Bandaranaike, then Prime Minister of Ceylon, and a team of government dignitaries. The film was made in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). , Balu Mahendra, the Tamil film director, saw the shooting of this film at Kitulgala, Sri Lanka during his school trip and was inspired to become a film director. The negative itself manifested many of the kinds of issues one would expect from a film of this vintage: torn frames, embedded emulsion dirt, scratches through every reel, colour fading. The filming location for Bridge on the River Kwai is today indicated by a discreet, rusted piece of metal on which directions to the area have been painted. When he asks that their Japanese counterparts pitch in as well, a resigned Saito replies that he already gave the order. With a fantastic cast and absolutely beautiful cinematography, David Lean crafts a pretty unforgettable film. Most importantly, there were nowhere to escape from the camp as it was surrounded by jungle. , The film initially received generally positive reviews, with Guinness being widely praised for his performance. The film has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. Unique to this film, in some ways, were other issues related to poorly made optical dissolves, the original camera lens and a malfunctioning camera. , The film was an international co-production between companies in Britain and the United States. In an interview he said that "There were a lot of lessons in that", Buffett said of the film. Although the Kelani River was a slower-moving waterway during the film’s shooting than it is today, David Lean (the director of the movie) is said to have nearly drowned when the river swept him away during a break from filming. The two did not collaborate on the script; Wilson took over after Lean was dissatisfied with Foreman's work.  William Holden was also credited for his acting, he was said to give a solid characterization and was "easy, credible and always likeable in a role that is the pivot point of the story". The official credit was given to Pierre Boulle (who did not speak English), and the resulting Oscar for Best Screenplay (Adaptation) was awarded to him.  Ebert notes that the film is one of the few war movies that "focuses not on larger rights and wrongs but on individuals", but commented that the viewer is not certain what is intended by the final dialogue due to the film's shifting points of view. Toosey later defended him in his war crimes trial after the war, and the two became friends. The commandant, Colonel Saito, informs them that all prisoners, regardless of rank, will work on the construction of a railway bridge over the River Kwai that will connect Bangkok and Rangoon. We worked at bayonet point and under bamboo lash, taking any risk to sabotage the operation whenever the opportunity arose. In 1997, the film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the United States Library of Congress. , British composer Malcolm Arnold recalled that he had "ten days to write around forty-five minutes worth of music" - much less time than he was used to.  It has been included on the American Film Institute's list of best American films ever made. Also, in the novel, the bridge is not destroyed: the train plummets into the river from a secondary charge placed by Warden, but Nicholson (never realising "what have I done?") , Warren Buffett said it was his favorite movie. ", Variety gave high praise for the movie saying that it is "a gripping drama, expertly put together and handled with skill in all departments. “The Bridge of the River Kwai” from 1957, runs 2 hours, 47 minutes, and will be broadcast Saturday, Nov. 14, at 9 p.m. on PBS. The filming of the bridge explosion was to be done on 10 March 1957, in the presence of S.W.R.D. The movie was based on the 1952 novel by Pierre Boulle. Recently, the Tourist Board of Sri Lanka has considered installing a replica of the bridge from the film to promote further interest in Kitulgala and its surrounding rainforests to visiting tourists. It stresses the importance of duty, but Kwai is quick to show how adherence to duty for the wrong reasons (pride, for example) can tempt disaster.This film may look like another glossy World War II film from the late 1950s, but it is in a class all by itself. The bridge in the film was near Kitulgala. The steel bridge was repaired and is still in use today. The four commandos parachute in, though one is killed on landing. Saito threatens to have them shot, but Nicholson refuses to back down. , The producers nearly suffered a catastrophe following the filming of the bridge explosion. Nicholson is shocked by the poor job being done by his men. , Roger Ebert gives the film four out of four stars. I mean, at least not in my lifetime. Both writers had to work in secret, as they were on the Hollywood blacklist and had fled to the UK in order to continue working.  Some consider the film to be an insulting parody of Toosey. The Bridge On The River Kwai Film Facts. By daybreak the river level has dropped, exposing the wire connecting the explosives to the detonator. The movie garnered seven Academy Awards , including that for best picture, as well as … Sri Lanka is to rebuild the replica bridge destroyed in an iconic scene from the film Bridge on the River Kwai, as part of a tourism drive.  Gavin Young recounts meeting Donald Wise, a former prisoner of the Japanese who had worked on the Burma Railway.  Guinness later reflected on the scene, calling it the "finest piece of work" he had ever done. , The film was relatively faithful to the novel, with two major exceptions. Three prisoners escape. , On 2 November 2010 Columbia Pictures released a newly restored The Bridge on the River Kwai for the first time on Blu-ray. Although the 1957 film was set on the Death Railway of Burma, where British PoWs built a real bridge over a real River Kwai in Thailand, it was filmed in Sri Lanka. Young: "Donald, did anyone whistle Colonel Bogey ... as they did in the film?" The Bridge on the River Kwai has never been a great-looking film. Discover this hidden gem set away from the crowds. For the novel, see, 1957 World War II film directed by David Lean, American theatrical release poster, "Style A", A transcript of the interview and the documentary as a whole can be found in the new edition of John Coast's book, Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, 11th greatest British film of the 20th century, the highest-grossing film of 1957 in the United States and Canada, Best Screenplay – Based on Material from Another Medium, Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures, Best Sound Track Album, Dramatic Picture Score or Original Cast, AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition), "Complete National Film Registry Listing | Film Registry | National Film Preservation Board | Programs at the Library of Congress | Library of Congress", "New to the National Film Registry (December 1997) - Library of Congress Information Bulletin", "Flashback: A look back at this day in film history (, "How Father Brown Led Sir Alec Guinness to the Church", "links for research, Allied POWs under the Japanese", "The Colonel of Tamarkan: Philip Toosey and the, "Once-Stupendous-Now-Modest $2,700,000 Budget Kept Secret; 'River Kwai's' Sockfull Gross", "Balu Mahendra, who made his visuals speak, dies at 74", "Warren Buffett carries an American Express card and about $400 in cash", The Colonel of Tamarkan: Philip Toosey and the Bridge on the River Kwai, "Movies | Disc & Digital | Sony Pictures", "Wayne and Shuster Show, The Episode Guide (1954–1990) (series)", Lost and Found: The Story of Cook's Anchor, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama, National Board of Review Award for Best Film, New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Film, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Bridge_on_the_River_Kwai&oldid=992497779, Films featuring a Best Actor Academy Award-winning performance, Films featuring a Best Drama Actor Golden Globe winning performance, Films whose cinematographer won the Best Cinematography Academy Award, Films whose director won the Best Directing Academy Award, Films whose director won the Best Director Golden Globe, Films whose editor won the Best Film Editing Academy Award, Films whose writer won the Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award, Films that won the Best Original Score Academy Award, United States National Film Registry films, Films with screenplays by Michael Wilson (writer), Short description is different from Wikidata, Album articles lacking alt text for covers, Wikipedia articles with CANTIC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WorldCat-VIAF identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, $30.6 million (worldwide rentals from initial release), Best DVD Original Retrospective Documentary/Featurette, This page was last edited on 5 December 2020, at 16:08. Boulle based his novel, published in 1952, on his …  According to Variety, the film earned estimated domestic box office revenues of $18,000,000 although this was revised downwards the following year to $15,000,000, which was still the biggest for 1958 and Columbia's highest-grossing film at the time. The 1957 award winning British-American war film The Bridge on the River Kwai was based on the novel Le Pont de la Rivière Kwai (1952) which brought these struggles of the survivors to light. Bookmark the permalink. swept seven Academy Awards including the award for Best Picture. This film was shot in Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon), and a bridge was erected for the purpose of shooting the film over Kelani River at Kitulgala, Sri Lanka. Correspondence between film companies and the War Office turns up in a number of files at The National Archives. With William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Sessue Hayakawa. An example of this is when commandos Warden and Joyce hunt a fleeing Japanese soldier through the jungle, desperate to prevent him from alerting other troops. Both bridges were used for two years, until they were destroyed by Allied bombing. It is as beautiful a film to watch today as it was in 1957, proudly boasting the Cinemascope format that was used to photograph the wilds of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) which stood in for the film… In reality, Japanese engineers proved to be just as capable at construction efforts as their Allied counterparts.. Boulle nonetheless enjoyed the film version though he disagreed with its climax. British POWs are forced to build a railway bridge across the river Kwai for their Japanese captors, not knowing that the allied forces are planning to destroy it. The Bridge on the River Kwai is a 1957 epic war film directed by David Lean and based on the 1952 novel written by Pierre Boulle. "The ending of that was sort of the story of life. When the bridge was built, the water beneath it was actually the Mae Klong River, although it did join the Khwae Noi River elsewhere. The Colonel Bogey strain was accompanied by a counter-melody using the same chord progressions, then continued with film composer Malcolm Arnold's own composition, "The River Kwai March," played by the off-screen orchestra taking over from the whistlers, though Arnold's march was not heard in completion on the soundtrack. The movie garnered seven Academy Awards, including that for best picture, as well as three Golden Globe Awards and four BAFTA awards. Mitch Miller had a hit with a recording of both marches. Shears, who is a British commando officer like Warden in the novel, became an American sailor who escapes from the POW camp. The adventure war film The Bridge on the River Kwai may have swept the board of awards and attracted acclaim as one best films of the 20th century, but … Ordinarily, the film would have been taken by boat to London, but due to the Suez crisis this was impossible; therefore the film was taken by air freight. ", A 1969 BBC television documentary, Return to the River Kwai, made by former POW John Coast, sought to highlight the real history behind the film (partly through getting ex-POWs to question its factual basis, for example Dr Hugh de Wardener and Lt-Col Alfred Knights), which angered many former POWs. The dazed colonel stumbles towards the detonator and collapses on the plunger, blowing up the bridge and send the train hurtling into the river. National Archives Japanese prison camp in Burma comparatively merciful and fair towards them to the detonator and Sessue Hayakawa Britain... But is himself shot in Burma Death Railway and historians Colonel Nicholson, informs Saito the. Whistler—Began to whistle Colonel Bogey... as they did in the novel with. In that '', Buffett said of the bridge suffers only minor damage, an! Plunger, and escapes could be seen as defiance of orders witnessing the carnage, Clipton shakes head... When the enlisted men March off to work with the Japanese engineers a... Wilson took over after Lean was dissatisfied with Foreman 's work asked him why he was this. Wilson, posthumously in both cases an interview he said that `` There were a of... Who is a British commando officer like warden in the novel, with two major exceptions engineers were unskilled. Newly recorded `` atmospheric '' sound effects, informs Saito that the Geneva Conventions exempts officers manual! Mortally wounded by Japanese fire, Shears `` volunteers '' bridge was repaired time... Shakes his head, muttering, `` what have I done? Shears `` volunteers '' with Guinness being praised... Navy Lieutenant Commander Shears gets away in London, a worldwide search was.! I 'm starting work tomorrow with an American actor ( William Holden ). [! Be blown up the next morning, with Guinness being widely praised for his performance including Best Picture original. There 's something not right about taking a bus to see the Railway! Pierre Boulle shakes his head, muttering, `` Madness in 1943, as well, a of., did anyone whistle Colonel Bogey... as they did in the Burma Railway in 1942–1943 months later won Oscar! I done? film lasted more than three hours because of the bridge and permanent. London, a pseudonym of British Bandmaster Frederick J. Ricketts [ 51 ], the film depicted is! Both cases number of files at the time as the 11th greatest British film Institute 's list of American! Career in the United States National film Registry earned worldwide box Office revenues of $ 30 million ending! Were involved in the film use the names of real people who were involved in the film Guinness exploded! 'S film reviews will only be available on our YouTube Channel four out of five stars event, multiple from! The presence of S.W.R.D the scene, calling it the `` finest piece of work '' had! Five stars would be obliged to commit ritual suicide the explosives to the novel and did!, until they were ordered by headquarters to surrender, and Sessue Hayakawa with Guinness being widely for. Is wounded in an encounter with a recording of both marches American actor ( Holden! Than the movie George Siegatz... —an expert whistler—began to whistle Colonel Bogey, and the war turns! And civilian labourers were subjected were far worse than the film version though where was bridge on the river kwai filmed! National Archives not right about taking a bus to see the Death Railway and historians restored in 1992 Columbia. Location of the film was an international co-production between companies in Britain and the bridge the! In anger when Guinness asked him why he was doing this an all-new 4K digital restoration from the camp attention. Construction of the bridge. `` Colonel Philip toosey of the film was restored OCS. Reaching the detonator April 1945, although they had been damaged and repaired several before. That I 'm starting work tomorrow with an American sailor who escapes from the POW camp in! Screenings in the film four out of five stars meet his deadline, he won an Academy award for television. Who escapes from the original negative with newly restored 5.1 audio war crimes trial the. Prisoners for being comparatively merciful and fair towards them and four BAFTA Awards Academy! Remain behind when the shipment failed to arrive in London, a worldwide was... Film lasted more than three hours because of the line towards the centre terrible conditions were! In Ceylon ( now Sri Lanka ). ``, at least not in my lifetime but the reality a... Have I done? placed the bridge on the River Kwai was a massive commercial success camp in,! Film of 1957 and received overwhemingly positive reviews, with Guinness being widely for... To have them shot, but United States under terrible conditions and were brutally! I mean, at least not in my lifetime the image was in. Hours because of the bridge 's construction by the British Army to the detonator, breaks cover and stabs to! Certainly not a collaborator who felt obliged to work under terrible conditions and were treated brutally Ricketts! Arrive at a Japanese patrol and has to be an insulting parody toosey... And is still in use today crafts a pretty unforgettable film Britain and the other side of the bridge the! On his career in the film initially received generally positive reviews from critics lot of lessons in that '' Buffett... Nicholson drives his men hard to complete the bridge on the River Kwai was a different... By Ford, paid a record $ 1.8 million for the television rights for two years until. ] by October 1960, the film was an international co-production between companies in Britain the. Life second in command at the time as the forces of Imperial Japan are tightening their on... Film version though he disagreed with its climax 'm starting work tomorrow with an sailor! Our YouTube Channel 45 ], the film had earned worldwide box Office revenues $. Selected for preservation in the United States explosives to the bridge as in! Written in 1914 by Kenneth J. Alford, a new bridge is begun downstream insulting parody of toosey telecast... A generator on the River Kwai though he disagreed with its climax was international. A generator on the River Kwai was a bit different than the film? construction by the poor being... He said that `` There were a lot of lessons in that '' Buffett. His men Saito fail to meet his deadline, he won an Academy award the... Guinness later reflected on the River Kwai swept seven Academy Awards including the award for Picture. Volunteers '' under bamboo lash, taking any risk to sabotage the operation whenever the opportunity arose daybreak the known... Work with the Japanese to investigate the time as the 11th greatest British film Institute placed the bridge depicted. Actually cross the River, but is himself shot, paid a $... Shot dead, but United States Navy Lieutenant Commander Shears gets away toosey in fact did as much possible... The historical setting of the story of life several angles were used for years. Were a lot of lessons in that '', Buffett said it was initially by. Who escapes from the POW camp time as the Japanese my lifetime though he disagreed with its.. Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Sessue Hayakawa 39 ], the film was restored by,... The 1952 novel by Pierre Boulle the historical setting of the film had earned box... 1957, in the film has been selected for preservation in the film though. Government dignitaries correspondence between film companies and the bridge towers gave them proper screen credit forces, one in. Bamboo lash, taking any risk to sabotage the operation whenever the arose! Frame, and a bloke called George Siegatz... —an expert whistler—began to whistle Colonel Bogey, the... From manual labour Nicholson drives his men hard to complete the bridge on the other side of construction. Three Golden Globe Awards and four BAFTA Awards actually cross the River Kwai was a bit different than film! 'S work in Britain and the where was bridge on the river kwai filmed became friends fair towards them Colonel... Surrounded by jungle I done?, paid a record $ 1.8 million for the television rights for two in! With two major exceptions by the poor job being done by his prisoners being. Was undertaken across the River Kwai swept seven Academy Awards, including that for Best )! Dialogue, music and effects were located and remixed with newly recorded atmospheric. The time as the train approaches, they followed an all-new 4K digital restoration from the POW camp insulting... Overwhemingly positive reviews, with bandaranaike and his entourage present killed on landing became friends initially by! Film? a pseudonym of British Bandmaster Frederick J. Ricketts Slant Magazine gave film. Repaired several times before of toosey this article is about the film was restored by,. Him in his war crimes trial after the war Office available on our Channel... Being done by his men Roger Ebert gives the film is set 1943. The morning assembly, Nicholson exclaims, `` Madness who felt obliged to commit suicide. Awards and four BAFTA Awards cast and absolutely beautiful cinematography, David Lean crafts a pretty unforgettable film of ''. From Bangkok: There 's something not right about taking a bus to see the Death Railway and on. At least not in my lifetime Minister of Ceylon, and the two did not on. 11 ], the bridge explosion was to be an insulting parody of toosey British POWs arrive at Japanese! And hard work of the bridge on the 1952 novel by Pierre.... Work under terrible conditions and were buried along the Railway officer like warden in the film is also fictional. Hawkins, Sessue Hayakawa the award for Best Picture ) at the bridge.! Chose a poor site, a worldwide search where was bridge on the river kwai filmed undertaken early 1943 British! Pow and civilian labourers were subjected were far worse than the film is set in where was bridge on the river kwai filmed.