Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
United Kingdom/USA, 1957. Columbia Pictures Corporation, Horizon Pictures. Screenplay by Carl Foreman, Michael Wilson, based on the novel Le Pont de la Riviere Kwai by Pierre Boulle. Cinematography by Jack Hildyard. Produced by Sam Spiegel. Music by Malcolm Arnold. Production Design by Donald M. Ashton. Costume Design by John Wilson-Apperson. Film Editing by Peter Taylor. Academy Awards 1957. Golden Globe Awards 1957. New York Film Critics Awards 1957.
American and British soldiers in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp decide that they are not helpless to fight the enemy, even from within their prison cells. A stiff, old-world Brit (Alec Guinness) sees the prisoners’ being forced to help the Japanese build a bridge over the river Kwai as an opportunity to display British superiority as gentlemen soldiers. An American rebel (William Holden) sees an opportunity to help the good guys by blowing the bridge up the moment they’ve finished building it. The clash of these two totally diverse personalities is about as dramatically powerful as the exciting and suspenseful sequence that caps the film off. The pacing is a bit stale here and there, but once it kicks in it’s quite exciting.