The Bridge on the River Kwai
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The Bridge on the River Kwai opens in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp in Burma in 1943, where a battle of wills rages between camp commander Colonel Saito (Sessue Hayakawa) and newly arrived British colonel Nicholson (Alec Guinness). Saito insists that Nicholson order his men to build a bridge over the river Kwai, which will be used to transport Japanese munitions. Nicholson refuses, despite all the various "persuasive" devices at Saito's disposal. Finally, Nicholson agrees, not so much to cooperate with his captor as to provide a morale-boosting project for the military… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Has no one else found it highly peculiar that damn near everybody's choice for the best movie of (let's say) the decade should be dedicated, inferentially but absolutely, to the proposition that Courage is Madness and Cowardice is Best?"
‑ Jerry Tallmer, Village Voice
"It is a whale of a story, and in the telling of it, British Director David Lean does a whale of a job."
‑ , TIME Magazine
"Few Second World War films are as enduring as this multi-Oscar-winning examination of the stiff upper lip from director David Lean."
‑ Andrew Collins, Radio Times
"Epic of WWII honor and sacrifice gone haywire."
‑ Charles Cassady, Common Sense Media
"An epic movie which is large in scope and personnel, The Bridge on the River Kwai speaks of the code of honour amongst men during war, the respect shared by enemies of war, and the madness which war evokes."
‑ Matthew Pejkovic, Matt's Movie Reviews
"Part of the success of The Bridge is that its courageous hero is shown from all angles, in all kinds of mirrors. He is strong, stubborn, fallible, maniacal, silly, and wise; and in the end he is pathetic, noble, and foolish."
‑ Philip Roth, The New Republic
"A gripping drama, expertly put together and handled with skill in all departments."
‑ Mike Kaplan, Variety
"It's certainly weathered well thanks to its novel and ingenious approach to presenting multiple perspective of the Second World War."
‑ , Total Film
"The Bridge on the River Kwai is David Lean's last film not to succumb to bloat."
‑ Christian Blauvelt, Slant Magazine
"A towering work."
‑ Ian Nathan, Empire Magazine
"From sky to ground in two shots, and it already feels like we've traversed a great distance, with two and a half hours of skillful, suspenseful WWII adventure to go."
‑ Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York
"For what it is, it ain't bad, though it serves mainly as an illustration of the ancient quandary of revisionist moviemakers: if all you do is systematically invert cliches, you simply end up creating new ones."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"The Bridge on the River Kwai amused and excited me."
‑ Robert Hatch, The Nation
"[Lean] somehow managed a very pleasing balance."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"Guinness, Lean and British war cinema have never been better."
‑ , Film4
More reviews for Bridge on the River Kwai on Rotten Tomatoes

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