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The leg on the river Kwai, British-American war film, released in 1957 and also directed by David Lean, the was both a an important and famous success and also became an enduring classic. The movie garnered seven Academy Awards, consisting of that for best picture, as well as three golden Globe Awards and four BAFTA awards.

The activity of the movie takes ar in a Japanese prisoner-of-war (POW) camp in Burma during human being War II. As it opens, two POWs, the American marine commander Shears (William Holden) and an Australian, space digging graves for their companions. A regiment the British detainees arrives, whistling the “Colonel Bogey March,” under the command that Colonel Nicholson (Sir Alec Guinness). The camp commander, Colonel Saito (Sessue Hayakawa), notifies the prisoners that they will all start working top top the building of a railway bridge the complying with day. Nicholson advises Saito that the officers cannot be forced to do manual work according come the Geneva Convention. When, the next morning, Saito orders all the British detainees to start building the bridge under the command that a Japanese engineer, Nicholson and also the other police officers refuse, also when Saito endangers to kill them. They continue to be standing at fist throughout the day. In ~ the finish of the day, the policemans are imprisoned, and also Nicholson is thrown into “the oven”—a little box make of corrugated metal. In the meantime, Shears manages come escape. ~ a few days, the British clinical officer major Clipton (James Donald) do the efforts to persuade both Saito and Nicholson come compromise, however both room unyielding. The bridge construction is going badly, however, and Saito offers concessions to Nicholson in an initiative to get the structure completed ~ above schedule. Nicholson will not cooperate and finally insists that the bridge have the right to be constructed only under his command.

Nicholson undertakes the building and construction of a well-made bridge, at very first thinking it a great way to improve the morale and also discipline that his regiment yet gradually coming to regard the structure not as a component of the adversary war effort but as a monument come British ingenuity. Concurrently, Shears, after ~ a harrowing trip in i beg your pardon he nearly loses his life much more than once, is rescued through the British and then forced to command a team of commandoes top by significant Warden (Jack Hawkins) back to the POW camp that he escaped native in bespeak to punch up the bridge. At the POW camp, Nicholson not only requires police officers to work on the leg but additionally pulls males from the hospital in bespeak to meet Saito’s deadline for the project. The commandoes come for their mission as the finishing touches are being placed on the bridge. If the British detainees celebrate their achievement that night, the commandoes wire the bridge through explosives to be detonated through a plunger operated by a hidden soldier, time to please the bridge just as one inaugural train transferring Japanese dignitaries is cross it. Once the sun rises, the commandoes realize the the water level in the river has actually fallen, exposing the explosives and wiring. After Saito cut a ceremonial ribbon, Nicholson spots a detonator wire. Together the train approaches, Nicholson frantically traction up the wire, adhering to it to uncover the detonator. Once he asks for Saito’s aid in cutting the wires, the covert commando, sublieutenant Joyce (Geoffrey Horne), leaps up and kills Saito. Nicholson no hope tries to keep Joyce from depressing the plunger, while Shears and Warden try to death Nicholson. An initial Joyce and then Shears are eliminated in the ensuing gunfire. Nicholson unexpectedly realizes that his proud in the bridge’s construction has blinded him come his army duty. Mortally wounded, he drops onto the plunger, the bridge is puffy up, and also the train with the dignitaries drops into the river.

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The movie, based on the novel Le Pont de la rivière Kwaï (1952) by French novelist Pierre Boulle, was adjusted for the display screen by Michael Wilson and Carl Foreman, that were both at the time on the Hollywood blacklist. Boulle was offered sole credit transaction on the film and was awarded the Oscar for finest screenplay. In 1984 the Academy plank of Governors voted posthumous Oscars come Foreman and also Wilson, and their names were consisted of on prints of the film beginning in the 1990s. The leg on the flow Kwai to be selected in 1997 for conservation in the national Film Registry.