in about 100 words or less
UK 161m, Colour
Director: David Lean; Cast: William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Sessue Hayakawa
The Bridge on the River Kwai is a rousing British World War II epic which follows the construction of a bridge by allied soldiers while enslaved in a Japanese run camp prisoner of war camp. Despite criticism from within their own ranks that they were collaborating with the enemy, the prisoners are ordered by their commanding officers to build a “proper” bridge to boost their morale and to help keep them alive. Although the specific events in the film are fictitious, they are based on the construction of the deadly Burma Railway led by the Japanese military using prisoners of war and civilian Asian laborers. Notwithstanding the overtly stereotypical British heroics, The Bridge on the River Kwai is not so much about war, but rather the power struggle between individual officers as dictated by personal ethics and the principles of war (Klaus Ming May 2011).