on August 18, 2013
A fantastic old war movie, one of the best. It tells the story of British prisoners in a South East Asia Prisoner of War camp being forced to build a railway bridge for their Japanese captors. The acting of Sir Alec Guinness as the senior British Officer is fantastic, no other word for it. The clash of ideologies between the British Colonel and the Japanese Commandant is brilliantly portrayed. Well worth watching several times.
on June 22, 2014
A wonderful movie. Great acting especially from Alec Guiness (sic) and William Holden. Harrowing but a very realistic account of Japanese camps in WW11. The mixed loyalty of the leaders is exceptional. Everyone should see and learn from this movie.. War is hell
on March 1, 2016
War classic that cannot be forgotten . Music is great and the acting are superb . They don't do movies like that anymore . David Lean directed several masterpieces . William Holden and Alec Guiness are excellent in their roles .
on November 20, 2014
Really cool, quality combo for this classic film. The bluray is really good quality as well, with a really good remastering that makes the film that much more enjoyable to watch (and as good as ever).
Video: The picture was presented in 1080p 2.55:1. Compared to the old DVD, the Blu-ray image is cleaner and very noticeably sharper throughout (the evidence is apparent right away in the opening credits which before were problematic), but more importantly, colour fidelity is now superb and image detail really impresses. Blacks are inky and skin tone was accurate. A modest amount of grain is present which imparts a film-like look to the image. (4.5/5)
Audio: The DTS-HD 5.1 MA is also wonderful. Dialogue is clear. The soundtrack by Malcolm Arnold, who won the Oscar for Best Music Score, is very rousing and uplifting. You can whistle along when the tune Colonel Bogey was played. (4/5)
Bridge On The River Kwai won 7 Academy Awards in 1957: Best Picture (producer: Sam Spiegel), Best Director (David Lean), Best Actor (Sir Alec Guiness), Best Cinematography (Jack Hildeyard), Best Film Editing (Peter Taylor), Best Music Score (Malcolm Arnold) and Best Screenplay (Pierre Boulle, Carl Forman, and Michael Wilson). It is of interest to note that Carl Forman and Michael Wilson were blacklisted at the time, and received no screen credit. They were posthumously awarded the Oscars in 1984. Pierre Boulle was not present at the awards ceremony, and Kim Novak accepted the award on his behalf. This was the breakthrough movie for Sir David Lean. Apparently, he was flat broke at the time the movie was made. He had to ask for an advance in order to fix his teeth!
Sony has packaged its Blu-ray release in a thick digibook format with the Blu-ray disc inside the front cover and an updated DVD version inside the back cover. The book is encased in a solid slip-case that gives a professional look to the enterprise. The 32-page digibook focuses on production information and publicity material reproductions, mainly culled from the original 1957 souvenir book. A nice set of 12 lobby card reproductions is also included in a pocket at the end of the book.
For a film 53 years old, the video and audio were properly restored. With all the additional goodies stated above in this Collector's Edition, the price was very reasonable. On Blu-ray, all of its glories are intact, and is highly recommended.
on November 21, 2009
One of the best ever-war movies, or at least one of the best ever Alec Guiness. What he does is done superbly. SS Hayakawa does real justice to the Japanese Samurai put between a rock and a hard place. Jack Hawkins plays the pukka sahib Brit Colonel and gives one of his greater performances. All told a winner of a movie that I have seen several times. Now that we own it we will see it even more times. Definitely five stars.
on December 3, 2010
What more can I say that hasn't already been written about this epic film. To view it again was great but this time in Blu Ray with 4K digital restoration and newly mastered 5.1 audio it's truly amazing. You will have to see it for yourself, to understand what all this is like, and I believe you will not be disappointed. The extras you get with the DVD are a very nice keepsake.
on January 9, 2004
Like many people, I saw the BOTRK on television first, back in the media-challenged 1960's. Even through the pan and scan and low-res color of those ancient TV's, Lean's film riveted me to the screen. It wasn't until the late 1980's and hi-end VHS releases of films came out that I finally saw the widescreen version, and saw what I'd been missing for years. Lean was one of the few directors who could fill the widescreen and create drama without cutting a film to pieces in an attempt to generate excitement.
Alec Guiness etched himself into the ages with his performance as the pathological Col. Nicholson who abides by the letter of the law to the point of utter lunacy. When he and Sessue Hayakawa face off one sees the immovable object meeting the irressistable force. The whole attempt at breaking Nicholson plays like a prison/chain-gang film from the 1930's, but there is more at stake here - Nicholson's view is that order should be prevail regardless of circumstances, while Saito's view is that circumstances dictate order. The class and racial issues emenate from this conflict like waves of radioactivity.
William Holden appears in this film as a means of getting American finance - but he is nonetheless effective as the shirker, fraud, hero and cynic(his character from Sunset Boulevard onwards). Jack Hawkins is suitabily manipulative as the Oxford Don turned demonlition man.
But the real star of this film is the jungle matched to the widescreen. The sweep of green tangle in which this drama enacts strangles the life and sanity from the people enmeshed in the struggle. Lean knew how to create shots in depth, so his films are always more than what the characters are doing on the screen.
Like Apocalypse Now, another tale of Western soldiers in the jungle, this production was fraught with difficulties, the most damaging of which was a cameraman's failure to shoot the more important angle of the bridge's destruction. In the CGI world this could never happen, but in the awesome realtime destruction of BOTRK, Lean's crew had to rebuild the bridge, rescue the train, and redo the shot. It was worth it.
The DVD restores this film to it's proper aspect ration, sound, and probably has better color than the original, although, having never seen it in a theatre, I can't say.
For a real and disturbing look at what actually happened in Japanese POW camps, read "Prisoners of the Sun."
on June 24, 2004
David Lean's THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI is certainly one of the great war epics of the cinema. It might be an even better film than his equally celebrated LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. The latter film has, at the center of all the visual grandeur and epic scale, a character than is equally larger-than-life. The main characters of BRIDGE, on the other hand, are more humanly scaled, and I was grateful for that. Here is a cinematic epic that isn't just empty spectacle, but has intriguing characters and a literate thoughtfulness that is becoming a rarity in movies these days. In a lesser film, for instance, characters like Col. Saito (Sessue Hayakawa), Col. Nicholson (Alec Guinness, in a performance that won a deserved Academy Award---as did the movie itself), and Shears (William Holden) might have been reduced to one-dimensional stereotypes. Here, they have fascinating complexities that help drive the plot and serve its theme, which can pretty much be summed up by the final words of the movie: "Madness, madness!" The beauty here is that both Saito and Nicholson might be mad, but their madness isn't necessarily without justification.
Of course, all this character development, which may or may not necessarily be interesting by itself, serves as a backdrop for what is essentially an adventure on a grand scale, and on that level it also works triumphantly, delivering beautiful widescreen cinematography, lush settings, and genuine suspense, particularly in its tense final moments. A glorious epic adventure that also never skimps on the human element, indeed makes it almost an integral part of the story---that is the magic of THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI. Highly recommended.
on March 12, 2004
It's hard to beat the acting in this epic film. Alec Guiness, until then primarily known for comic roles, plays a ramrod straight British officer who has a tendency to get obsessed with matters of propriety and honor. He's deadly serious, but his performance comes right up to the edge of absurdity, including his amazing facial and body language at the climactic, ironic final moment. William Holden shows why he embodied the American male ideal in the 50s--the carefree, scheming existentialist who decides to care at the last, tragic moment. Sessue Hayakawa and Jack Hawkins are also memorable. This movie is one of my favorites. It unfolds slowly, but with a strong line of tension throughout that keeps you utterly hypnotized. The movie is almost the proto-typical blockbuster--fabulous photography, great scenery, powerful music, casts of thousands, and of course, that great big bridge that they actually built for the movie, and that, in the end, they...(I won't spoil it.) Rare is the movie that manages to have a compelling anti-war message while paying full tribute to the bravery of soldiers and the justice of war.