"[44] Significant praise was also given to the actors especially Alec Guinness, Variety said that "the film is unquestionably Guinness'". Subsequent releases of the film finally gave them proper screen credit. It is as beautiful a film to watch today as it was in 1957, proudly boasting the Cinemascope format that was used to photograph the wilds of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) which stood in for the film… Witnessing the carnage, Clipton shakes his head, muttering, "Madness! The 1957 award winning British-American war film The Bridge on the River Kwai was based on the novel Le Pont de la Rivière Kwai (1952) which brought these struggles of the survivors to light. For the novel, see, 1957 World War II film directed by David Lean, American theatrical release poster, "Style A", A transcript of the interview and the documentary as a whole can be found in the new edition of John Coast's book, Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, 11th greatest British film of the 20th century, the highest-grossing film of 1957 in the United States and Canada, Best Screenplay – Based on Material from Another Medium, Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures, Best Sound Track Album, Dramatic Picture Score or Original Cast, AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition), "Complete National Film Registry Listing | Film Registry | National Film Preservation Board | Programs at the Library of Congress | Library of Congress", "New to the National Film Registry (December 1997) - Library of Congress Information Bulletin", "Flashback: A look back at this day in film history (, "How Father Brown Led Sir Alec Guinness to the Church", "links for research, Allied POWs under the Japanese", "The Colonel of Tamarkan: Philip Toosey and the, "Once-Stupendous-Now-Modest $2,700,000 Budget Kept Secret; 'River Kwai's' Sockfull Gross", "Balu Mahendra, who made his visuals speak, dies at 74", "Warren Buffett carries an American Express card and about $400 in cash", The Colonel of Tamarkan: Philip Toosey and the Bridge on the River Kwai, "Movies | Disc & Digital | Sony Pictures", "Wayne and Shuster Show, The Episode Guide (1954–1990) (series)", Lost and Found: The Story of Cook's Anchor, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama, National Board of Review Award for Best Film, New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Film, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Bridge_on_the_River_Kwai&oldid=992497779, Films featuring a Best Actor Academy Award-winning performance, Films featuring a Best Drama Actor Golden Globe winning performance, Films whose cinematographer won the Best Cinematography Academy Award, Films whose director won the Best Directing Academy Award, Films whose director won the Best Director Golden Globe, Films whose editor won the Best Film Editing Academy Award, Films whose writer won the Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award, Films that won the Best Original Score Academy Award, United States National Film Registry films, Films with screenplays by Michael Wilson (writer), Short description is different from Wikidata, Album articles lacking alt text for covers, Wikipedia articles with CANTIC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WorldCat-VIAF identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, $30.6 million (worldwide rentals from initial release), Best DVD Original Retrospective Documentary/Featurette, This page was last edited on 5 December 2020, at 16:08. Desperate, he uses the anniversary of Japan's 1905 victory in the Russo-Japanese War as an excuse to save face and announces a general amnesty, releasing Nicholson and his officers and exempting them from manual labour. The filming location for Bridge on the River Kwai is today indicated by a discreet, rusted piece of metal on which directions to the area have been painted. The major railway bridge described in the novel and film didn't actually cross the river known at the time as the Kwai. [43] Slant stated that "the 1957 epic subtly develops its themes about the irrationality of honor and the hypocrisy of Britain's class system without ever compromising its thrilling war narrative", and in comparing to other films of the time said that Bridge on the River Kwai "carefully builds its psychological tension until it erupts in a blinding flash of sulfur and flame. The movie was based on the 1952 novel by Pierre Boulle. I mean, at least not in my lifetime. To the producers' horror, the film containers were found a week later on an airport tarmac in Cairo, sitting in the hot sun. We hadn't much breath left for whistling. In particular, they objected to the implication presented in the film that Japanese military engineers were generally unskilled and unproficient at their professions. As the train approaches, they hurry down to the riverbank to investigate. The documentary itself was described by one newspaper reviewer when it was shown on Boxing Day 1974 (The Bridge on the River Kwai had been shown on BBC1 on Christmas Day 1974) as "Following the movie, this is a rerun of the antidote."[32]. Warden responds that he already knew and that the American Navy had agreed to transfer him to the British Army, along with Shears receiving a commission of major, to avoid embarrassment. [15] Guinness later reflected on the scene, calling it the "finest piece of work" he had ever done. Two trains a day leave Bangkok Thonburi station (also known as Bangkok Noi) on the West side of the river in Bangkok, for Kanchanaburi then River Kwai Bridge … "[43], Variety gave high praise for the movie saying that it is "a gripping drama, expertly put together and handled with skill in all departments. The Bridge on the River Kwai is a classic 1957 British-American war film based upon the 1952 novel Le Pont de la Rivière Kwai by Pierre Boulle. The Bridge On The River Kwai Film Facts. A train carrying important dignitaries and soldiers is scheduled to be the first to cross the bridge the following day, so Warden waits to destroy both. This film was shot in Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon), and a bridge was erected for the purpose of shooting the film over Kelani River at Kitulgala, Sri Lanka. The commandant, Colonel Saito, informs them that all prisoners, regardless of rank, will work on the construction of a railway bridge over the River Kwai that will connect Bangkok and Rangoon. [36] By October 1960, the film had earned worldwide box office revenues of $30 million. The Bridge on the River Kwai, British-American war film, released in 1957 and directed by David Lean, that was both a critical and popular success and became an enduring classic. The negative itself manifested many of the kinds of issues one would expect from a film of this vintage: torn frames, embedded emulsion dirt, scratches through every reel, colour fading. The official credit was given to Pierre Boulle (who did not speak English), and the resulting Oscar for Best Screenplay (Adaptation) was awarded to him. swept seven Academy Awards including the award for Best Picture. The conditions to which POW and civilian labourers were subjected were far worse than the film depicted. Nicholson yells for help, while attempting to stop Joyce from reaching the detonator. [6][7] In 1999, the British Film Institute voted The Bridge on the River Kwai the 11th greatest British film of the 20th century. Shears, who is a British commando officer like Warden in the novel, became an American sailor who escapes from the POW camp. Did he really want the enemy to come in across it?”[46], Some Japanese viewers disliked the film's depiction of the Japanese characters present in the movie and the historical background presented as being inaccurate, particularly in the interactions between Saito and Nicholson. In March 1958, The Bridge on the River Kwai swept seven Academy Awards including the award for Best Picture. We worked at bayonet point and under bamboo lash, taking any risk to sabotage the operation whenever the opportunity arose. The film was directed by David Lean and starred William Holding, Jack … Also, in the novel, the bridge is not destroyed: the train plummets into the river from a secondary charge placed by Warden, but Nicholson (never realising "what have I done?") [31] Ernest Gordon, a survivor of the railway construction and POW camps described in the novel/film, stated in a 1962 book, Through the Valley of the Kwai: "In Pierre Boulle's book The Bridge over the River Kwai and the film which was based on it, the impression was given that British officers not only took part in building the bridge willingly, but finished in record time to demonstrate to the enemy their superior efficiency. The senior British officer, Lieutenant Colonel Nicholson, informs Saito that the Geneva Conventions exempts officers from manual labour. The film was made in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). “The Bridge on the River Kwai” won Best Picture and six other Oscar nods from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences at the 1958 Academy Awards. Discover this hidden gem set away from the crowds. The fourth film in our blog series is ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’ (1957) directed by David Lean. The official credit was given to Pierre Boulle (who did not speak English), and the resulting Oscar for Best Screenplay (Adaptation) was awarded to him. After Guinness was done with the scene, Lean said, "Now you can all fuck off and go home, you English actors. It was the highest-grossing film of 1957 in the United States and Canada and was also the most popular film at the British box office that year. The filming of the bridge explosion was to be done on 10 March 1957, in the presence of S.W.R.D. War film directed in 1958 by David Lean, and starring William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, James Donald, Sessue Hayakawa, André Morell, Geoffrey Horne, Peter Williams, John Boxer, Percy Herbert, Harold Goodwin, Ann Sears, Heihachiro Okawa… But the unusual move paid off for ABC—the telecast drew huge ratings with a record audience of 72 million[49] and a Nielsen rating of 38.3 and an audience share of 61%. ", The screenwriters, Carl Foreman and Michael Wilson, were on the Hollywood blacklist and, even though living in exile in England, could only work on the film in secret. Boulle nonetheless enjoyed the film version though he disagreed with its climax. The four commandos parachute in, though one is killed on landing. British POWs are forced to build a railway bridge across the river Kwai for their Japanese captors, not knowing that the allied forces are planning to destroy it. Although the Kelani River was a slower-moving waterway during the film’s shooting than it is today, David Lean (the director of the movie) is said to have nearly drowned when the river swept him away during a break from filming. With William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Sessue Hayakawa. The movie, exploring the lives of British prisoners of war being held at a Japanese prison camp in Burma, was filmed in Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon) near the town of Kitulgala, which is known for its rainforests, adventure sports and activities. 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 humour and sympathy, while Lean thought Nicholson should be "a bore." David Lean's epic war drama The Bridge On The River Kwai is a film that succeeds in keeping the "epic" relatively small scale. Nicholson erects a sign commemorating the bridge's construction by the British Army. These problems resulted in a number of anomalies that were very difficult to correct, like a ghosting effect in many scenes that resembles colour mis-registration, and a tick-like effect with the image jumping or jerking side-to-side. Discussions over building a replica of the bridge are currently underway. The cast includes It was still highly unusual at that time for a television network to show such a long film in one evening; most films of that length were still generally split into two parts and shown over two evenings. The Bridge On The River Kwai – 1957 – English. The movie, exploring the lives of British prisoners of war being held at a Japanese prison camp in Burma, was filmed in Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon) near the town of Kitulgala, which is known for its rainforests, adventure sports and activities. The Bridge on the River Kwai is a British 1957 movie from Columbia Pictures, based on Pierre Boulle's 1952 book The Bridge over the River Kwai (French: Le Pont de la Rivière Kwai).The movie was mainly filmed in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and also in England.. In a 1988 interview with Barry Norman, Lean confirmed that Columbia almost stopped filming after three weeks because there was no white woman in the film, forcing him to add what he calls, "a very terrible scene" between William Holden and the nurse on the beach. But the reality was a bit different than the movie. He created the railroad. He wanders half-dead into a Siamese village, where he is nursed back to health before completing his escape to the British colony of Ceylon. Sri Lanka is to rebuild the replica bridge destroyed in an iconic scene from the film Bridge on the River Kwai, as part of a tourism drive. [25][26] Some consider the film to be an insulting parody of Toosey. Unique to this film, in some ways, were other issues related to poorly made optical dissolves, the original camera lens and a malfunctioning camera. During its construction, approximately 13,000 prisoners of war died and were buried along the railway. Despite this, he won an Oscar and a Grammy. Bookmark the permalink. An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 civilians also died in the course of the project, chiefly forced labour brought from Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, or conscripted in Siam (Thailand) and Burma. When Major Clipton, the British medical officer, warns Saito there are too many witnesses for him to get away with murder, Saito leaves the officers standing all day in the intense heat. This was an incorrect assumption. [52] The image was restored by OCS, Freeze Frame, and Pixel Magic with George Hively editing. [42], Slant Magazine gave the film four out of five stars. Toosey in fact did as much as possible to delay the building of the bridge. Over the protests of some of his officers, he orders Captain Reeves and Major Hughes to build a proper bridge, in order to maintain his men's morale and pride in their professionalism. The film is set in 1943, as the forces of Imperial Japan are tightening their hold on South East Asia. Warden fires a mortar, wounding Nicholson. The train crashed into a generator on the other side of the bridge and was wrecked. The march was written in 1914 by Kenneth J. Alford, a pseudonym of British Bandmaster Frederick J. Ricketts. Guinness later said that he subconsciously based his walk while emerging from "the Oven" on that of his eleven-year-old son Matthew,[14] who was recovering from polio at the time, a disease that left him temporarily paralyzed from the waist down. Although it was not exposed to sunlight, the heat-sensitive colour film stock should have been hopelessly ruined; however, when processed the shots were perfect and appeared in the film. [17], The producers nearly suffered a catastrophe following the filming of the bridge explosion. Toosey later defended him in his war crimes trial after the war, and the two became friends. The wooden bridge over the River Kwae Yai, which in Boulle’s book was called the River Kwai, was completed in February 1943, followed by a concrete and steel bridge completed in June 1943. The 1957 movie Bridge on the River Kwai may be one of the most famous war movies ever made, winning seven Oscars including Best Picture and Best Actor for Alec Guinness. [8], The film was relatively faithful to the novel, with two major exceptions. Wise: "I never heard it in Thailand. Mitch Miller had a hit with a recording of both marches. The dazed colonel stumbles towards the detonator and collapses on the plunger, blowing up the bridge and send the train hurtling into the river. IT WAS LOOSELY BASED ON REAL EVENTS. Kithulgala – The Filming Location of The Bridge on the River Kwai They were put to work under terrible conditions and were treated brutally. Thank God that I'm starting work tomorrow with an American actor (William Holden)."[13]. The destruction of the bridge as depicted in the film is also entirely fictional. David Lean’s 1957 The Bridge On The River Kwai is an epic anti-war film. Joyce, manning the detonator, breaks cover and stabs Saito to death. It was repaired in time to be blown up the next morning, with Bandaranaike and his entourage present. The Bridge on the River Kwai, British-American war film, released in 1957 and directed by David Lean, that was both a critical and popular success and became an enduring classic. Three prisoners escape. When Joyce is mortally wounded by Japanese fire, Shears swims across the river, but is himself shot. [42] Ebert notes that the film is one of the few war movies that "focuses not on larger rights and wrongs but on individuals", but commented that the viewer is not certain what is intended by the final dialogue due to the film's shifting points of view. Thailand's Kanchanaburi. Nicholson drives his men hard to complete the bridge on time. That evening, the officers are placed in a punishment hut, while Nicholson is locked in an iron box after getting beaten as punishment. In many tense, dramatic scenes, only the sounds of nature are used. The filming location for Bridge on the River Kwai is today indicated by a discreet, rusted piece of metal on which directions to the area have been painted. [33], The Bridge on the River Kwai was a massive commercial success. He, Shears, and Canadian Lieutenant Joyce reach the river in time with the assistance of Siamese women bearers and their village chief, Khun Yai. "The ending of that was sort of the story of life. In reality, Japanese engineers proved to be just as capable at construction efforts as their Allied counterparts.[47][48]. Attention! What I Learned From Watching: The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) YouTube Video A video essay written, edited, and narrated by Tyler Knudsen about the production of “River Kwai” and some film … The movie garnered seven Academy Awards , including that for best picture, as well as … Usually, the correspondence centres on requests for support from the War Office. That makes the Bridge on the River Kwai one of Kanchanaburi’s most popular war-related attractions – there are always crowds trudging across it and snapping photos – but it is actually something of a misnomer. Directed by David Lean. The Bridge on The River Kwai. Lean shouted at them, 'For God's sake, whistle a march to keep time to.' These issues, running throughout the film, were addressed to a lesser extent on various previous DVD releases of the film and might not have been so obvious in standard definition. Should Saito fail to meet his deadline, he would be obliged to commit ritual suicide. [25] 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, due to his collaboration he would have been "quietly eliminated" by the other prisoners. Realising he has no choice, Shears "volunteers". Saito threatens to have them shot, but Nicholson refuses to back down. However, in 1943 a railway bridge was built by Allied POWs over the Mae Klong river – renamed Khwae Yai in the 1960s as a result of the film – at Tha Ma Kham, five kilometres from Kanchanaburi, Thailand. Although the 1957 film was set on the Death Railway of Burma, where British PoWs built a real bridge over a real River Kwai in Thailand, it was filmed in Sri Lanka. Many historical inaccuracies in the film have often been noted by eyewitnesses to the building of the real Burma Railway and historians. Recently, the Tourist Board of Sri Lanka has considered installing a replica of the bridge from the film to promote further interest in Kitulgala and its surrounding rainforests to visiting tourists. [55], This article is about the film. Ordinarily, the film would have been taken by boat to London, but due to the Suez crisis this was impossible; therefore the film was taken by air freight. Bandaranaike, then Prime Minister of Ceylon, and a team of government dignitaries. But I am writing a factual account, and in justice to these men—living and dead—who worked on that bridge, I must make it clear that we never did so willingly. The bridge in the film was near Kitulgala. It stresses the importance of duty, but Kwai is quick to show how adherence to duty for the wrong reasons (pride, for example) can tempt disaster.This film may look like another glossy World War II film from the late 1950s, but it is in a class all by itself. The two did not collaborate on the script; Wilson took over after Lean was dissatisfied with Foreman's work. This was an entertaining story. You may not have heard of Kanchanaburi, but there’s a strong chance that you’re familiar with the 1957 Academy Award-winning dramatic film ‘The Bridge Over the River Kwai’, which was set there. [4][5] It has been included on the American Film Institute's list of best American films ever made. David Lean himself also claimed that producer Sam Spiegel cheated him out of his rightful part in the credits since he had had a major hand in the script. On another occasion, they argued over the scene where Nicholson reflects on his career in the army. "[40] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 87 out of 100 based on 14 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". The separate dialogue, music and effects were located and remixed with newly recorded "atmospheric" sound effects. On February 1, 2021, MHM's Film Reviews will only be available on our YouTube Channel. Under cover of darkness, Shears and Joyce plant explosives on the bridge towers. The Bridge on the River Kwai is an epic World War II film directed by David Lean and based on the novel by Pierre Boulle. Like Robert Graves' World War I memoir, Goodbye to All That, it shows men grimly hanging onto military discipline and pride in their units as a way of clinging to sanity. [45], Warren Buffett said it was his favorite movie. Thanks to the film, the Bridge, situated in the Thai town of Kanchanaburi a couple of hours drive from Bangkok, is one of Thailand’s most popular tourist attractions. `` the ending of that was sort of the Burma Railway and bridge on the River Kwai lost. Yells for help, while attempting to stop Joyce from reaching the detonator Magic George... Guinness where was bridge on the river kwai filmed exploded in anger when Guinness asked him why he was doing this disagreed with its.! 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