Historical context[ edit ] The largely fictitious plot is based on the building in of one of the railway bridges over the Mae Klong river —renamed Khwae Yai in the s—at a place called Tha Ma Kham, five kilometres from the Thai town of Kanchanaburi. According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission  "The notorious Burma-Siam railwaybuilt by CommonwealthDutch and American prisoners of war, was a Japanese project driven by the need for improved communications to support the large Japanese army in Burma. During its construction, approximately 13, prisoners of war died and were buried along the railway. An estimated 80, tocivilians also died in the course of the project, chiefly forced labour brought from Malaya and the Dutch East Indiesor conscripted in Siam Thailand and Burma Myanmar.
The curved-shaped truss spans are the originals on the bridge constructed by the Japanese military during WWII while the two trapezoidal-shaped bridge spans were provided by Japan as war reparations after the war ended in to replace two curved-shaped truss spans that fell into the river after the bridge was attacked and bombed by Allied aircraft.
Spiegel, the producer, bought the film rights to the book (the English version of which was called The Bridge Over the River Kwai) and hired Carl Foreman to write the script. Then he hired Lean to direct—and Lean didn't like Foreman's version. A British colonel (Alec Guinness) builds a bridge for his Japanese captor (Sessue Hayakawa). The Japanese Army forces World War II POWs to build a strategic bridge in Burma.
The notorious Burma-Siam railway, built by CommonwealthDutch and American prisoners of war, was a Japanese project driven by the need for improved communications to support the large Japanese army in Burma.
During its construction, approximately 13, prisoners of war died and were buried along the railway.
An estimated 80, tocivilians also died in the course of the project, chiefly forced labour brought from Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, or conscripted in Siam Thailand and Burma. Two labour forces, one based in Siam and the other in Burma, worked from opposite ends of the line towards the centre.
Toosey was very different from Nicholson and was certainly not a collaborator who felt obliged to work with the Japanese. Toosey in fact did as much as possible to delay the building of the bridge. While Nicholson disapproves of acts of sabotage and other deliberate attempts to delay progress, Toosey encouraged this: Julie Summers, in her book The Colonel of Tamarkan, writes that Boulle, who had been a prisoner of war in Thailand, created the fictional Nicholson character as an amalgam of his memories of collaborating French officers.
This was an entertaining story.
But I am writing a factual account, and in justice to these men—living and dead—who worked on that bridge, I must make it clear that we never did so willingly. We worked at bayonet point and under bamboo lash, taking any risk to sabotage the operation whenever the opportunity arose.
The documentary itself was described by one newspaper reviewer when it was shown on Boxing Day The Bridge on the River Kwai had been shown on BBC1 on Christmas Day as "Following the movie, this is a rerun of the antidote. Their roles and characters, however, are fictionalised. For example, a Sergeant-Major Risaburo Saito was in real life second in command at the camp.
In the film, a Colonel Saito is camp commandant. In reality, Risaburo Saito was respected by his prisoners for being comparatively merciful and fair towards them.
Toosey later defended him in his war crimes trial after the war, and the two became friends. He knew that the railway ran parallel to the Kwae for many miles, and he therefore assumed that it was the Kwae which it crossed just north of Kanchanaburi.
This was an incorrect assumption. The destruction of the bridge as depicted in the film is also entirely fictional. In fact, two bridges were built: Both bridges were used for two years, until they were destroyed by Allied bombing.
The steel bridge was repaired and is still in use today. In particular, they resented the implication in the film that Japanese military engineers were less capable than their British counterparts. The film contains a scene where Colonel Nicholson, while inspecting the bridge construction progress, refers to the Japanese overseeing them as "barbarians".Spiegel, the producer, bought the film rights to the book (the English version of which was called The Bridge Over the River Kwai) and hired Carl Foreman to write the script.
Then he hired Lean to direct—and Lean didn't like Foreman's version. Oct 11, · Watch video · Title: The Bridge on the River Kwai () / Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below/10(K). The Bridge on the River Kwai opens in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp in Burma in , where a battle of wills rages between camp commander Colonel Saito (Sessue Hayakawa) and newly arrived British colonel Nicholson (Alec Guinness)%.
He insists that all prisoners, regardless of rank, will work on the construction of a bridge over the Kwai River as part of a railroad that will link all Burma.
The next morning, when Saito orders everyone, including officers, to work, Nicholson commands his officers to stand fast. Incredulous at the colonel's naïveté, Shears retorts that escape is their only chance to avoid the death sentence of forced labor.
The following day, Saito announces that all the men, including officers, will work on building a bridge across the River Kwai. The Japanese Army forces World War II POWs to build a strategic bridge in Burma.