31 Days of Oscar Blogathon – The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) – Encore Review

This post is part of the 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon being held this month by Kellee over at Outspoken and Freckled along with Aurora, of Once Upon a Screen and Paula of Paula’s Cinema Club.  Thanks for letting me contribute!

bridge“One day the war will be over. And I hope that the people that use this bridge in years to come will remember how it was built and who built it. Not a gang of slaves, but soldiers, British soldiers, Clipton, even in captivity. ” – Colonel Nicholson

Number of Times Seen – Too many to count (on video, DVD, 21 May 2013 and 19 Feb 2016)

Link to original reviewHere

Brief Synopsis – Tale of British prisoners in a Japanese POW camp during WWII who must build a bridge across the local river to help supply the Japanese war effort.

My Take on it – This is one of my all time favorite movies and despite its length I can watch it over and over and never get bored of it.

I believe that this is one of the very best war movies ever made because it is able to show us the brutality, the humanity and also the heroism during war.

David Lean was a master Director and storyteller and IMHO, this was his best film.

The cinematography was done so brilliantly that we can feel the epic surrounding just jumping out at us, inviting us in to explore.

The way the story is told has always had me hooked, because it introduces us to two main characters who are quite different, they meet for a bit then part ways for most of the film which gives us two concurring storylines and then in all comes back together for the explosive finale.

Alec Guinness, William Holden, Jack Hawkins and Sessue Hayakawa are all superb here as very different men who all are very determined in what they think and do.

This is very high among my favorite Best Picture Winners and it deservingly won 7 (of 8) Oscars in epic form.

Most people can recognize the theme music from this movie by its whistling sound and its so easy to just start humming (or whistling) along when you hear it.

Here’s the song in two different clips; one form the movie and one played by The Boston Pops:

The themes touched upon here are truly universal and many of them still relevant today when dealing with war.

Above all, this film feels very realistic as opposed to Hollywoodization of war.

If you’ve never seen this, I strongly urge you to change that!

Bottom Line – One of the very best war movies ever because it shows us the brutality, humanity and heroism of it all. Superb cast led by 3 very talented actors. Loved how they tell two stories that come together, diverge and then ultimately reunite for the spectacular finale. Very deserving Epic Best Picture Winner that IMHO is Lean’s best work which faithfully earned its seven (out of 8) Oscars. Superb musical theme that most people recognize and can start whistling in moments. One of my all time favorite films that I’ll never get bored of. Highly Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – During shooting, Alec Guinness continued to have doubts about his performance and the direction he was getting from David Lean. To put Guinness at ease, Lean decided to show the actor a rough cut of certain sequences. One night, Lean ran over an hour’s worth of footage for Guinness with the actor’s wife and son also attending. During the screening, nothing was said. At the end, the Guinness family thanked Lean and promptly walked out, leaving the director without a clue as to what to think of their reaction (or lack of). Later that night, Lean received a visit from his lead actor who told him that he and his family had decided that Nicholson was the best thing that Guinness had ever done. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (no change from original review)



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23 thoughts on “31 Days of Oscar Blogathon – The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) – Encore Review

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  2. Great review! Boy, I need to see this again. It’s been years, but Doctor Zhivago is the only David Lean movie I’ve been able to rewatch regularly so it’s my favorite by default. They’re so long that it’s practically an event!

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. I just saw this film for the first time a few weeks ago. Shouldn’t have waited so long; I really loved it. Agreed with all your remarks and had no idea about Guinness’s misgivings. Glad he came around. He was superb!


  5. This is SUCH a great film! Great performances and skillfully-written script.

    Thanks for including the info re: Alec Guinness’ doubts and Lean’s taking the time to show him some of the rough cuts. It’s hard to imagine Guinness having doubts about his work on that film!


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