After settling his differences with a Japanese PoW camp commander, a British colonel co-operates to oversee his men's construction of a railway bridge for their captors - while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it. (161 mins.)
I heard a film critic once say that there really aren't "war movies"; there are only "anti-war" movies. I'm still not sure what I think of that claim, but having seen - The Bridge on the River Kwai- enough times in the past several years, I think I'm persuaded that it's at least half right. -Kwai-, I believe, is both a "war" and "anti-war" movie, and, in my view, it succeeds admirably at both.
After years of more intimate British films and just discovering
After years of more intimate British films and just discovering the joys of location shooting with 1955's "Summertime", master director David Lean made his first actual widescreen epic with 1957's "The Bridge on the River Kwai", an acknowledged classic that deserves attention from a new generation of viewers and another visit from the rest of us who love perfectly executed films by an unparalleled craftsman. Recently, this movie has been overshadowed by his 1962 follow-up epic, the comparatively more elaborate "Lawrence of Arabia", but this richly textured WWII-set adventure is special enough on its own terms. While it has its share of action and suspense presented in exacting detail, the film is even more resonant as a psychological drama about the test of wills between mission-driven officers amid the perils of wartime survival.