to it may have landed somewhere in between.

Regardless, -Kwai- is a fantastic film experience and is not to be missed. It is, simply put, my very favorite film--bar none.
Award-winning rendition about famed novel with extraordinaries performances and scenarios
In the luxurious jungle of Thailand, British prisoners(Alec Guinnes, James Donald,Percy Herbert, among others) of WWII captured in the fall of Singapur are taken by Japanese wards for building a railway bridge on the trail since Bangcock until Rangun. With extraordinary appearance when the prisoners arrive in the POW war camp whistle the title song,the Colonel Bogey March. Central plot is the troublesome relationship between the obstinate Colonel Nicholson(Alec Guinnes) and cruel ruler, Colonel Saito(Sessue Hayakawa) and parallel efforts by escaped convict(William Holden), officer (Jack Hawkins) and soldier(Geoffrey Horne) to destroy it.

This excellent film , winner of numerous Oscars is magnificently directed by David Lean. However , first was slated Alexander Korda , but he withdrew due he deemed wrong the main roles. Also was originally considered Howard Hawks, but he abandoned, especially concern was the all male lead characters and because his previous film, Land of the pharaohs, failed at the Box office. Gary Grant was firstly hired , but declined due to other offers and was substituted by William Holden. Carl Foreman and Michael Wilson were uncredited , but were blacklisted as suspect communists and only appears credited Pierre Boulle who won Academy Award for best adapted script , though he didn't know English language. In 1984 when the movie was restored, they retrospectively won the prize, but sadly they had dead, however their names were justly added to writing credits. The famous march whistle by prisoners ,is original from 1916 titled ¨Bollocks and the same for you¨ by the Mayor Ricketts, a chief of musical band and the real words were obscene, later is re-titled the Colonel Bogey March. Deservedly won the Oscar for best musical score by Malcolm Arnold. The actual bridge was built by prisoners in two months and constructed for film was four months with help elephants and by hundred workers and length of 425 feet long and 50 foot above the water, in Ceylon location. But was demolished in a matter of seconds, as is reflected splendidly in the movie.
American Versus British Values
This movie is about a clash of cultures, partly between East and West, the Orient and the Occident, but even more so between America and Great Britain, between American cynicism, individualism, and egalitarianism on the one hand, and idealistic, class-conscious British collectivism on the other.

Shears is the sole American in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp during World War II, while the rest of the prisoners are British. This underscores his individualism. It turns out later that he is really an enlisted man posing as an officer, showing his contempt for class distinctions. He thought being an officer would mean that he would not have to work as hard as a prisoner. Since that did not go as planned, he bribes the guards to give him light duty. And he regularly ridicules the British dedication to the war effort.

The British on the other hand regard the distinction between officers and enlisted men as sacrosanct. This is especially embodied in commanding officer Colonel Nicholson, who balks when he finds out, as did Shears, that the Japanese camp commander, Colonel Saito, requires officers to work right alongside the enlisted men. He refuses to order his men to work and suffers several days of harsh punishment as a result. Saito eventually has to relent and let the British officers merely supervise the work of enlisted men, because he needs to get the title bridge built.

But then, half-way through the movie, after Shears has escaped and winds up in a British hospital, everything goes into reverse. Major Warden, a British officer, coerces Shears into going back to sabotage the railroad bridge in the camp he escaped from, which will allow Shears to avoid being prosecuted for impersonating an officer. The other member of the team will be Lieutenant Joyce, so Warden says he will make Shears a major for the purpose of the mission, so that the rigid distinction between officers and enlisted men will not have to be observed.

Meanwhile, back in the jungle, Nicholson is anxious to get the bridge built, and to build it as an example of British engineering excellence. The other officers are in favor of surreptitiously delaying the building of the bridge and making sure that it is inferior, so as to minimize their assistance to the enemy, but Nicholson thinks that building a bridge that will redound to British glory for hundreds of years is more important than its effect on the war. Furthermore, when he realizes that they are behind schedule, he violates the very code he fought for, and gets the officers to work alongside the enlisted men. He even asks men in the camp hospital to get out of their beds and pitch in.

In spite of himself, Shears ends up being the officer in charge of the mission, sacrificing himself in order to destroy the bridge, while Nicholson dies realizing the enormity of what he has done.
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