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  • Writer's pictureRonny Duncan Studios

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

Updated: Oct 16, 2022

Plot Summary: British POWs are ordered by their Japanese captors to construct a bridge of strategic importance and are happy to sabotage and delay the progress until their commanding officers orders them to continue the work unhindered to its completion, but are his actions tantamount to collaborating with the enemy?

*Recognition: Nominated for Best Supporting Actor (Hayakawa); won for Best Picture, Director (Lean), Actor (Guiness), Adapted Screenplay (Michael Wilson, Carl Foreman and Pierre Boulle), Cinematography, Film Editing, and Original Score; It's in the National Film Registry; AFI 100 List (#13 in 1998, #36 in 2007)

What is this movie is about?: Commentary on the British spirit of the stiff upper-lip vs. American survivorship, and an inverse story as to what the expectations of POWs are. It's a movie completely obsessed with the will of a man.

Best Performance: David Lean

Best Secondary Performance: James Donald

Most Charismatic Award: Jack Hawkins

Best Scene: Blowing up the Bridge

Favorite Scene: Dinner between Nicholson and Saito, Nicholson Reflects

Most Indelible Moment: Blowing up the Bridge

Best Line:

Major Clipton: The fact is, what we're doing could be construed as - forgive me sir - collaboration with the enemy. Perhaps even as treasonable activity. Must we work so well? Must we build them a better bridge than they could have built for themselves?

Colonel Nicholson: I've been thinking. Tomorrow it will be twenty-eight years to the day that I've been in the service. Twenty-eight years in peace and war. I don't suppose I've been at home more than ten months in all that time. Still, it's been a good life. I loved India. I wouldn't have had it any other way. But there are times when suddenly you realize you're nearer the end than the beginning. And you wonder, you ask yourself, what the sum total of your life represents. What difference your being there at any time made to anything. Hardly made any difference at all, really, particularly in comparison with other men's careers. I don't know whether that kind of thinking's very healthy; but I must admit I've had some thoughts on those lines from time to time. But tonight... tonight!

Honorable Mention:

Colonel Saito: Do not speak to me of rules. This is war! This is not a game of cricket!

Funniest Line:


The Stanley Rubric:

Legacy: 9.25

Impact/Significance: 9.5

Novelty: 7.75

Classic-ness: 6.5

Rewatchability: 5.25

Audience Score: 9.3

Total: 47.55

Remaining Questions:

  • How far have we come with blood technology?

  • What does Clipton mean by "Madness....madness"?

  • Why is Saito preparing for his suicide?

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