The Bridge on the River Kwai

1957 PG 2h 41m Blu-ray / DVD

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The Bridge on the River Kwai

1957 PG 2h 41m Blu-ray / DVD
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  • Details
Director David Lean's sweeping epic -- best known for a whistling work theme that became legendary -- is set in a World War II Japanese prison camp, where British prisoners are forced to build a railway bridge as a morale-building exercise.
Blu-ray DVD
Widescreen 2.35:1
French, Korean, English, Portuguese, Chinese Simplified, Spanish (Neutral), Thai
English: Dolby Digital 5.1, French: Dolby Digital Mono, Spanish (Neutral): Dolby Digital Mono, English: Dolby Digital Mono
Widescreen 2.35:1
Spanish (Neutral), Thai, French, Korean, English, Portuguese, Chinese Simplified
English: Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish (Neutral): Dolby Digital 5.1, French: Dolby Digital 5.1
PG - Some material may not be suitable for children. Parents urged to give parental guidance. May contain some material parents might not like for their young children.
age 11+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 11+
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age 11+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that students assigned to read the Pierre Boulle novel in school might try to watch this film instead. (Come on, it's a short book, no cheating!) That aside, there's ample wartime violence in this movie, with characters stabbed or shot to death, and the body count of the main characters is tragically high in the end. The now-taboo, once-common term "Japs" is used to refer to Japanese. Unrated on its original release, the restored version carries a PG.

Sexual Content

Some flirting with sarong-clad Siamese girls and western ladies in demure one-piece bathing suits. During a POW camp entertainment, men cross-dress as women (which was very routine in such circumstances).


Soldiers are stabbed at close range (and shot to death, generally at long range), with explosions near the end and a high casualty list.


Not applicable

Social Behavior

There is nobility in most of the characters -- too much so, one can even argue, since it twists their loyalties and dedication, as Nicholson is so devoted to rigid ideals of military loyalty, discipline, and obedience he practically ends up working for his country's enemy. Another officer kills his own men rather than risk the likelihood of their being captured. The American soldier Shears, though a rogue and an impersonator, seems to be one protagonist who can see most clearly through the absurdity and the horror. It's mostly a male-oriented show, except for some Siamese girl freedom fighters on the margins. "Japs" is used to refer to Japanese, as it was in a derogatory way back then.


None, though there is a book tie-in.

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Social drinking, and soldierly smoking.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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