The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
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At first the movie seemed pretty ordinary, but it just continued to build. And then that ending... wow.
What I like about this movie is that it doesn't give clear answers what's good and what's not. This is how war stories should always be portrayed.
On one hand I was rooting for colonel Nicholson, because he was right in most cases, they really turned defeat into victory by building the bridge, every soldier working on it felt like soldiers and not slaves, it proved to japanese how strong british nation is etc. (And man oh man, isn't Guinness a fantastic actor?)
I was also rooting for colonel Saito. Even though he was a jerk at the beginning, he had his reasons. His life was depending on this bridge and he wasn't expecting the british to co-operate, so he was cruel to them. One of my favorite scenes in the film was when Nicholson convinced some soldiers that needed medical attention to work on the bridge and Saito was looking through the window with his mouth open. He was probably thinking of letting Nicholson go back home after the bridge is done. Saito changed a lot throughout the movie and I was not expecting that, usually characters like that stay evil all the way untill they are killed.
American and the rest of his group were right as well, but I was rooting for them the least as I was hoping the bridge to stand.
And the finale was uncomfortable for me to watch and that's fantastic actually. Again this is what war stories should be doing to you. You should never know who to root for because in war there are is no right side.
The most disappointing thing about the movie is that it's not a true story. It's based on some true events, but my favorite aspects of the story didn't actually happen.
Teeming with Lean's signature brand of epic scope mixed with intimate character portrayals, 'Kwai' unfolds at a relaxed natural pace to reveal a heart of madness. The colors and cinematography are excellent, as is Guiness' portrayal of a commander driven to a kind of Stockholm Syndrome under the name of British dignity. Truly an 'event' film of its time and one to watch in an environment of prestige.
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In 30 official lists
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This movie ranks #11 in BFI's Top 100 British Films
This movie ranks #11 in BAFTA Award - Best Film
This movie ranks #14 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers
This movie ranks #16 in Spike Lee's Essential List of Films for Filmmakers
This movie ranks #21 in Golden Globe Award - Best Motion Picture
This movie ranks #23 in IMDb's 1950s Top 50
This movie ranks #25 in IMDb's War Top 50
This movie ranks #26 in National Board of Review Award - Best Film
This movie ranks #29 in 101 War Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #31 in Academy Award - Best Picture
This movie ranks #36 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies
This movie ranks #37 in IMDb's Adventure Top 50
This movie ranks #51 in Academy Award - Best Cinematography
This movie ranks #58 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills
This movie ranks #75 in Roger Ebert's Great Movies
This movie ranks #79 in Time Out's The 101 Best Action Movies Ever Made
This movie ranks #88 in Time Out's The 100 Best British Films
This movie ranks #93 in Box Office Mojo's All Time Adjusted Box Office
This movie ranks #119 in The New York Times's Book of Movies
This movie ranks #131 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
This movie ranks #133 in FOK!'s Film Top 250
This movie ranks #135 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die
This movie ranks #163 in Empire's The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time
This movie ranks #165 in IMDb's Top 250
This movie ranks #209 in Academy Award - Best Picture Nominees
This movie ranks #225 in Library of Congress's National Film Registry
This movie ranks #320 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #420 in Emma Beare's 501 Must-See Movies
This movie ranks #435 in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films
This movie ranks #537 in David Thomson's Have You Seen?