The Bridge On the River Kwai is about an Allied POW camp under the control of Japan in World War II. The prisoners are asked to build a bridge over the river Kwai so that the Japanese can use it to transport war needs back and forth over the river. Initially the Allied troops are against the idea but Colonel Nicholson, played by Alec Guinness, speaks up and appeals to their sensibilities and British men and convinces then soldiers that the best way to go about this task is to complete it as organized and effectively as possible to show themselves, and their Japanese captors, that they cannot break the will of the British soldiers. This initially goes over very well and the British soldiers buy into it and hail Nicholson as a hero. But after a while it becomes apparent that Nicholson sees the bridge as more of his accomplishment and a monument to him and it is even feared that he is voluntarily cooperating with the enemy as well. In the end some of the Allied POWs decide that the bridge needs to be destroyed while at the same time outside Allied forces have already started to act on that same idea.
The Bridge On The River Kwai was a huge financial and critical success and did more for the careers of many of those involved in it than almost any other project they were part of. To think that the movie almost didn’t make it to release as it was discovered that the ending of the movie had not been shipped back to the studio after filming and a frantic search was begun to find the irreplaceable rolls of film. They were found on the runway of an Egyptian airport and the movie went on to make motion picture history.