Bridge On The River Kwai Script - Dialogue Transcript

Voila! Finally, the Bridge On The River Kwai script is here for all you quotes spouting fans of the movie by David Lean starring Alec Guinness and William Holden.  This script is a transcript that was painstakingly transcribed using the screenplay and/or viewings of Bridge On The River Kwai. I know, I know, I still need to get the cast names in there and I'll be eternally tweaking it, so if you have any corrections, feel free to drop me a line. You won't hurt my feelings. Honest.

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Bridge On The River Kwai Script



Finish work. Hurry!

Go to hut.



Yeah, that figures.



Those new prisoners see us digging

graves, they might all run away.



No time for jokes.

Finish work. Dig!



How about putting us

on the sick list?



Have a heart, Captain.

Put us in the hospital.



You no sick.



You never sick.



Why you always play sick, Shears?



Don't want one of these

over my head.



Captain Kanematsu,

how about a butt?



I give you butt this morning.

Both of you.



That's what I mean.

I want to return the favor.



When a man gives me something

from the goodness of his heart...



like you gave me that this morning,

I remember it from the heart.



That's why I want you

to keep this lighter.



Think I stole it?



It belonged to that English kid

we just buried over there.



He willed that lighter to me

for a favor I done him.



Before I pass on,

I want to do the same for you.



You funny man, Shears.



You go on the sick list.

Him too.



One day, Colonel Saito

will catch you bribing him.



Then what?



Before that happens,

we'll be far away from here, chum.



Let's knock off.



Here lies--



- Weaver, I've forgotten who we buried.

- Thomson.



Ah, yes.



Here lies Corporal Herbert Thomson...



serial number         ...



valiant member

of the King's own...



or the Queen's own

or something...



who died of beriberi

in the year of our Lord     ...



for the greater glory of--



- What did he die for?

- Come off it.



No need to mock the grave.



I don't mock the grave or the men.



May he rest in peace.



He found little enough of it

while he was alive.



Battalion, halt.



End of the line.



Left turn!



Stand at ease.



Stand easy.



We're going to be a busy pair

of gravediggers.



Well done.



That colonel doesn't know

what he's in for.



- You going to tell him the truth?

- Of course not.



You're neither an officer

nor a gentleman.



My name is Nicholson.



I am Colonel Saito.



In the name

of His Imperial Majesty...



I welcome you.



I am the commanding officer

of this camp...



which is Camp    ...



along the great railroad...



which will soon connect

Bangkok with Rangoon.



You British prisoners

have been chosen...



to build a bridge

across the River Kwai.



It will be pleasant work,

requiring skill...



and officers will work

as well as men.



The Japanese Army

cannot have idle mouths to feed.



If you work hard,

you will be treated well.



But if you do not work hard...



you will be punished!



A word to you about escape.



There is no barbed wire...



no stockade...



no watchtower.



They are not necessary.



We are an island in the jungle.



Escape is impossible.



You would die.



Today you rest.

Tomorrow you will begin.



Let me remind you

of General Yamashita's motto:



Be happy in your work.






Battalion, stand at ease!



Fall out, Major Hughes.



Hughes, get the men to their quarters.

Tell Clipton to see to the sick.



- I'll have a word with this fellow.

- Very good.



I heard your remarks just now, sir.



My men will carry on in the way

one expects of the British soldier.



Naturally, my officers and I

will be responsible for their conduct.



You may have overlooked that the use

of officers for manual labor...



is expressly forbidden

by the Geneva Convention.



Is that so?



I have a copy

of the Convention with me...



and would be glad to let you

glance through it if you wish.



That will not be necessary.






Sit down, please.



Yes, sir.



- I'll speak to Clipton. See you later.

- Very good, sir.



Clipton, don't let me interrupt.



- How's the arm,Jennings?

- Nearly healed, sir.



Sir, this is Commander Shears

of the United States Navy.



- Good heavens.

- How do you do, sir?



We found him and an Australian

in the hospital here.



They're all that's left

of the prisoners who built the camp.



The U.S. Navy out here?



For a deepwater sailor,

I am sort of landlocked.



- You lost your ship?

- The Houston.



I made it ashore, but I got separated

from the other survivors.



And your group here?



Mostly Aussies, some Lime--

some British...



Indians, Burmese, Siamese.



What happened to them?



They died...



of malaria, dysentery,

beriberi, gangrene.



Other causes of death:

famine, overwork...



bullet wounds, snake bites...






and then there were some

who just got tired of living.



Has Clipton looked at you?



Just about to, sir. Commander,

you can finish that shave later.



All right.



You'll stay with the officers,

and we'll find some decent clothing.



Don't bother about me, Colonel.



I'm not anxious

to get off the sick list.



Besides, this is working kit.

It's the fashion out here.



The officers in your party

did manual labor?



You could call it that.



Actually, I raised that very point

with Colonel-- What's his name?



I think he understands

the situation now.



- Is that so?

- Yes. He's seems a reasonable type.



I must be pushing on.



There's an officers' meeting at  :  .

Get me a list of your requirements.



Yes, sir.



- Anything we can do.

- Thank you, sir.



- What is it?

- Never mind.



Go on, say it.



I can think of a lot of things

to call Saito, but ''reasonable''?



That's a new one.



Perhaps Colonel Nicholson

defines the word differently.



Any other points?



- By your leave, sir.

- Yes,Jennings?



About the escape committee, sir.

I've talked with Commander Shears--



There won't be any escape committee.



I don't understand, sir.

LieutenantJennings has a plan.



Yes, I'm sureJennings has a plan,

but escape? Where?



Into this jungle?



Saito was right.

No need for barbed wire here.



One chance in a hundred

of survival.



I'm sure a man of Commander Shears'

experience will back me up on that.



I'd say the odds against a successful

escape are a hundred to one.



- Right.

- But may I add another word?






The odds against survival

in this camp are even worse.



You've seen the graveyard.

There are your real odds.



To give up hope of escape,

to even stop thinking about it...



is like accepting a death sentence.



Why haven't you tried

to escape, Commander?



I've been biding my time, waiting

for the right moment, the right company.



I understand how you feel.



Of course, it's normally the duty

of a captured soldier...



to attempt escape...



but my men and I are involved

in a curious legal point...



of which you are unaware.



In Singapore, we were ordered

to surrender by Command Headquarters.






Therefore, in our case, escape

might be an infraction of military law.



- Interesting?

- Yes, sir.



- Interesting point.

- I didn't quite follow you.



You intend to uphold the letter

of the law, no matter what it costs?



Without law, Commander,

there is no civilization.



That's just my point:

Here there is no civilization.



Then we have the opportunity

to introduce it.



I suggest we drop

the subject of escape.



Is there anything else?



I think we're all clear

on the program.



I want everything to go off without

a hitch starting tomorrow morning.



Remember this:



Our men must always feel

they are still commanded by us...



and not by the Japanese.



If they have that idea to cling to,

they'll be soldiers and not slaves.



Are you with me, Commander?



I hope they can remain soldiers,




As for me, I'm just a slave,

a living slave.



Queer bird,

even for an American.



He's been in isolation too long,

poor chap.



Cut off from his unit.



It should be a lesson

to all of us.






English prisoners!



Notice I do not say,

'' English soldiers.''



From the moment you surrendered...



you ceased to be soldiers.



You will finish the bridge...



by the   th day of May.



You will work under the direction

of a Japanese engineer...



Lieutenant Mioura.



Time is short.



All men will work!



Your officers will work beside you.



This is only just...



for it is they who betrayed you

by surrender.



Your shame is their dishonor.



It is they who told you...



'' Better to live like a coolie

than die like a hero.''



It is they who brought you here,

not I!






they will join you

in useful labor.



That is all.



Officer prisoners,

collect your tools.



Bradley, back in your place.



I must call your attention,

Colonel Saito...



to Article   

of the Geneva Convention.



'' Belligerents

may employ as workmen...



prisoners of war who are physically fit

other than officers--''



- Give me the book.

- By all means.



You read English, I take it?



- Do you read Japanese?

- I'm sorry, no.



If it's a matter of precise translation,

I'm sure that can be arranged.



The code specifically states

that the--



Stand fast in the ranks!



Stand fast in the ranks!



You speak to me of code?



What code?

The coward's code!



What do you know

of the soldier's code, of Bushido?




You are unworthy of command!



Since you refuse to abide

by the laws of the civilized world...



we must consider ourselves absolved

from our duty to obey you.



My officers

will not do manual labor.



We shall see.



All enlisted prisoners to work!



Sergeant Major,

take the men to work.



Yes, sir.

Battalion, take up tools.



What's he up to?



Looks like he doesn't want

any witnesses.



Now you will be reasonable.



You will order

your officers to work.



I will count three.



If by the third count...



you and your officers

are not on the way to work...



I will give the order to fire.



He's going to do it.



Believe me,

he's really going to do it.






I warn you, Colonel.









I've seen and heard everything.



So has every man in the hospital.

There are too many witnesses.



You'll never get away

with calling it a mass escape.



- Most of those men can't walk.

- Shut up!



Is this your soldier's code,

murdering unarmed men?



You see, there are certain advantages

to being on the sick list.



I'll say this for the old man:

He's got guts.



Into the valley of death

rode the    .



- How's that, sir?

- That kind of guts.



Also the kind they had in       

when your officers went over the top...



with nothing but a swagger stick.



- I see what you mean.

- You don't see what I mean at all!



The kind of guts

that can get us all killed.



Excuse me, sir.

I'd like to go along too.



Arm's almost healed, sir.

Really it is.



What about him?



He didn't actually order us

not to escape. He only suggested--



Listen, when a man like your colonel

suggests something, it's an order.



Here we go again.



Colonel Saito say,

all officers to punishment hut.



Tell them to go.



Not you.






Leave him alone!



They're putting him in the oven.



They're putting him in the oven.



For he's a jolly good fellow



As so say all of us









- One, two, three, pull!

- Hurry!



Let go!



You wish to see me?



I've been trying to see you

for three days.



It's about Colonel Nicholson.

He's been shut up in that hut--



I could have you shot.



Those prisoners who tried to escape

were in your charge.



I knew nothing about the escape.



It does not matter.



One must even respect

those who tried.



For a brief moment,

between escape and death...



they were soldiers again.



But it is insane

to try and escape.



Two soldiers shot...



the third drowned!



To what end?



It was an escape from reality.



Here is reality.



This shows the position work

should have reached by noon today...



and this shows the position

of actual progress.



Because of your colonel's




we are far behind the schedule!



That is not all.

Enlisted prisoners sabotage the work.



Yes, I have seen it.



I could have them all shot.



Then who would build your bridge?




are you sure it's sabotage?



Perhaps the men don't work well without

their own officers to direct them.



My officers will direct them.



Your officers will work beside them.



That's for Colonel Nicholson

to decide.



As he pointed out,

it's against the rules.



Do not speak to me of rules!



This is war!



This is not a game of cricket.



Your colonel is mad.



Quite mad.



Sit down, please.



I have decided to allow you

one visit to your colonel.



Thank you.



Tell him that

if his officers will not work...



I'll be forced

to close the hospital...



and your patients will work

in their place.



Many will die,

and he will be responsible.



Go and speak to him.

You have five minutes.



The doc's going to see the old man.






It's Clipton, sir.



I brought you a few things.



- How are the men?

- Fine, sir.



We scraped together

a little meat and a coconut.



And the officers?



They're not so good.

They're still in detention.



And LieutenantJennings is dead.



- What?

- Killed attempting to escape.



Two others were with him:

Corporal Weaver and the American.



Poor, brave lad.



I warned him, didn't I?



Look, sir, we haven't much time.



I'd like to clean you up

while I talk.



I've got something to tell you.



I've had a word with Saito.



That man's the worst commanding

officer I've ever come across.



Actually, I think he's mad.

Carry on.



- Blackmail.

- I know, sir, but he means it.



It's a question of face,

pure and simple.



- He can't give in.

- It's still blackmail.



Sir, you can't stand

much more of this.



And wouldn't the officers be better off

working than suffocating in that hole?



The men are going

as slow on it as they dare...



but Saito's cut their food rations.



If he makes the sick men work,

they're going to die.



- That's all there is to it.

- Yes, I truly understand...



but it's a matter of principle.



If we give in now,

there will be no end to it.



Sir, we're lost in the jungle

a thousand miles from anywhere.



We're under the heel of a man

who will stop at nothing to get his way.



'' Principle''? No one will ever know

or care what happens to us.



- Give in, sir, please.

- I'm adamant.



I will not have an officer

from my battalion working as a coolie.



- Time.

- All right.



Please thank those concerned.



Everybody in the hospital

contributed one piece.



Reynolds stole the coconut.



We'll be able to get you

a little something from time to time.



We've bribed one of your guards.



Good-bye, sir,

and good luck.



Many thanks.



Did you say

that American chap was killed?



Yes, sir.

Shot and drowned.



It's insane to plan escapes.



Three men killed,

and to what end?



Here is where

we must win through.



The doc just looked at us

and shook his head. What does that mean?



It means only one thing:

The colonel won't give in.



It's like this: Colonel Nicholson

won't give in to force.



It's a question of principle.



As medical officer, I must protest

at the way he's being treated.



It's a wonder he's still alive.



Should a tragedy occur,

it would be tantamount to murder.



He is responsible, not I.



You sick?



Are they both mad?



Or am I going mad?



Or is it the sun?






Battalion, attention!



English prisoners...



let us ask the question...



''Why does the bridge

not progress?''



You know why.

Because your officers are lazy!



They think themselves too good

to share your burdens.



This is not just.




you are not happy in your work.




the bridge does not progress.



But there is another cause.



I do not hide the truth.



With deep shame and regret...



I admit to you the failure

of a member of the Japanese staff.



I refer to Lieutenant Mioura.



He is a bad engineer.



He is unworthy of command.



Therefore, I have removed him

from his post.



Tomorrow we begin again.



I shall be in personal command.



Today we rest.



All work and no play

makeJack a dull boy.



As a token of regard

for your efforts in the future...



I give presents to you all.



Let us be happy in our work.



Company, dismiss.



Battalion, dismissed.



Take a look at this!



Red Cross?



He's given us

our own Red Cross parcels.



Tomorrow we begin again.



Harry, look.

They're letting the old man out.



Most likely going to give him

another pasting.



Good evening, Colonel.



Do you mind sitting over here?



I am having rather

a late supper.



English corned beef.



No, thank you.



Produce of Scotland.



I prefer it to saki.



I spent three years in London.



I spent three years in London.



I studied

at the London Polytechnic.



- Cheers.

- Sorry.



- Later, perhaps.

- Perhaps.



I was not a good artist.



My father disapproved.



He felt I belonged in the army...



so I changed

from art to engineering.



I must tell you, Colonel Saito...



I intend to make a full report

of your activities in this camp.



I do not think

you quite realize my position.



- I must carry out my orders.

- Quite.



My orders are to complete the bridge

by the   th day of May.



- Time is short. I only have    weeks.

- No doubt.



Therefore, I am compelled

to use all available personnel.



But no officers, except

in an administrative capacity.



But officers are working

along the entire railway.



You know it! I know it!



I'm not responsible for the actions

of other commanding officers.



Personally, I'm appalled.



Let's not get excited.



- Will you have a cigar?

- No, thank you.



When I said all officers must work...



naturally, I never meant you,

the commanding officer.



My orders were only intended

for officers below--



None of my officers

will do manual labor.






I was about to say, I have been

thinking the matter over...



and decided to put majors and above

on administrative duties...



leaving only the junior officers

to lend a hand.



I'm afraid not.

The Convention's clear on that point.



Do you know what will happen to me

if the bridge is not ready in time?



I haven't the foggiest.



I'll have to kill myself.



What would you do if you are me?



I suppose if I were you...



I'd have to kill myself.






I warn you, Colonel.



If I am to die,

others will die before me.



Do you understand that?



Major Clipton did mention

something to that effect.



That won't solve your problem.



I'm sure we can arrive

at a proper solution.



Please sit down.



Now, tell me, Colonel...



do you agree that the first job

of an officer is command?



- Of course.

- Good.



Take this bridge of yours.



It's quite

an enormous undertaking.



I have grave doubts

whether your lieutenant--



- What's his name?

- Mioura.



Is he capable of tackling a job

of such importance?



On the other hand,

my officers Reeves and Hughes...



have built bridges

all over India.



The men respect them.



It's essential for an officer

to have that respect.



If he loses it, he ceases to command.

Then there's demoralization and chaos.



I would be a poor commander

if I allowed that to happen to my men.



Perhaps you are not aware...



that the bridge is now

under my personal command.




Are you satisfied with the work?



- I am not!

- You prove my point.



I hate the British!



You are defeated,

but you have no shame.



You are stubborn,

but have no pride.



You endure,

but you have no courage.



- It's pointless going on like this.

- Stay there!



Stand down!



Battalion, attention!



Battalion, stand at ease!






- Do you know the date today?

- I'm afraid I've lost count.



It's the anniversary of our great

victory over Russia in      .



Throughout East Asia,

we are celebrating this date.



In honor of this occasion...



I have given your troops

a day of rest.



- Many thanks.

- I am declaring a general amnesty.



You and your officers

may return to your quarters.



As part of this amnesty...



it will not be necessary

for officers to do manual labor.



He's done it.



Somebody deserves a medal, sir.



How many men in your party,




- I don't really know, sir.

- You don't know?



Twelve usually, but one of the men

took sick suddenly this morning...



and it took three or four others

to help him to the hospital, sir.



He took terrible sick, sir.



A corporal should always know

exactly how many men he has under him.



Yes, sir.



Have you a nervous affliction?

If not, stop making those faces.



It may be funny, and I'm sure

it's done with the best motives...



but it's not military behavior.



No, sir.



We must put a stop

to these demonstrations.



Yes, sir.



- Reeves.

- Yes, sir?



Have you ever constructed a bridge

across a stream like the Kwai?



Yes, sir. Half a dozen of them

in Madras, Bengal.



If this were your bridge,

how would you get it underway?



Get it underway, sir?



First of all,

I wouldn't build it here.



- Why not?

- As I was trying to tell you, sir...



the Japanese couldn't have

picked a worse location.



There's no bottom.



You see those piles?



They're sinking.



Our chaps could drive those logs

till doomsday and they wouldn't hold.



Where would you build it?



Further downstream, sir,

across those narrows.



Then we'd have solid bedrock

on both banks.



Hughes, if this were your bridge,

how would you use the men?



Not the way they're doing it.

It's utter chaos, as you can see.



It's a lot of uncoordinated activity;

no teamwork.



Some parties are actually

working against each other.






I tell you, gentlemen,

we have a problem on our hands.



Thanks to the Japanese,

we now command a rabble.



There's no order, no discipline.



- Our task is to rebuild the battalion.

- Yes, sir.



It won't be easy,

but we have the means at hand.



- The bridge.

- ''The bridge,'' sir?



We can teach these barbarians a lesson

in Western methods and efficiency...



that will put them to shame.



We'll show them what the British

soldier is capable of doing.



Yes, I see your point, sir.



It's going to be difficult

in this godforsaken place...



where you can't find

what you need.



- But there's the challenge.

- I beg your pardon, sir.



You mean you really want them

to build a bridge?



You're not so usually slow

on the uptake, Evans.



I know our men.

You've got to keep them occupied.



If there weren't any work

for them to do, we'd invent some.



- That we would, sir.

- So we're lucky.



But it will be a proper bridge.



Here again, I know the men.



It's essential that they should

take pride in their job.



- Right, gentlemen?

- Yes, sir.



Reeves, you're the key man

in this situation as engineer.



Tell me what you want,

and Hughes and I will organize it.



- Can we make a go of it?

- We'll do our best, sir.






We must draw up our plans...



then arrange a conference

with Saito...



and set him straight.



I think that takes care

of all the procedural matters.



Now-- Oh, yes.



The next point is somewhat

unpleasant for all concerned.



We feel the position of the bridge

was fixed rather hastily...



and incorrectly.



Unfortunately, yes.



Major Reeves, our engineer,

has made a careful study of the site...



and has come to the conclusion

that the river bottom there is too soft.



Mud. All the work up to now

has been quite useless.



- Reeves, carry on.

- Yes, sir.



- Reeves, carry on.

- Yes, sir.



Colonel Saito, I've made tests.



Those piles of yours could be hammered

below water level before they'd hold.



That bridge would collapse

under the first train to cross it.



Look, it's all here.



These are the pressure

and soil resistance figures.



Just a moment, Reeves,

before you get too involved.



Colonel, can we have a cup of tea?



Then we all agree

that if we're to avoid disaster...



we build a new bridge at the site

selected by Major Reeves...



    yards downstream.



Let's proceed to the next point.



Let's proceed to the next point.



I've decided to alter

the daily work quota of our men.



- Alter?

- Yes, I've increased it...



from a yard and a half

of earth moved to two yards.



It's in the general interest,

and I was sure you would approve.



Major Hughes has all facts and figures.

Hughes, will you take over?



Major Hughes has all facts and figures.

Hughes, will you take over?



Yes, sir. I've done a time study

of the entire project.



As you can see, the available forces

have been badly distributed.



I would strongly urge we revise

the organization of the working parties.



Just a moment.



Colonel, it would save considerable time

if we could carry on during dinner.



Would it be possible

to have a meal served here?



Of course.



Carry on, Hughes.



If we increase the number of squads

and specialize the functions of each...



I'm certain the total daily output

can be increased by    percent.



Now, Colonel Saito,

I have one more point.



There's another important decision

that can't be postponed.



As most of the British soldiers

will be working on the bridge...



only a small number will be available

for railway work.



So I must ask you, Colonel Saito,

to lend us some of your own men...



to reinforce the railway gang...



so the final stretch of track

can be completed as quickly as possible.



I have already given the order.



We must fix the daily work quota

for your men.



I thought of setting it at a yard

and a half, not to overtire them...



but wouldn't it be best if we made it

the same as the British soldiers?



That would also create

a healthy competitive spirit.



I have already given the order.



- We'll try to surpass that, won't we?

- Yes, sir.



That completes the agenda

for this evening.



Thank you, Colonel Saito,

for your kind attention.



Are there any other questions?



One question.



Can you finish the bridge in time?



Frankly, the consensus of opinion

is that it's impossible...



but we'll certainly give it a go.



We mustn't forget

that we've wasted over a month...



through an unfortunate disagreement,

for which I was not to blame.



Is there anything else?



Thank you.



The meeting is closed.



Good night.



I hope these Japanese appreciate

what we're doing for them.



For the moment, I'm not concerned

with their appreciation.



Good night.



By the way, sir,

I meant to tell you...



there are trees in this forest

very similar to elm.



The elm piles of London Bridge

lasted     years.



- Six hundred years?

- Yes, sir.



That would be something.



Good morning. I'm looking

for an American named Commander Shears.



- Yes. Down on the beach.

- Thank you very much.






Too many eyes.



Too many eyes.



You give me powders, pills, baths,

injections, enemas...



when all I need is love.



It's true.

All you really need is love.



What makes you so sure

you'll get a medical discharge?



Because I'm a civilian at heart, lover,

and I always follow my heart.






How's that, Commander?



Don't call me Commander.

It's unromantic.



Look, you're an officer yourself.



How would you like it

if I called you Lieutenant Lover?



Let's be democratic.

Just call me sir.



Yes, sir.



Brass ahoy.



He wants to see you,

and he's all yours.



- I'm going for a swim.

- Don't leave me.



- Commander Shears?

- Yes.



My name's Warden.



- How do you do?

- I'm sorry to intrude.



That's okay, Major.

I'm used to it by now. Like a martini?



- That's very kind, but I think not.

- Mind if I have one?



- How did you manage to get that?

- This is a hospital, Major.



Where there's a hospital,

there's alcohol.



Of course. Jolly good.



I'll be as brief as possible.



I belong to a rather rum group

called Force    .



Our headquarters is up

in the botanical gardens.



Protecting rare plants

from the enemy?



Not quite.



- Are you sure you won't have a martini?

- No, thanks.



Among other things, we have a particular

interest in that railway you worked on.



You could give us no end

of very valuable information.



You know, Major, I'm leaving

for the States in a few days...



and I've already told your

intelligence people everything I know.



Yes, but you could help us

in a rather special sense.



I know it's a terrible imposition,

but could you come out and see us?



If you want to go over it again,

I'll come.



That's very kind of you.

Lord Louis will be most grateful.



- Lord who?

- Mountbatten.



- We're one of his special pigeons.

- I see.



Shall we say this evening then,

about  :  ? I'll send a car for you.



This evening?

Out of the question.



Tomorrow morning then,

about   :  ?



Thanks very much.




Good luck.






I know. You're terribly sorry,

but you're standing me up tonight



You couldn't be more wrong.



- May I see your pass, sir?

- Yes.



Carry on, driver.



Major Warden's bungalow

is at the end of the pathway, sir.



All right. Thanks.



Good show,Jenkins!



Come along, Thomson!

Use your knife, man!



On your feet, chaps.

To the debriefing room quickly. Move!



On your feet, chaps.

To the debriefing room quickly. Move!



Very clumsy, Joyce.



Always use your knife

immediately, Joyce.



You see?

He's gained the initiative.



Wait a minute.



- I'm terribly sorry, sir.

- You're sorry?



So am I, sir.

I thought you were the enemy, sir.



I'm an American,

if that's what you mean.



- That will be all.

- Yes, sir. Sorry, sir.



What can I do for you, sir?



- I was on my way to see Major Warden.

- Yes, I'll show you the way, sir.



He should be finishing his lecture

at any moment now.



- That's the end of his lecture, sir.

- Thunderous ovation.



The major believes in keeping training

as close to real life as possible, sir.



The major believes in keeping training

as close to real life as possible, sir.



- Major Warden, sir?

- Yes?



Very good of you to come along.

Have they been taking care of you?



- They certainly have.

- Thank you.



Come along then. Colonel Green

is looking forward to meeting you.



Fascinating place, isn't it?



Utterly charming. I didn't realize

it was a commando school.



We're discouraging

the use of that word.



It has such a melodramatic air.



- What do you do here?

- Sabotage, demolition.



We're using plastic explosives now.

It's wonderful stuff.



We're using plastic explosives now.

It's wonderful stuff.



That last little pop was made

with a lump half the size of this.



It's twice as powerful as gelignite

and only half the weight. Here.



It's quite harmless

until it's detonated.



Thanks for telling me.



It's completely waterproof

and actually plastic. See?



You can do what you like with it.



This is my place.



Go ahead.



I'm dying for a cup of tea.



- Would you care for one?

- No, thanks.



- A drink?

- No, thank you.



- A pot of tea for one, Peter.

- Very good, sir.



Do you read this?



I taught Oriental languages

at Cambridge before the war.



I never congratulated you

on your escape. It was a good show.



I was lucky. If your sea rescue plane

hadn't spotted me, I wouldn't be here.



I suppose not.



Would you like

to see where you were?



Would you like

to see where you were?



All right.



Our information's rather scanty.

It's mostly based on your report.



But we think the camp

is about here.



Do your intelligence people have any

idea what happened to Colonel Nicholson?



Do your intelligence people have any

idea what happened to Colonel Nicholson?



He had the guts of a maniac.



They were about to shoot him,

and he didn't bat an eye.



I suppose if you're about to be shot,

there isn't a great deal you can do.



Here is the River Kwai...



Here is the River Kwai...



and here is the Siamese village

where you were helped...



and here is the railway.



You must be fairly familiar

with all this area.



Not really.

I was out of my head half the time.



Now then, the railway starts

down here in Singapore.



Malaya, Bangkok, Rangoon.



Their idea is

to drive on through into India.



Where was I picked up?



About here.



As you know, the Japanese aim to open

the Bangkok-Rangoon section by mid-May.




we'll try to prevent them.




we'll try to prevent them.



It's too far for bombers

to carry an adequate load...



so we shall have to go in

and smash it up on the ground.



- How will you get there?

- Parachute drop and then march.



- With demolition equipment?

- Yes.



Our chief problem is lack

of firsthand knowledge.



None of us have ever been there.



- I don't want to discourage you, but--

- It should be interesting.



Colonel Green has given me

the Kwai bridge.



I'm taking a team in

and blow it up.



Lucky you.



- Are you sure you won't have tea?

- No, thanks.



I don't want to be rude, but I have

a luncheon date, and she's beautiful.



- So if there are any questions--

- Yes, of course. I am sorry.



There is only one question, actually.

How would you feel about going back?



Come again?



I know under the circumstances

it's a bit much...



but you do have a unique knowledge

for our purpose...



and we'd love to have you with us.



You mean to tell me

you brought me here to ask me this?



Frankly, yes.



Major, I just got out of there.

My escape was a miracle.



Now you want me to go back?

Don't be ridiculous.



- This is embarrassing.

- I can't go back!



I don't belong to you.

I belong to the American Navy.



Actually, Colonel Green has already

taken up the manner with your people.



- With my people?

- Yes, your navy turned you over to us.



A signal arrived yesterday morning

from your C in C Pacific...



authorizing your temporary

transfer of duty to Force     .



- They can't do this to me.

- I'm afraid they have.



It was difficult

to know how to break it to you.



They can't do this to me.



My navy's made a mistake.



Look, I'm not a navy commander.

I'm not even an officer.



Look, I'm not a navy commander.

I'm not even an officer.



The whole thing's a fake. I'm just

an ordinary swab jockey, second class.



When the Houston sunk,

I made it ashore with an officer.



Later, we ran into a Japanese patrol,

and he was killed.



I figured I would be captured, so--



So you changed uniforms

with a dead man.



So you changed uniforms

with a dead man.



I thought officers would get

better treatment in prison camps.



- Very sensible.

- Not that it did me any good.



At Saito's camp, the officers

worked along with the rest.



Yes, there's always the unexpected.



I got used to being a commander...



so when I arrived here

at the hospital...



I looked at the enlisted men's ward

and the officers' ward...



and I said to myself,

'' Let's let it ride along for awhile.''



There were certain

definite advantages.



Yes, I saw one on the beach.



Anyway, that's the whole story.



The point is that you can't use me.



You want an American commander named

Shears, and he doesn't exist.



When the Navy brass learns

the truth about me, they'll say...



''Ship him home in irons

for impersonating an officer!''



Once that happens,

I've got it made.



- Got it what?

- '' Made.''



- I'd like that drink now.

- Of course.



I'll apply for a medical discharge.



I'll say I impersonated an officer

because I went crazy in the jungle.



I'm getting worse, you know?



Sometimes I think

I'm Admiral Halsey.



That's a clever plan.



It's not only clever,

it's foolproof.



When my navy finds out who I am...



those temporary orders won't be worth

the paper they're written on.



Is this your photograph?



- Where did you get this?

- It took a bit of doing.



Naturally, your people couldn't

identify you at first.



But finally your C in C Pacific

sent us a copy of your service record:



the photograph, fingerprints.



It has everything.

Would you care to have a look?



We've known about your actual rank

for nearly a week.



Your navy's in an awkward position.



In one sense, you're a hero

for making an escape from the jungle.



In one sense, you're a hero

for making an escape from the jungle.



But they can't very well

bring you home...



and give you the Navy Cross

for impersonating an officer.



I suppose that's why they were happy

to hand you over to us.



- You see?

- Hot potato.



As far as your present rank

is concerned...



we're fairly informal

about those things in Force     .



So you'll have

a simulated rank of major.



A simulated major.

That figures.



As long as I'm hooked,

I might as well volunteer.



Good show.



Colonel Green,

this is Major Shears.



He has just volunteered to go back

and help me blow up the Kwai Bridge.






Good show.



Jolly good show, Major.



Get up to sick bay, Baker.

This foot's infected.



The colonel might think

I'm malingering, sir.



I'm the medical officer.

Get cracking.



Will someone tell me why the old man

wants us to build a proper bridge?



Don't worry about old Nick.

He knows what he's doing.



It's about time you paid a visit.



Fine job our chaps are doing.

Really first rate.



Yes. How's he behaving?



He's been most reasonable

since we took over.



- I wonder what he's thinking.

- I haven't the foggiest.



- Thanks, Reeves.

- Right, sir.



What do you think?



Quite a challenge, isn't it?



Sir, are you convinced

building this bridge is a good idea?



- Are you serious?

- Yes, sir.



''A good idea''?

Let's take another look.



You don't agree

the men's morale is high...



that discipline has been restored...



that their condition

has been improved?



- Aren't they a happier lot?

- Yes, sir, but--



They feel better, and they are

no longer abused or maltreated.



- That's all true.

- Well then?



Honestly, Clipton, there are times

when I don't understand you at all.



I'll try to make myself clear, sir.



The fact is, what we're doing

could be construed as...



collaboration with the enemy...



perhaps even as treasonable activity.



Are you all right?



We're prisoners of war.

We haven't the right to refuse work.



I understand that, sir,

but must we work so well?



I understand that, sir,

but must we work so well?



Must we build them a better bridge

than they could have built themselves?



If you had to operate on Saito,

would you do your best or let him die?



Would you prefer to see this battalion

disintegrate in idleness?



Would you have it said

that our chaps can't do a proper job?



Don't you realize how important it is

to show these people...



they can't break us

in body or in spirit?



Take a good look.



One day the war will be over.



I hope the people who use this bridge

in years to come...



will remember how it was built

and who built it.



Not a gang of slaves,

but soldiers.



- British soldiers even in captivity.

- Yes, sir.



You're a fine doctor, but you've a lot

to learn about the army.



Hold it!



Use your boot.

Get your boot in there.



Good morning.



What on Earth

are you people staring at?



Get on with your jobs!



Get him with your boot!



- I'm sorry I'm late, sir.

- Four minutes late, to be exact.



You were in need

of medical attention?



- Sir?

- I was referring to the nurse.



Yes, very ingenious.

Warden was right.



Sit down.



Now, the main reason

I asked you here today...



was to help us pick the fourth member

of your team.



- Ask Mr. Joyce to come in.

- Yes, sir.



Chapman here wants Joyce,

but I have my doubts about him.



I think he has too much imagination

as distinct from cold calculation.



As I've told you before, in a job

like yours, even when it's finished...



there's always one more thing to do.



He's the best swimmer in the school,

sir, and we'll need a good swimmer.



Yes, I'm well aware of your evaluation,

Chapman. I want Shears' opinion.



All right, at ease.



These gentlemen are thinking of taking

you for a little hike into the jungle.



Yes, sir.



You were an accountant in Montreal?



Yes, sir. Not really an accountant, sir.

That is, I didn't have my charter.



Exactly what did you do then?



Sir, I just checked columns and columns

of figures...



which three or four people

had checked before me...



and then other people checked them

after I had checked them.



Sounds a frightful bore.



Sir, it was a frightful bore.



How did you wind up here?



Sir, in '   I came over to London

to enlist...



and about two years later,

I volunteered for this work.



- You volunteered?

- Yes, sir. You see, the regular army--



Go ahead. You can be frank.



Sir, the regular army sort of

reminded me of my job in civilian life.



They don't expect you to think.



Think about this.



Are you quite sure

you'd be able to use it in cold blood?



I know how to use it, sir.



That's not what I meant.



Could you use it in cold blood?



Could you kill without hesitation?



That's a question

I've often asked myself, sir.



It's worried me quite a bit.



What was the answer?



I don't honestly know, sir.



I've tried to imagine myself--



I suppose I find it hard to kid myself

that killing isn't a crime.



It's an old army problem.



I think that's all.

Thank you, Joyce.



- Am I to go with the team, sir?

- We'll let you know.



Now you see what I mean?



At least he was honest about it, sir.



None of us ever knows the answer to

that question until the moment arises.



What's your opinion, Shears?



He's Canadian.



That's in keeping with the international

composition of this outfit.



If he wants to go that bad,

he can even take my place.



If you're all agreed on Joyce,

he's yours.



Now then, I've had a report from

air reconnaissance on that village.



There's sufficient clearing

to make your jump at last light.



- You've had parachute training?

- No, sir.



Blast. This is awkward.



Silly, it never occurred to me.



- In that case, maybe--

- Yes, he's right.



We'd better arrange some practice jumps

for him immediately.



I'll pop over and check with Freddy

right away.



All right, Chapman.

You can run along.



Yes, sir.



- Feel like a sniff of air?

- Yes, sir.



You don't realize

what a plum you are for us.



Your knowledge of the area,

your making friends in that village.



It's almost as if your whole escape

had been planned with us in mind.



By the way, here's something

that will interest you: the new L pill.



- '' L pill''?

- L for lethal; instantaneous, painless.



Much better than the old ones.

For capture of course.



In other words,

you're telling me not to be taken alive.



I wouldn't recommend it.



You see, if any of you get hurt

or wounded on the trek...



the others will have

to leave him behind.



The objective comes first

in our work.



Colonel, you want my honest evaluation

of this team?



I didn't want to speak out

in front of the others.



I understand. Go ahead.



Chapman will be fine.

Ice water in his veins.



Joyce is-- He'll be okay.



- It's Warden I don't get.

- Why not?



Cambridge don and all that.



It's one thing to play with explosives

like a kid with firecrackers, but--



He's not without experience.



When we lost Singapore, he stayed behind

and blew up a couple of bridges...



one or two trains and I don't know

how many other installations...



before the Japs caught him.



- ''Caught him''?

- Yes. Fascinating story.



Sir, it's most annoying.



They say,

in view of the time element...



they don't think a few practice jumps

would be worthwhile.



They say if you make one jump,

you've only got   % chance of injury...



two jumps,   % and three jumps,

you're bound to catch a backache.



The consensus is that the most sensible

thing for Major Shears to do...



is to go ahead and jump

and hope for the best.



With or without parachute?



Very good, old man.



''With or without--''



He's in the trees.



Yai says we'll never reach the Kwai

by the route you took.



There are too many

Japanese patrols now.



We'll have to swing north

through heavy jungle.



We'll have to swing north

through heavy jungle.



- Who's leading?

- Yai himself.



He hates the Japanese. They've taken

all his men for railroad work...



which means we shall have

to use women bearers.



- Women bearers.

- They're very capable, I'm told.



- Women bearers.

- They're very capable, I'm told.



He says it's dangerous

to spend the night in the village.



There's an enemy post

about three miles away...



so we shall have to sleep

in the jungle.



- What about Chapman, sir?

- Yai's people will bury him...



and his chute.



Is there something wrong?



I was just thinking.



You speak Yai's language,

I don't.



He's leading you back

to the river Kwai himself...



by a route I never took.



Will someone tell me why

I'm so indispensable to this outfit?



I know how you feel,

but there's always the unexpected.



Tell that to Chapman.



Let's get cracking.



Go ahead.



You're lovely.



Be happy in your work.



Yes, sir.






She's telling you to hold still.

She wants to take the leeches off you.



What's a nice girl like you

doing in a place like this?



I'll teach you to say that in Siamese,

if you like.



That would spoil it.



Too much talk always spoils it.



- What's wrong with that thing, Joyce?

- I don't know, sir.



It's taken a beating.

I can't get a strong signal.



I'll tell you what's wrong with it.



It's wet, mildewed,

corroded, rotten...



like everything else

in this rotten jungle.



You might as well dump it.



This is Radio Tokyo signing off.



This is your friendliest enemy...



reminding you to take it easy...



and never volunteer for anything.



If we stay here much longer,

we'll be up to our necks.



- I have it all decoded, sir.

- Right. Read it.



Yes, sir. ''One: Original bridge works

reported abandoned.



New construction downstream

from first site.



Two: Enemy intends to open railway...



with passage of special train,

Bangkok for Rangoon...



with troops and VI P...



estimated to arrive target

morning    th.



Three: You should synchronize demolition

with passage this train.



Four: Good hunting. Have fun.''

That's all, sir.



A train and a bridge

would be something.



Yes, sir, that would really be a show.

Can we get there in time, sir?



Yai says we're two to three days' march

from the Kwai.



If we set a faster pace, we could

make it before sundown on the   th.



It's worth having a go for the train,

don't you think?



By all means.



Good hunting. Good show.



Jolly good fun.



If you hadn't fixed the radio,

we wouldn't know about the train.



There's always the unexpected,

isn't there?






- Half a pint, sir.

- Quinine.



We'll complete this later.



- Clipton, we're facing a crisis.

- Yes, sir?



I've spoken with Reeves and Hughes,

and we won't finish the bridge on time.



We just haven't the manpower.



I've asked the officers to help and

they've agreed, but that won't do it.



The officers are working

on the bridge?



Yes. I explained the situation, and

they volunteered, but it's not enough.



- Ask Saito for some of his men.

- Wouldn't dream of it.



This is our show.

We must use our own resources.



I came to talk to you

about the sick list.



Sir, there's not a man in this hospital

who doesn't belong there.



Don't jump to conclusions.



No reflection on you, but there are

always a few malingerers.



Be honest.

Keep an open mind is all I ask.



Come along. Let's see.



Don't move.



What's the matter with Haskins?



He has amebic dysentery

and blackwater fever.



- His temperature was      last night.

- Right, I see.



- And this man?

- Leg ulcers.



I may be able to save the leg

if I do some more cutting tonight.



Do you really want

to send him out to work, sir?



Don't talk rot.



- And that man there?

- His arm's infected.



Most of them are so run-down,

their wounds won't heal properly.



Yes, but I wonder if fresh air

and light duties...



might do him more good

than being cooped up here.



It's not our policy

to keep a man in the hospital...



just because

he scratched his arm, is it?



- '' Not our policy''?

- Is it?



A man may not be on the top of his form,

but he can still make himself useful...



trimming and finishing jobs.



Stand easy, Baker.



Tell me, do you feel up to doing

a little light work on the bridge?



- Anything you say, sir.

- Good show.



What about you?

Nothing difficult.



- I'll try, sir.

- Good man.



Look here, men.



It goes without saying,

I'm proud of all of you...



but we are facing a crisis.



For those who feel up to it,

how about lending the others a hand?



Fetch and carry.

A spot of paint here and there.



What do you say?



- Yes, sir.

- Good show. Follow me.



Ten minutes.



Make sure they're all dead.



Come on, Joyce.



Use your knife, man,

or we'll be shooting each other.



Go that way.



I could have done it.

I was ready.



Are you hit, sir?



Let's go.



It's superficial.

There's nothing broken.



- It's my fault, sir.

- Shut up, Joyce.



I can walk on it.

That's all that counts now.



- Yeah, but how far and how fast?

- We won't know till I try.



What are you doing?



I didn't give orders for a halt.



We all need it.



We're still five hours fast march

from the objective.



Maybe six. Come on.



You keep walking on that foot,

you'll bleed to death.






- You're going to leave me here.

- If you stop, we stop.



You can't study the layout

of the bridge after dark.



You've got to get there

before sundown.



Sir, when the job's done, who knows

if we can return by this route...



or whether we could find you

if we did.



If you were in my shoes, you know

I wouldn't hesitate to leave you here.



He doesn't know it, but I do.



You'd leave your own mother here

if the rules called for it.



You'll go on without me.

That's an order.



You're in command, Shears.



I won't obey that order.



You make me sick with your heroics.

There's a stench of death about you.



You carry it in your pack

like the plague.



Explosives and L pills

go well together.



With you,

it's just one thing or the other:



destroy a bridge

or destroy yourself.



This war is just a game.



You and that Colonel Nicholson

are two of a kind.



Crazy with courage!

For what?



How to die like a gentleman.

How to die by the rules.



The only important thing

is how to live like a human being!



I'm not gonna leave you here

to die, Warden...



because I don't care

about your bridge and your rules.



If we go on, we go on together.



Good old Yai.



I'm all right.



Come on.



Let's get closer.



Still sorry we brought you along?



- Feeling better?

- Yeah.



You're in command again.



Thank you, Major.



I can't understand it.



It's such a solid,

well-designed job.



Not like the temporary bridges

the enemy usually throws together.






Those poor devils down there.



Imagine being forced

to build something like that...



in the condition they must be in.



They've got a British officer

working down there on his knees.



The Japanese seem to be enjoying it.



If he knew we were here,

it might boost his morale a little.



If it wasn't for the train,

we could set a time fuse and leave.



If it wasn't for the train,

we could set a time fuse and leave.



But since we don't know what time

it will cross tomorrow morning...



we'll have to do the job manually.



We'll set the charges

against the piles...



about three feet under the water,

I should think...



and run the main wire downstream

to the plunger.



The problem is

where to hide it.



Our side of the river is quite

obviously used by the Japanese.



They'd spot it at once.




You see those fallen tree trunks...



and the gray rock just below them

on that little beach?



Yes, sir, I see them.



That's our key position.



It's on the wrong side

of the river...



but it's the only hiding place

within feasible distance.



As soon as the bridge goes up...



whoever's there

will have to swim back.



It's not likely

to be a pleasant swim.



Sir, I was the best swimmer

in my course.






- It looks like your line of country.

- Thank you, sir.



Shears, pick a spot on our side

of the bank where you can cover Joyce.



Yai will be with you, so you two

should be able to occupy the Nips...



if they make any trouble for Joyce.



On the theory that there's always

one more thing to do...



I'll set up the mortar here to create

an additional diversion if necessary.



I might even take a few potshots

at the train.



All clear?



Any questions? Right.

We'll start as soon as it's dark.



They're sure to have sentries

on the bridge...



so you'll have to

float the stuff down...



from upriver...



which means building a raft.



Yai will take three women

to help you build the raft.



One will stay here with me.

Get cracking.



If it wasn't for my ankle,

I'd take Joyce's assignment.



I know.



Do you think he'll be all right?



I think so.

Want me to handle it?



I'd let you stay up here

with the mortar if I could.



- I know.

- I'm sorry.



When it's over,

I hope you get that medical discharge...



and not the hard way.









- Beautiful.

- Yes, beautiful.



A first-rate job.



I had no idea

it would turn out so well.



Yes, a beautiful creation.



I've been thinking.



Tomorrow it will be    years to the day

that I've been in the service.



Twenty-eight years in peace and war.



I don't suppose I've been at home more

than ten months in all that time.



Still, it's been a good life.



I love India.



I wouldn't have had it

any other way.



But there are times...



when suddenly you realize you're

nearer the end than the beginning.



You wonder...



you ask yourself...



what the sum total

of your life represents...



what difference your being there

at any time made to anything...



or if it made any difference

at all really.



Particularly in comparison

with other men's careers.



I don't know whether that kind

of thinking is very healthy...



but I must admit I've had some thoughts

along those lines...



from time to time.



But tonight--






I must be off.



The men are preparing

some sort of entertainment.






If you were the only



Girl in the world



And you were the only boy



Nothing else would matter



In the world today



We could go on loving



In the same old way



A garden of Eden



Just made for two



I'm sure I speak for all of us

when I say...



this has been

an enjoyable evening.



Most of you move on tomorrow

to a new camp and new construction.



It's a pity you won't be here to see

the first practical use of the bridge.




you'll be glad to know...



the completion of this link

in the railway...



will enable us to transport

the sick and the disabled...



to the new camp by train.



Colonel Saito

has kindly permitted me...



to stay behind with Major Clipton

and the sick men...



and we'll rejoin you

in a few days' time.



Now that your work here

is finished...



Now that your work here

is finished...



I suppose many of you

feel somewhat let down.



That's quite understandable.



It's a very natural reaction.



But one day,

in a week, a month, a year...



or that day when, God willing,

we all return to our homes again...



you're going to feel very proud...



of what you have achieved here...



in the face of great adversity.



What you have done

should be...



and I think will be...



an example

to all our countrymen...



soldier and civilian alike.



You have survived with honor.



That and more...



here in the wilderness.



You have turned defeat

into victory.



I congratulate you.

Well done.



The King.



You're in business.



You got everything? Stand,

ammunition, pack, canteen, knife?






I'll be directly across the river.



The professor says there's

always one more thing to do...



but I can't think

of what it could be...



except to wish you

a long and happy life.



Thank you.



What's happened?



The river's gone down.



You can see the wire.



The charges.



Don't wait for the train.



Do it now.



If Saito's information is correct...



the train should be along

in five or ten minutes.



If you don't mind, sir, I'll watch

the ceremonies from up on the hill.



Why? You'll get a better view

from the bridge.



It's hard to explain, sir,

but I'd rather not be a part of it.



As you please.



Honestly, sometimes I don't

understand you at all.



As you once said, sir,

I have a lot to learn about the army.



Good morning.



River's gone down in the night.



What's he doing?




there's something rather odd going on.



I think we'd better have another look

around before that train comes across.



He's gone mad.



He's leading him right to it.



Our own man.



I was right.

There is something going on.



You have to do it, boy.



You have to do it now!



Colonel Saito,

have you a knife?



I just realized

the bridge has been mined.



'' Mined''?



'' Mined''?



Good boy.



British officer, sir,

here to blow up the bridge.



- Blow up the bridge?

- Yes, sir.



British commando orders, sir.



Look out.

There's no time.






Kill him!



Let me go, sir.

You don't understand, sir.



Kill him!









What have I done?






I had to do it.



They might have been captured alive.



It was the only thing to do!




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