The bridge on the River Kwai deals with British prisoners during the Second World War, whose mission is to build a bridge for the Burma-Siam train route.
During the Second World War, the Japanese have built a prisoner of war camp in Indochina on the edge of the river Kwai. There they want to build a bridge over the river, which would be an important link for the Japanese forces. The camp is supervised by Colonel Saito (Sessue Hayakawa). Among the officers are Colonel Nicholson (Alec Guinness), a high-ranking British officer, and US Navy Commander Shears (William Holden). When three of the prisoners try to flee, among them Shears, two of them are shot while Shears survived. Between Nicholson and Saito a power struggle develops. Nicholson refers to the Geneva Convention, that no officers may be employed as workers. Nicholson takes the command and makes a new bridge, leaving the British officers free. Meanwhile, Shears is in a military hospital in Ceylon, planning to destroy the bridge under the command of Major Warden (Jack Hawkins).
Background & Information
The Bridge on the River Kwai was nominated for a total of eight Oscars and four Golden Globes. It won seven Oscars for best film, best actor, best director, best screenplay, best cinematography, best soundtrack and best cut. In the Golden Globes it won in the best drama, best actor in a drama and best direction categories.
Carl Foreman wrote the script with Humphrey Bogart in mind for the role of Shears. But the Columbia Studios were against letting Bogart participate in another project. Cary Grant was the next choice. But the flop, in its solemn role in cauldron , kept the producers from it.
The screenwriters Michael Wilson and Carl Foreman were on the blacklist since they were accused of being communists. Therefore, they were not included in the credits. The Oscar was given to Pierre Boulle , the author of the French novel on which the film is based. In 1984, the two actual screenwriters got their Oscar. Michael Wilson had already passed away, while Carl Foreman died one day later. During the restoration of the film, their names were subsequently added.