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.
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.
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 /
Social drinking, and soldierly smoking.