British prisoners arrive to the construction site of bridge that will help the Japanese transport their troops to Burma. Their slave work will help enemy, but at the same time the sabotage will mean death.
During World War 2 Japanese army is trying to build the Burma Railway - the line that would allow them to transport their forces quickly from Bangkok to Burma, where they were trying to overpower the British forces. Of course they did not actually build it themselves, they used local civilians and prisoners of war as slave workers. On one of the parts of the railway Colonel Saito is running a unit where Allied soldiers are forced to build the line, but also he has to build the bridge over a River Kwai. Since slave workers die fast from weakness, diseases and malnutrition new unit of British prisoners is sent to reinforce the work on the bridge. British commander, Colonel Nicholson, is a man of principles and point blank refuses to let his officers do the manual labour. Colonel Saito does not care for Geneva Conventions and locks Nicholson in "the oven", solitary box, until he will change his mind. The battle of characters begins...
Classic war movie presenting the true story of construction of the Burma Railway in 1942 and 1943, later known as the Death Railway for the number of slave workers who died during the construction. Although the Burma Railway was true and the conditions in which the workers had to live were true, the events depicted in the movie are fiction only loosely based on true events. The plot is interesting, although the clash between Nicholson and Saito seems a bit fairy-tale like comparing to memories of the veterans of war on Pacific, where Japanese officers were seldom civilized and prefered death as penalty, not locking people up. It is moving story, but fictious.
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