Bridge on River Kwai

While I was spending time yesterday evening hacking up lungs and getting kids started on cleaning their rooms last night, I sat and watched a bit of the Bridge on the River Kwai. I missed somewhere between the first twenty minutes and the first hour. Gradually the kids came in and sat down next to me, and we quietly watched this compelling film on the futility of war. Most of my students had never seen a movie with an unhappy ending before. It was quite a shock to them.

There were some parts that I didn’t understand. The various apparently-meaningful acts of Colonel Saito, the Japanese commander, were rendered impenetrable and meaningless, since I didn’t understand what he had done before I started watching. The escaped American’s situation also didn’t make a lot of sense, even after I found out that he was just a deckhand. There was a lot of stuff like that. Even so, Alec Guiness’s role as the gradually less-and-less sane British officer among the prisoners blew me away.

Does anyone know if Bridge on the River Kwai was based on real events in World War II?

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8 comments

  1. i was watching the same thing last night. it is one of my top 10 fave movies. you should sit & watch the whole thing at some point. well worth the time & i’ll bet you pick up some things you might have missed the first time. every time i see it i notice something else.

  2. i was watching the same thing last night. it is one of my top 10 fave movies. you should sit & watch the whole thing at some point. well worth the time & i’ll bet you pick up some things you might have missed the first time. every time i see it i notice something else.

  3. The Burma Railway is one of those parts of Australian war history that are talked about with some reverance. A lot of the POWs on the railway were Australians and having seen footage of how the Japanese treated these guys, it’s astounding that any of them survived with their sanity even remotely intact.

    Something to look at that might help is the Thailand Burma Railway Centre website.

  4. The Burma Railway is one of those parts of Australian war history that are talked about with some reverance. A lot of the POWs on the railway were Australians and having seen footage of how the Japanese treated these guys, it’s astounding that any of them survived with their sanity even remotely intact.

    Something to look at that might help is the Thailand Burma Railway Centre website.

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