Jump to navigation Jump to search This article is about the film. For the novel, see The Bridge over the River Kwai.
The Bridge on the River Kwai poster. It was initially scripted by screenwriter Carl Foreman, who was later replaced by Michael Wilson. Both writers had to work in secret, as they were on the Hollywood blacklist and had fled to England in order to continue working. It used lush colour to bring out the British stiff upper lip of the colonel, played by Alec Guinness in an Oscar-winning performance.
In early 1943, British POWs arrive by train at a Japanese prison camp in Burma. The commandant, Colonel Saito, informs them that all prisoners, regardless of rank, are to work on the construction of a railway bridge over the River Kwai that will connect Bangkok and Rangoon. At the morning assembly, Nicholson orders his officers to remain behind when the enlisted men march off to work. Saito threatens to have them shot, but Nicholson refuses to back down. When Major Clipton, the British medical officer, warns Saito there are too many witnesses for him to get away with murder, Saito leaves the officers standing all day in the intense heat.
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That evening, the officers are placed in a punishment hut, while Nicholson is locked in an iron box. Meanwhile, three prisoners attempt to escape.