The Bridge on the River Kwai

1957 film directed by David Lean

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.

The Bridge on the River Kwai
Directed byDavid Lean
Gus Agosti & Ted Sturgis (assistants)
Written byPierre Boulle (novel)
Carl Foreman & Michael Wilson (screenplay)
Produced bySam Spiegel
StarringAlec Guinness
Sessue Hayakawa
William Holden
CinematographyJack Hildyard
Edited byPeter Taylor
Music byMalcolm Arnold
Distributed bySony
Release date
2 October 2 1957
Running time
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish / Japanese / Thai
Budget$3 million (estimated)

In 1941 the Japanese Army invaded Thailand. They built a railway to link Bangkok to Rangoon. Thousands of Asian workers and POWs (prisoners of war) died while working on the project. Part of this project was building bridges over Thailand's Kwai Yai, at a place named Tamarkan, which is near a town named Kanchanaburi.

The deaths of the Asian workers and the prisoners were real events, but most of the book and the movie are not true. The British soldiers were slaves; they did not help the Japanese. Two bridges were built; one was made of wood, one was made of concrete and steel. Both bridges stood for two years and were destroyed by bombers in 1945.

In the movie the bridge is destroyed by commandos. A real train rode over the bridge as it blew up. (This can be compared to a scene in the 1927 movie, The General, which starred Buster Keaton.)

The movie is best known for the "Colonel Bogey March", the song that is whistled by the POWs. It is also known as the "River Kwai March".

The movie won seven Academy Awards, one for Best Picture. It also won the BAFTA Award for Best British Screenplay.

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