“There is no barbed wire, no stockade, no watch towers. They are not necessary. We are on an island in the jungle… Escape is impossible.”
When British POWs build a vital railway bridge in enemy-occupied Burma, Allied commandos are assigned to destroy it in David Lean’s epic World War II adventure The Bridge on the Rive Kwai.
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), the memorable, epic World War II adventure/action, anti-war drama, was the first of director David Lean’s major multi-million dollar, wide-screen super-spectaculars (his later epics included Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and Doctor Zhivago (1965).
Based on the novel of the same name, and starring William Holden, Alec Guinness and Jack Hawkins, the film builds to a genuinely thrilling climax in its story of the construction of a great bridge across a jungle river during World War II. Set in Thailand, although filmed in the spectacular beauty of Ceylon, the story fascinatingly weaves together the facts and philosophies of three remarkable men, and the daring feats during the Japanese occupation of the peninsula.
Spectacularly produced, The Bridge on the River Kwai captured the imagination of the public and won seven 1957 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Alec Guinness), and Best Director. Even it’s theme song, an old WWII whistling tune, the \”Colonel Bogey March,\” became a massive hit.
The Bridge on the River Kwai continues today as one of the most memorable cinematic experiences of all time.
This 53-minute “making-of” feature covers the adaption of Boulle’s novel to script, cast, building the bridge, history of production, score, release, and more. Documentary combines film clips, footage from the set and new interviews with film historian Adrian Turner and a variety of Kwai participants such as Lean’s assistants Norman Spencer and Pamela Mann Francis, camera operator Peter Newbrook, assistant editor Teddy Darvas, production designer Donald Ashton, and property master Eddie Fowlie. In between ‘behind the scenes’ footage and photos, their anecdotes build up a fascinating story. The various script problems, the casting (including William Holden’s amazing 1m USD fee and percentage deal), and the building and blowing-up of the bridge among other things, are covered in detail.
- A 22-minute “edited-for-television” version, ©2010, first aired on the Turner Classic Movies cable channel at 12:03am (eastern time) on 06 November 2010.
- It was broadcast in conjunction with the film’s release in Blu-ray Disc format on 02 November 2010.
- This documentary is featured on the Limited Edition 2-disc DVD for The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), released in 2000.
Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): Laurent Bouzereau.
- Producer(s): Laurent Bouzereau.
- Writer(s): Laurent Bouzereau.
- Music: Malcolm Arnold.
- Cinematography: Jeff Denesyk.
- Editor(s): Jeffery Gross.
- Production: Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment.
- Distributor(s): Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment.
- Release Date: 2000.
- Running Time: 53 minutes.
- Rating: Unknown.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.