Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Bridge on the River Kwai

Most directors are associated with a certain movie genre. John Ford has the western, Alfred Hitchcock has the thriller and David Lean has the epic.

British prisoners of war are ordered to build a bridge to connect the Burma-Siam railway. Against the idea at first, they are persuaded by Col. Nicholson (Alec Guinness) to build the bridge as a symbol of British morale, spirit and dignity. Nicholson endures amounts of torture under the order of Col. Saito (Sessue Hayakawa). As the bridge nears completion, Nicholson becomes more obsessed. Unknown to him, the Allies have sent a mission to destroy the bridge.

I thought The Bridge on the River Kwai was very good, though I believe that Lean's other Oscar-winning epic Lawrence of Arabia is better. I also thought that William Holden gave a performance that was slightly better than Guinness'. But apart from those factors, The Bridge on the River Kwai is one movie where I agree with its Oscar wins.

My Rating: *****


  1. One of my all-time favorites. I didn't care for Lawrence of Arabia, actually, so I wasn't sure what I'd think of this, but I just love it. Epic doesn't even begin to describe it.

  2. Alec Guinness really made this film for me. I like Holden but his performance here didn't strike me as much different from his others. For Guinness there's something tough, intelligent, yet unstable, about his character that I found myself captivated by.

    I keep meaning to see more David Lean films but I haven't quite gotten around to it yet.

    Nice review :)


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