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Bridge on River Kwai [Blu-ray] [1957] [US Import]

William Holden , Alec Guinness , David Lean    Blu-ray
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
Price: £26.16
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Frequently Bought Together

Bridge on River Kwai [Blu-ray] [1957] [US Import] + Lawrence of Arabia (Blu-ray + UV Copy) [1962] [Region Free] + Doctor Zhivago [Blu-ray] [1965] [Region Free]
Price For All Three: £40.66

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Product details

  • Actors: William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Sessue Hayakawa, James Donald
  • Directors: David Lean
  • Writers: Carl Foreman, Michael Wilson, Pierre Boulle
  • Producers: Sam Spiegel
  • Format: AC-3, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Chinese, Thai
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.55:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: 2 Nov 2010
  • Run Time: 161 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0017OB12O
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 135,606 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Based on the true story of the building of a bridge on the Burma railway by British prisoners-of-war held under a savage Japanese regime in World War II, The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) is one of the greatest war films ever made. The film received seven Oscars, including Best Picture, Director, Performance (Alex Guinness), for Sir Malcolm Arnold's superb music, and for the screenplay from the novel by Pierre Boulle (who also wrote Monkey Planet, the inspiration for Planet of the Apes). The story does take considerable liberties with history, including the addition of an American saboteur played by William Holden, and an entirely fictitious but superbly constructed and thrilling finale. Made on a vast scale, the film reinvented the war movie as something truly epic, establishing the cinematic beachhead for The Longest Day (1962), Patton (1970) and A Bridge Too Far (1977). It also proved a turning-point in director David Lean's career. Before he made such classic but conventionally scaled films as In Which We Serve (1942) and Hobson's Choice (1953). Afterwards there would only be four more films, but their names are Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Dr Zhivago (1965), Ryan's Daughter (1970) and A Passage to India (1984).

On the DVD: Too often the best extras come attached to films that don't really warrant them. Not so here, where a truly great film has been given the attention it deserves. The first disc presents the film in the original extra-wide CinemaScope ratio of 2.55:1, in an anamorphically enhanced transfer which does maximum justice to the film's superb cinematography. The sound has been transferred from the original six-track magnetic elements into 5.1 Dolby Digital and far surpasses what many would expect from a 1950s' feature. The main bonus on the first disc is an isolated presentation of Malcolm Arnold's great Oscar-winning music score, in addition to which there is a trivia game, and maps and historical information linked to appropriate clips.

The second disc contains a new, specially produced 53-minute "making of" documentary featuring many of those involved in the production of the movie. This gives a rich insight into the physical problems of making such a complex epic on location in Ceylon. Also included are the original trailer and two short promotional films from the time of release, one of which is narrated by star William Holden. Finally there is an "appreciation" by director John Milius, an extensive archive of movie posters and artwork, and a booklet that reproduces the text of the film's original 1957 brochure. --Gary S Dalkin


One of the all-time great war films, The Bridge on the River Kwai is yet another classic from the marvelous David Lean (Lawrence of Arabia, Dr Zhivago). The film is an outstanding, psychologically complex adaptation of Pierre Boulle's 1952 novel, a classic story of English POWs in Burma forced to build a bridge to aid the war effort of their Japanese captors. British and American intelligence officers conspire to blow up the structure, but Col. Nicholson (a fabulous Alec Guinness), the commander who supervised the bridge's construction, has acquired a sense of pride in his creation and tries to foil their plans. Although credited to screenwriter Carl Foreman, the script was actually written by blacklisted writer Michael Wilson. The film garnered seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor (Guinness). The climax is one of the great finales in film history.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the most part, a sparkling restoration 16 Jun 2011
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
If further proof be needed that when it comes to Blu-ray, the old ones are the best ones, along comes this superb version of The Bridge on the River Kwai.

Occasionally in HD/Blu-ray forums I read ill-informed comments that such and such a film will look rubbish on Blu-ray because it 'pre-dates HD'. Well this one was released in 1957: see for yourselves. The fact is that film has a vastly high resolution to begin with, even greater than that of Blu-ray. As long as the original negative is in a pristine condition, it can't help but look better. Many older movies are given a new lease of life on the format and quite often - thanks to state-of-the-art restoration techniques - can sit proudly alongside the best of today's titles.

BotRK boasts a fine new transfer: "a 4K digital restoration from the original negative with newly remastered 5.1 audio" according to the sleeve notes. If the film does show its age to some degree, it's where the source elements don't quite match and look slightly grainier. This is certainly true of the opening few minutes but don't let that put you off. Once the PoWs have marched into camp, the picture is exemplary and is easily on a par with other highly regarded Blu-rays, such as Zulu or The Sound of Music. The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack has been mixed with care: any effects are only sent to the surround channels when the scene justifies it and not for their own sake. Music for the most part is confined to the front stage and a crisp dialogue track is anchored to the centre, where it belongs.

As regards the film itself, it won seven Academy Awards and deservedly so.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still my favourite 2 Sep 2006
I can't name my favourite book - there are too many. But my favourite film has to be this. Principally I am attached to its depiction of Sri Lanka including waterfalls, rivers and a sense of jungle even if some of the film was filmed in pretend jungle in botanic gardens. I think this film is so incredibly well packaged and the script is so good and the visuals are stunning - that I can return to it again and again.

The criticism is that this film does not relate any reality. Those who want to know about the real Bridge can go to Thailand and do their own research.

This is principally an entertaining "war" film all about face, principles, the British Empire, life in the army with a not unsympathetic portrayal of the Japanese general who in reality would have represented a more brutal oppressor.

Everything about this film resonates with something you can connect with in daily life:

"Without rules commander there would be no civilisation"

"We're under the heel of a man who'll stop at nothing to get his way"

"As for me, I'm just a slave, a living slave"

"someone deserves a medal sir!"

Some excellent speeches and a panoramic look at Life and Sri Lanka, captured at a time a little more pristine than at present. Extraordinary climax at end with tremendous camera shots for a 50s film. Brilliant!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Three classic films at an excellent price. 25 Jan 2005
By Tim
I shan't bother describing the films themselves here, as you can find many good reviews elsewhere on Amazon. The box set is reasonably well put together, although the hinging of the plastic trays that contain the discs looks a bit flimsy (held together by Sellotape?). The discs and booklets for each film are taken directly from the Columbia Tri-Star releases of the fims available individually. However you only get disc 1 from the "Bridge on the River Kwai" two-disc set released in 2000. You lose some of the "making-of" documentaries, interviews and picture galleries ... but you get the film, which is the important thing!
The "Bridge on the River Kwai" is a remastered version with a remixed Dolby 5.1 soundtrack. I found the stereo separation too wide for my tastes and would have liked the option of the original mono soundtrack (artefacts and all). Picture quality is fair, although there are some scratches and hairs during the opening credits as well as the occasional jump during the film.
"From Here to Eternity" has the original mono soundtrack (I believe a Superbit Dolby 5.1 version is also available, but, really, what's the point?!). Note that this film is shot in black and white.
"The Guns Of Navarone" has surround sound and the picture quality is good.
In conclusion, if you're not bothered by the lack of extras, I would highly recommend this set. At the current prices you save 10 pounds compared with buying the films separately (16 vs. 26 pounds).
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Madness... Madness" and Yet 26 Sep 2005
By Robert Morris TOP 500 REVIEWER
Directed by David Lean, this film focuses on an attempt by a team led by Major Warden (Jack Hawkins) to destroy a strategically important bridge over the Kwai river in Burma in 1943, a bridge built by British prisoners during World War II. An epic in every possible sense, the inhumanities of the Japanese are probably underplayed somewhat so that we can focus on two essential conflicts of will, one between Japanese Colonel Saito (Sessue Hayakawa) and British Colonel Nicholson (Alec Guinness) and the other between Warden and Shears (William Holden) who is forced to join Warden's team and thereby avoid a court martial for impersonating a U.S. naval officer. It should also be noted that Nicholson struggles with a conflict between his obligations as a British officer (i.e. to resist his enemy in any and every possible way) and his determination to demonstrate British superiority over the Japanese captors. Colonel Saito has his own conflicts, notably between imposing his will on Nicholson and the British troops and getting the bridge built. At the heart of this magnificent film are several moral dilemmas which help to explain why we become so emotionally involved with its narrative.
One of the many pleasures of seeing this film (especially in its DVD format) is the juxtaposition of lush tropical settings with the raw emotions of those who are building the bridge and those who are determined to destroy it. I am also struck by how carefully Lean develops the semi-adversarial relationships between Nicholson and Saito and between Warden and Shears. Although "Madness... Madness" is frequently quoted as an evaluation of those relationships, I disagree.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Received with thanks
Published 17 days ago by mrs susan crosland
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
can't beat the old films
Published 25 days ago by jan can
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent - arrived really quickly
Published 26 days ago by David D Northeast
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great item and would recommend.
Published 26 days ago by james
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great world war II film .
Published 1 month ago by BARRY RANDLE
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
One of the greatest movies of all time. Alec Guinness (the actor's actor) was superb. I've watched this movie quite a few times over the years and it never fails to impress. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Professor I. Robertson MD
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
recieved in good time, can't wait to watch it. Thank you.
Published 1 month ago by C.W.
Must admit, I bought the 'collector's edition' a while back, a treasured possession indeed.
The film itself shows the dreadful conditions that prisoners had to tollerate in... Read more
Published 3 months ago by rbmusicman
4.0 out of 5 stars GOOD DAVID LEAN FILM.
As I've mentioned before I'm a massive DAVID LEAN fan, and this film did not disappoint.Saw it at the cinema many years ago and now I noticed little touches of his that I didn't... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Brian Cook
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic
I bought this as a gift for someone so am not able to give a review about the content of the DVD. However the service of the seller is very good and recommended
Published 4 months ago by Lynne Haynes
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