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 BAFTA - Best Film
This movie ranks #11 in BFI 100
This movie ranks #14 in AFI's 100 years...100 cheers
This movie ranks #16 in Spike Lee's Essential Film List
This movie ranks #21 in Golden Globe Best Picture Winners
This movie ranks #23 in War
This movie ranks #26 in National Board of Review - Best Film
This movie ranks #28 in 1950s
This movie ranks #29 in 101 War Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #31 in Academy Award Best Pictures
This movie ranks #36 in AFI's 100 years...100 movies
This movie ranks #40 in Adventure
This movie ranks #51 in Academy Award Best Cinematography
This movie ranks #58 in AFI's 100 years...100 thrills
This movie ranks #74 in Roger Ebert: the great movies
This movie ranks #88 in 100 Best British films
This movie ranks #90 in All Time Box Office
This movie ranks #127 in The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made
This movie ranks #131 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
This movie ranks #135 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die
This movie ranks #139 in Top 250
This movie ranks #163 in Empire 500
This movie ranks #175 in FOK! top 250
This movie ranks #181 in Reddit top 250
This movie ranks #209 in Academy Award Best Picture Nominees
This movie ranks #225 in National Film Registry
This movie ranks #319 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #379 in They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?
This movie ranks #420 in 501 Must See Movies
This movie ranks #533 in Have You Seen? A Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films