Write descriptive essay about The Bridge on the River Kwai movie 1957, write an essay of at least 500 words on The Bridge on the River Kwai, 5 paragraph essay on The Bridge on the River Kwai, definition essay, descriptive essay, dichotomy essay.
The Bridge on the River Kwai
Year:
1957
Country:
USA, UK
Genre:
Drama, Adventure, War
IMDB rating:
8.3
Director:
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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Reviews
Perhaps the greatest movie on the folly of war
Certainly one of my favorite films "The Bridge on the River Kwai" deserves all the praises and awards which have been bestowed on this masterpiece.This epic contains fantastic visuals captured by ace cameraman Jack Hildyard on location in Burma. The acting of Alec Guinness is as good as it gets.William Holden simply mesmerizing, and when you have actors like Sessue Hayakawa, Jack Hawkins and James Donald at their top of the game you really can't ask for more.The script is intelligent and full of irony,especially in the intense finale,and still packs an emotional wallop.I've probably seen this movie several dozen times and it never fails to entertain even though I know almost every scene by heart.
2007-08-05
The Forest and the Trees
Before I write IMDb reviews, I try to do as much research about the subject film as time allows. As part of my research, I always read a sampling of other user reviews in order to taste the prevailing sentiment of the film, pro, con, and indifferent. Many of the most negative reviews about this film concern the alleged falsification of history by the film. Although I was disappointed with this latest viewing of the movie, I don't agree with these reviewers. The film is a work of fiction that is loosely based on a true, historical event, and that is how it is to be viewed. I recently watched "The Best Years of Our Lives", another film, much more to my liking, that is centered on World War II but focused on an entirely different aspect of that war, the daunting adjustment of combat veterans to a civilian life of "peace" back home. As in the case of this film, that film was a work of fiction based on very real situations, but neither film was intended to be a factual work of non- fiction. The actual combat disability of actor Harold Russell in "Best Years of Our Lives" is very real, but he doesn't portray himself or his own, personal story in the movie. In this case, no one is denying that Allied prisoners were treated much more harshly by their Japanese captors than depicted here or implying that the real colonel, upon whom the story is based, collaborated with the enemy as Colonel Nicholson did.

My biggest problem with this film is that it opens with a very dramatic battle of wills between Colonel Saito and Lt. Colonel Nicholson and ends with an even more spectacular finale, but I found myself fairly bored in between. While the scenery of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) was quite spectacular, much of the dialogue was dull and even banal. The Siamese (Thai) women were very pleasant to behold, but there seemed to be a huge gap between the captivating beginning and the sensational ending.

Alec Guiness, who was very reluctant to take the role of Nicholson, was outstanding as was Sessue Hayakawa as Colonel Saito. Many notable actors, including Charles Laughton, refused the role of Nicholson because they didn't understand his motivation, a view which should be appreciated. Others believed the material, based on a French author, to be viciously anti-British, which is also a reasonable interpretation. I was unimpressed by the rest of the cast, and I consider myself generally to be a fan of William Holden. His exchange with the bribed Japanese guard was nothing short of ridiculous. I was actually embarrassed for poor Bill, who didn't seem to be emotionally involved in his role here.

For the commendable performances of both Guinness and Hayakawa, for the beautiful cinematography by Jack Hildyard, for the film's trademark whistling of "Colonel Bogey's March", and for an unforgettable ending that was worth the long wait, I rated it a 7 out of 10. I must add that I don't believe that fighting the Japanese and the Germans in the most effective way possible during World War II was "madness" as this film seemed to suggest at the end. I strongly and respectfully disagree with that position.
2017-11-29
A clash of wills, principles, and egos amidst the madness of war...
British Army Colonel, captured along with his regimen by the Japanese on the island of Burma in 1943, refuses to abandon the rules of his government and build a railroad bridge across the Kwai river according to the plans of his mercurial Japanese counterpart, Colonel Saito. Saito, under orders from his superiors to have the bridge completed by a certain date, eventually yields to the Britisher's demands and construction gets under way, but a POW escapee from the American Navy has been recruited by British officials in nearby Ceylon to return to Burma and blow the bridge up. Complex clash of personalities, with Best Actor Oscar Winner Alec Guinness nimbly helping us to understand his character's motivations (he not only engineers the building of the bridge to aid the enemy, but helps construct a masterpiece--while underlings wonder if perhaps a temporary structure might have sufficed). To be engrossed by this Best Picture Academy Award winner is to eventually sympathize with Guinness' Colonel Nicholson, who figures it's better to build something worthwhile and long-lasting (even as a prisoner) than to do a sloppy job. David Lean (winner for Best Director) does some of his liveliest work behind the camera; opening the film carefully, like a good novel, he lays all these difficult, stubborn warriors on the table and allows us to get close to each one. That said, the big climactic finish--while suspenseful--is ultimately a let-down. Lean's staging is sufficient...perhaps the editing is at fault? Throwing out the people we've come to know so intimately for the sake of rousing visual action leaves a sour taste behind. Yes, it is the madness of war to finish with no winners, only losers; however, the way it plays out here feels half-hearted, and a line of dialogue from Jack Hawkins' Major Warden adds a curious layer of dissatisfaction and confusion. Pierre Boulle was also awarded an Oscar for adapting his own novel (he was fronting for blacklisted screenwriters Carl Foreman and Michael Wilson); Jack Hildyard won for his cinematography, Malcolm Arnold for his commanding music, and Peter Taylor for his (rather spotty) editing. *** from ****
2009-08-02
"The only important thing is how to live like a human being."
Few movies tell the story of war in such an unbiased way, only to show its dehumanizing effects. About midway through Bridge on the River Kwai, the viewer no longer is too interested in who will "win" the conflict (how do you do that anyway?—But that's for another conversation), but rather about the lengths these men have gone away from their beings. We see people who were driven to the brink of what one can survive, and not all of them did. A true test of the boundaries of the human spirit, Bridge on the River Kwai, directed by David Lean, took home Oscar's top prize in 1957.

Brash, yet civil Colonel Nicholson (Alec Guinness) commander of a group of British soldiers captured as POW's by the Japanese military in the midst of WWII has a single vision in mind. Armed with the promise of the Geneva Convention, Nicolson is determined to lead his men with honor. Determined to conduct himself and his men with the honor betrothed to those that don the British uniform, Nicolson endures more than anyone thought he could survive to gain the respect of his captors. The Japanese eventually realize that Nicholson is a force to be reckoned with, and as much as they may wish to kill him, their hands are figuratively tied. Gaining respect, Nicholson eventually becomes an integral part of the Japanese plan to build a bridge over the river Kwai veiled as a useful wartime measure that actually only serves as a monument to Japanese commanding officer Colonel Saito (Sessue Hayakawa). Although his men don't want to do the work that glorifies the Japanese, Nicholson ensures them that completion of the bridge will actually serve as a testament to the will and honorability of the British. Construction goes on, with the help of the British, all the while allies have hatched a plan to burn the bridge down, led by escaped American prisoner Shears (William Holden). The two plots work together to form one cohesive story of men afflicted with battle and the concessions that some won't even allow themselves to make in a time of war.

This film shows Alec Guinness at his best, a raw look at a man in the heart of battle that refuses to leave his morals behind. He excels as a man leading his men with the dignity each deserves as a human being. William Holden is also a standout in this picture. Holden plays the role of the disillusioned prisoner who has given up hope with ease, coming off both believable and lovable. The cinematography of this film was a thing of beauty. In scenes with hundreds of men marching, the audience is graced with seeing the vast landscape that is so grand it appears to completely encompass the men. There were also incredible shots through binoculars that show, in part, the directorial genius of David Lean. The acting and technical elements came together to create a strong film that explores the depth of the human spirit.

It is sometimes difficult to watch a movie with no clear hero. Everyone comes off a little crazy in this film; which perhaps, may explain why the final lines in this film were "the madness, the madness". I don't want a cookie-cutter movie by any means, but I also don't want to travel half way through an almost three-hour film rooting for someone, only to realize he's a bit off his rocker. I suppose, however, that is what happens when you have a movie like Bridge on the River Kwai, with such heavy themes as honor, strength, and valor. Technically, I understand why this film took home Oscar's top prize; the acting and writing allows one to understand this as well. I would recommend this film to anyone who enjoys war films, of course, even though this one is quite different from the standard. Also, I would recommend Bridge on the River Kwai to anyone who needs reassurance that the human spirit can overcome even the darkest of evils.
2016-02-03
David Lean's first Best Director Oscar for this Best Picture Winner with a whistle
A long film about "keeping a stiff upper lip", following orders, and leadership earned David Lean his first Best Director Oscar (though Howard Hawks was originally asked to direct it). Alec Guinness received his only Best Actor Oscar; Sessue Hayakawa his only nomination. This Academy Award winning Best Picture also won for Writing, Music, Editing, and Cinematography. Added to the National Film Registry in 1997. #13 on AFI's 100 Greatest Movies list; #58 on AFI's 100 Most Heart-Pounding Movies list. #14 on AFI's 100 Most Inspiring Movies list.

Guinness is the British Officer in charge of the P.O.W.s (including James Donald, among others) being held in a Japanese camp during World War II; Holden is an American among the prisoners who's lied about being an officer for the benefits therein, but escapes shortly after the captured British 'battalion' arrives. The ranking Japanese officer (Hayakawa) tries to force all the prisoners to build a train bridge in the jungle, but loses a "battle of wills" to Guinness, who insists that officers don't have to labor per the Geneva Convention.

However, to keep his men's spirits up, Guinness agrees to build the bridge as long as he and his officers are put in charge. Faced with death if he doesn't meet the deadline for completion, Hayakawa acquiesces and subsequently "loses face". Safely in Ceylon, Holden is "found out" by a British Commando unit led by Jack Hawkins's character, and is more or less forced to join the team that plans to blow up the bridge before it can be used to assist the enemy.
2016-12-11
Has the world gone mad?
8.5 / 10 IMDb points? 66.th best IMDb movie? Many reviewers' favourite movie of all times bar none? Has the world gone quite mad? To me it's a highly forgettable movie. I'm not really addressing those lost souls who actually enjoyed this, to quote Bill Hicks, p. o. s. film, but to warn those impressionable souls who still haven't seen it: beware! Beware this p. o. s. film!

As for the plot, this movie falls roughly into two halves; in the first we follow a contingent of British soldiers in Japanese captivity in Burma during World War II (the one with the funny mustaches). When the dastardly Saito orders the officers to work alongside their regulars -- a breach of the Geneva Convention -- he is faced off by the impeccable colonel Nicholson. Eventually Saito gives in and the British soldiers build him a magnificent railway bridge.

In the second half of the movie we follow an American soldier, Shears, who has managed to escape from Saito's jungle camp. Against his will he is sent back on a secret mission to blow up that very bridge.

At the climax, two men are pitched against each other: Nicholson, to whom the bridge is a symbol of his perseverance and supremacy, and the American, who has gone through hell and back to destroy it and do damage to the Japs.

My major problem with the movie is that colonel Nicholson is obviously a complete idiot. His nemesis Saito may be an evil sadist, but at least he has a weak and human side as well. He is a pudgy little fellow who's been to art school, but now has to make do as a CO. My heart went out to him, whereas I fail to see how anyone can sympathise with the blimpish Nicholson.

It's only after the bridge has been completed that a single officer mildly questions the wisdom of building the most magnificent bridge of all times for the Japanese, who are, after all, not exactly their allies. And I never saw what was so unethical about officers working alongside their troops in the first place.

Apart from that, it's a pretty conventional, John-Wayne-style war movie. The enemy is inscrutable and evil, Asian women are almond-eyed, servile foxes, the soldiers are undyingly loyal and war is hell but fun (in a rough, it's-a-man's-world sort of way). The production is excellent but overall it's a very dated movie. I'm surprised how anyone would consider this a classic rather than just an old movie. Its only benefit is that it allowed director David Lean to make Lawrence Of Arabia.
2008-11-25
The madness of war and of the men who wage it
One of my Top Ten films. This film was remarkable in 1957 because it followed a long line of "war movies" after World War 2 which glorified war and the soldiers who fought. This film displays the absurdity of war, and the corresponding absurdities of humanity, and toys with the notion that the two are firmly linked. Many may compare it to the more recent Saving Private Ryan, but the two films have completely different lessons. Bridge is about the absurdity of war and the irrationality of those who fight, whereas Ryan is about the way in which brave men deal with the horrors of war, and the debt owed by all of us for their sacrifice.

This film shares many of the same undercurrents as another one of my personal Top Ten motion pictures, Planet of the Apes (1968). I was surprised to recently learn that both films are based on novels by the same French writer, Pierre Boulle. The screenplay for Planet of the Apes was written by Rod Serling (TV's Twilight Zone) and bears his unique style. If you have not seen either of these films, and like films that make you think, watch Bridge first, then Planet, and note the similarities.
1999-06-26
Madness! Madness!
What could one possibly add to the accolades this film has had heaped upon it. The fact that it may not be historically accurate is of no consequence, as it was made for the theater, not the History Channel. David Lean's master piece showing the madness of war stands the test of time.

It swept the Oscars in 1958, winning Best Picture, Best Director for Lean, Best Actor for Alec Guinness in the role that defines him, and a Best Supporting Actor nomination for Sessue Hayakawa. It also took the awards for Writing. Music, Editing and Cinematography.

Guinness was a perfect example of British pride. If you are going to do a job, then do it right. In that, he managed to take care of his men at the same time.

William Holden was a perfect example of a soldier who just wanted to go home, as I am sure was the feeling of most. He recognized the madness of war long before the good doctor.

This is a film that you can watch year after year and never get tired of it.
2008-03-02
Satire on Kwai
This movie can only be watched as a comedy. Very English, and played dead straight.

The Japanese are clueless idiots that can take over huge areas of territory, but have no idea how to make a bridge. A British officer (Alec Guinness), confronted with the uncivilised scoundrels, decides he'd rather spend a month in a heat box in Burma than have his officers work, following the Geneva Convention. Behind schedule and desperate for assistance, the British educated but cringeworthy Japanese commander offers the officer good food and wine, but is rejected. Eventually the Japanese commander relents. After a mere month in an amplified 100% humidity 35 degree Celsius environment, the British officer, showing few ill effects, decides to take over the building of the bridge, to bring a little British civilisation to the jungles of Burma. It's all jolly good show, and very capital, what. It brings great spirit to the men, and they respond with a bespoke bridge, built to last 600 years. They even place a nice plaque on the bridge, celebrating their achievements - written in English, of course.

Unknown to the officer, a group of British-US-Canadian 'commandos' (all four of them) are bringing plastic explosives, with young Burmese ladies to carry their possessions and assist in their baths. They encounter only three Japanese soldiers on the way to the bridge, and are soon viewing the bridge from the nearest hill, alongside the Burmese ladies. One of the team sets plastic explosives on the bridge, with a wire from the bridge that is so obvious, that only a British officer can spot it, and he immediately tries to stop his piece of British colonialism being destroyed - even if it does aid the enemy.

The ending is so absurd it has to be seen to be believed.

This movie is Englishness to its core. If someone asked me to give them a movie exemplifying English culture, this would be hard to go past. It isn't a war movie, it's an attack on the rigid English class system, English superiority complex, and servile masses pushed to its extreme limits. There are so many clues, such as one English officer presenting a suicide pill to the American soldier, but when placed in a situation where he might use it, he is instead carried by several lovely Burmese ladies on a stretcher, right to the bridge. When Guinness, the epitome of the English class system, falls on the detonator, the film is brought to its natural conclusion. You can almost imagine Lean and co's wry smiles if only one person in the cinema actually got it, and roaring with laughter when the Americans gave him an Oscar for a 'war film'.

You can admire it as a satirical comedy. But it is a bit slow.

It is also a bit hypocritical, the English upper class using the hideous treatment of British soldiers for their high farce. So what if a few working class men died, this is art damn it.
2015-10-02
A Bridge Built to History.
Before director David Lean (Oscar-winning) made "Lawrence of Arabia" in 1962, he created arguably the best film of the 1950s with "The Bridge on the River Kwai". The film is an intense World War II epic about a group of British POWs (led by Oscar-winner Alec Guinness) who are forced by the Japanese Military (led by Oscar-nominee Sessue Hayakawa) to build a railway bridge to assist the Axis Powers. Naturally Guinness, by the book all the way, tries to get out of the job by debating and using British wit. All that falls on deaf ears though as the bridge will be made. Guinness then decides to show that England is the greatest country on Earth by building the finest bridge possible. As all this goes on, American William Holden has been assigned to lead a group of troops into the jungle and destroy the bridge before it can transport supplies and troops for the enemy. "The Bridge on the River Kwai" is an excellent film that shows the best of the 1950s. The 1950s were great cinematically because of large budgets and amazing spectacles. This film has that but is better than most other productions of the period due to top-notch writing, directing and out-of-this-world performances. Alec Guinness (best known for "Star Wars") had his greatest performance here. His character unwittingly becomes a willing ally to the enemy and starts to develop a subtle type of war fatigue that will directly affect all the other key players within the film's vast landscape. Outstanding and definitely memorable, "The Bridge on the River Kwai" is one of the finest films ever produced. 5 stars out of 5.
2003-02-23
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