IMDB Top 250 Challenge – Movie #19 – The Bridge On The River Kwai (1957) Review

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The Bridge On The River Kwai (1957) – IMDB Rank #100

Watched 23/6/13

Directed by David Lean

Starring:
Alec Guinness
William Holden
Jack Hawkins
Sessue Hayakawa
Geoffrey Horne
James Donald

Running time: 161 minutes

Plot Synopsis (via Wikipedia):

In World War II, British prisoners are marched to a Japanese prison camp in western Burma. The commandant, Colonel Saito (Sessue Hayakawa), informs them that all prisoners, regardless of rank, are to work on the construction of a railroad bridge over the River Kwai. The senior British officer, Lt. Colonel Nicholson (Alec Guinness), reminds Saito that the Geneva Conventions exempt officers from manual labor.

And a bit more – that gives you the general idea.

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My Opinion:

I have to admit that with this IMDB Top 250 Challenge, I’m not looking forward to forcing myself to watch some of them – Especially the war movies and the Westerns. Plus most of them are so LONG. So I put the 161 minute war movie The Bridge On The River Kwai on when I had nothing else to watch and figured I could have it on in the background while I did some chores and it would get one of these long, boring war movies off the list. Well, I didn’t do any of those chores because this movie is BRILLIANT! I loved it! Along with the Charlie Chaplin stuff, Kwai is my biggest pleasant surprise since starting this challenge. My faith in the IMDB Top 250 has somewhat been restored after some real disappointments recently.

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Here’s my confession: I’d seen Alec Guinness in nothing other than Star Wars before this. Horrible movie fan, I know! Well, you know… I’m young(ish). So, anyway… Give me a break. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Alec Guinness is amazing in this. Turns out he’s a REALLY great actor. Lol! Yeah – I think everyone already knew this so there’s not much point in saying much more about it. His performance as the strong-willed Lt. Colonel Nicholson, whose resolve never falters, truly is stunning. The film is worth the watch for his performance alone. Luckily, though, it’s worth watching for many other reasons as well.

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William Holden plays United States Navy Commander Shears and also gives a fine (and very American) performance. I won’t go into the story as there may actually be some people who haven’t seen this but he plays a very important role. Hell – everyone in this gives an Oscar-worthy performance and I can’t fault any of them: Sessue Hayakawa as Colonel Saito, Jack Hawkins as tough-guy British Major Warden, Geoffrey Horne as the cute Canadian Lieutenant Joyce, and James Donald as British medical officer Major Clipton, who has a smaller role but I really enjoyed his character & he gets to deliver a great memorable line. Why can’t they make movies like this with performances like these anymore?

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Summary:

One of those “worthy” classics that truly deserves all the praise it has received. Excellent, gripping story with an intense and unforgettable ending and characters that you really believe in and care about (something unfortunately lacking in far too many modern movies). Unlike some classics that have been hyped up over the years and then leave you a bit disappointed when you watch them, The Bridge On The River Kwai never disappoints & is one you’ll be happy to have finally forced yourself to watch. Oh, and it’s good from the very start, unlike some long classics that take a while to get going. I guarantee you won’t get any chores done for 161 minutes should you decide to give this one a try. And I really hope you do give it a try. As you may have guessed, I highly recommend it.

My Rating: 9/10

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(Good movies make me happy) ๐Ÿ™‚

The famous “Breakfast Club” whistle. John Hughes knew good shit when he saw it. (I wasn’t going to finish this review without mentioning The Breakfast Club): ๐Ÿ˜‰

(And after this one, I watched a long Western! Once Upon A Time In The West. I suck at being girly.)

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22 thoughts on “IMDB Top 250 Challenge – Movie #19 – The Bridge On The River Kwai (1957) Review

  1. glad u finally saw it.

    It’s one of my favorite movies and besides Schindler’s List (1993) it is the best BP movie that I have reviewed (so far).

    AG is in all of Lean’s movies and it’s so hard not picturing Obi Won when I hear his voice.

    This movie is so rich with plot and action that it’s hard to review without revealing spoilers ๐Ÿ™‚

    Wish they made more movies like this one

    keep up the great reviews.

    • Thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚ So glad I made myself watch it. So good! But, yes, I did keep picturing Obi-Wan. Lol. Hard not to! Glad to hear from someone else who really liked it. I need to work on watching more Best Picture winners as well…

  2. I think I watched this when I was a little girl with my grandfather but I haven’t seen it again since. I think I definitely need to rewatch it. I actually quite like war movies when they’re done well so I can imagine it would be a hit for me.

    • I think you’d, at the very least, think it was done well. You should watch it again sometime. After The Elephant Man. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I shouldn’t say I don’t watch ANY war movies – I did really like The Deer Hunter. Platoon was pretty good as well.

  3. I saw snippets of this during a cinema class I took in high school. I wrote it off with pretty much the exact words you used in describing some of these old, long, probably-boring movies. I guess its time to rethink that.

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    • He was fantastic! Okay – so I loved him already thanks to Obi-Wan. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But it was great finally seeing him in something other than Star Wars. I’ll have to check out Kind Hearts & Coronets. It’s funny you’ve commented on this as it’s been on my mind as I’m working on my The Great Escape review since that’s the last Top 250 film I watched. Very hard to not compare them. LOVED them both in different ways but it still doesn’t beat Kwai. So glad I watched this. ๐Ÿ™‚

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