ActionDramaReviewsWarThe Bridge on the River Kwai: 4k Review

After settling his differences with a Japanese P.O.W. camp commander, a British Colonel co-operates to oversee his men's construction of a railway bridge for their captors, while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it.
4K Disc Released
October, 2017
HDR10 | Dolby Vision
Sound MIx
Dolby Digital | SDDS (8 channels) | Dolby | SDDS | DTS
Aspect Ratio
2.39 : 1
IMDB Rating
Overall Score
Rating Overview
4K Picture
Audio Quality
Special Features
Rating Summary
The Bridge on the River Kwai was magnificent with how the characters performed close to perfection. Even though it could not keep up to the standards of maintaining the rivalry with the clarity of modern-day productions, the movie's 4k Ultra HD Blu-ray has the color contrast, is electrifying, sufficiently detailed and can outdo the previous Blu-ray with ease and most of the 35mm visuals that exist.

The Bridge on the River Kwai got released in the year 1957 in both the United Kingdom and the United States. It was distributed by Columbia Pictures, a British American extraordinary war film which was directed by David Lean and produced by Sam Spiegel. The screenplay was done by Carl Foreman at first and was later replaced by Michael Wilson. This entire movie was based on Pierre Boulle’s novel “Le Pont de la Riviere Kwai” (1952). The movie was staged on the historical construction of the Burma Railway during late 1942’s and early 1943’s. Even though the budgeted amount was approximately $3 Million ($2.8 Million to be more precise) but the movie earned over $30 Million during their initial release in terms of the box office. The movie made a positive image on the box office and was extensively credited, rewarding them with 7 Academy Awards at the “30th Academy Awards.”

The Bridge on the River Kwai bagging seven awards lifts the heights by being significantly magnificent, David Lean ending the as the year “Best Director.”

Movie Review:

The movie was considered cultural, factual and attractively consequential and essential and was chosen by the United States Library of Congress as the “National Film Registry.” In the year 1999, this was also included among the best American movies of all time and was voted as the 11th greatest British movie by the British Film Institute of the 20th Century. David Lean’s epic World War II adventure, “The Bridge on the River Kwai” basically talked about how Allied Commandos were assigned to demolish the important bridge which was built in the enemy occupied Burma by the British prisoners of war. It continues as one of the most unforgettable pictorial incidents of all time. Even “Colonel Bogey March,” the theme song became a massive sellout, a box office success during that time.

The film’s main cast stars Alec Guinness, William Holden, Jack Hawkins, Sessue Hayakawa, and everyone else among the crew members made sure they pulled off a brilliant performance and did whatever it took for them to make the movie unique and inimitable.


Story Line (Reviewer’s Take):

“The Bridge on the River Kwai” is about the World War II English prisoners of war building a vital bridge under unfavorable circumstances which had to encounter a group of allied commandos who were sent to blow it up. Adding more to these two points of views, Kwai has two substantial differentiated curves. In other words, the movie’s first part is an hour long, whereas, on the other hand, the second and third part covers the rest. It is a part thriller/action movie and part character drama. The first hour talks about the battle between Colonel Nicholson (English) [Alec Guinness] and Colonel Saito (Japanese) [Sessu Hayakawa] who was also the Japanese POW. The initial demands of Saito were simple, only just that the English officers would take part in terms of working for the construction of the bridge. Later on, it can be seen that Nicholson declines the proposal. This results in leading Saito locking Nicholson inside a boiling tin box which was kept under the sun. This prevented Nicholson from having access to food, water, even stretching legs and arms with the temperature rising. Upon reaching the climax, the movie puts the limelight on two of the important lead: Nicholson and Commander Shears (William Holden), the offender who as well as the British Commandos who were there with him dragged themselves into the relentless jungle with dynamites and other devices. Well, the movie stood up fantastically with such an iconic stature. The 2017 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray was astonishing. Lean clearly understands how to join great drama and filmmaking with casual jest to keep every minute of the movie firm and soothing. However, the only real flaw that I observed was a technological constraint of time.

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray:

The Bridge on the River Kwai-4K Ultra HD Blu-ray by Sony was released in 2017 as a segment of a two disc 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray+ Blu-ray+ Digital HD copy combo pack. It was fully rehabilitated and introduced with High Dynamic Range (HDR) that includes a broader color space and Dolby Atmos Audio. Additionally, the main menu is configured identically to other Sony 4K titles, but there is no sign of a pre-menu trailer.

Picture Quality: (3 Stars out of 5)

The movie premieres on 4K UHD Blu-ray highlighting an HEVC encode frame in the movie’s actual 2.55:1 aspect ratio and the introduction of a new HDR10 was seen. I actually feel that Kwai has never presented itself better than this comparatively. The overall demonstration is magnificent and is comparatively better than the 2011 Blu-ray. Better image detail is provided both in short and long distances, better color contrast and is perceptibly sharper. The color contrast is the most detectable improvement. While talking about the HDR10 grading, many new details were not provided, nor did anything new camouflage in the shadows. However, it can be suggested that 4K Blu-ray and 4K HDR visuals are merciful up to a smaller extent when it comes to source material problems than the old HD/SDR days. Concluding, due to diverse restrictions in how previous movies were shot, they fail to match the standards of modern action or CGI animated movies. This movie during their production seemed to face technical issues such as a bad lens or even other such problems as lack of instruments were used to dissolve during scene transitions. There are plenty of times when Kwai looked extra awful because you end up losing color as well and not just resolution during specific errors. In the end, I still feel “The Bridge on the River Kwai” was a brilliant demonstration with 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray’s format. Even with such flaws, I would still reckon on considering the best this movie has ever looked. It’s not also possible to find a 35mm image this polished, informative, vibrant and colorful. The color contrast and sharpness will be detectable at a comparatively smaller size.

Audio Quality: (3.2 Stars out of 5)

The movie brings in extreme chaos to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, as suggested with the latest Dolby Atmos track (7.1 TrueHD compatible) that produces an immersive adventure which shows the sound effects and tune even after not possessing the sonics or dynamic range of recent Atmos mix. It is understandable if the perfectionists do not fancy a Dolby Atmos mix on a movie which was produced a long time back, but it works pretty well for someone is adaptable. However, just the imperfect image details, this movie goes through dynamic range constraints in the original in terms of the actual recordings making speeches of characters sound seem compact and thin. Even the background noise such as the train whistles and gunshots are not clear. Regardless of the cons, the Atmos mix helps the movie create a balance which enables dialogues to be clearer comparatively. There’s also a proper sensation of motion everywhere with actions taking place from side to side.

In contrast to the Dolby Atmos mix with the 5.1 DTS-HD MA version from 2011, the Dolby Atmos mix lifts the standards and brings the tune filled with more energy attaching breath, freedom, and immersion even though the tunes sound similar while utilizing and producing sound-waves. Concluding, the major thing about this mix is that your speakers are untraceable whereas the 5.1 mix detects the location of your device. In just plain words, just like the visual improvement, this movie has never sounded any better.


Special Features: (3.8 Stars out of 5)

This movie appears onto 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with just one additional feature which is a standard definition special attribute. It can be suggested that most of the special features which are added to this special 4K Blu-ray addition already exists on the two-disc DVD copy of “The Bridge on the River Kwai” which was introduced to the box office in the year 2000. Even though others might feel indifferent about this, this does not necessarily have to be bad. It still remains a pretty extensive bundle of documentaries and factual and documented footage. The only thing which is eye-catching is the absence of the Isolated Film Score and DVD Rom substances from Disc 1. The only special feature which was detectable was the “Steve Allen Show” which featured Guinness and Holden. It was a 7 minute staged interview session between TV host Steve Allen with Guinness and Holden during the shot of the movie. A heads up, if you are yet to watch the film, avoid this interview due to the disclosure of significant plot information.


Final Verdict:

The Bridge on the River Kwai was magnificent with how the characters performed close to perfection. Even though it could not keep up to the standards of maintaining the rivalry with the clarity of modern-day productions, the movie’s 4k Ultra HD Blu-ray has the color contrast, is electrifying, sufficiently detailed and can outdo the previous Blu-ray with ease and most of the 35mm visuals that exist. Adding more to that, the Dolby Atmos mix is a treat to the ears, helping the movie reach indefinite heights. Even though the film will not look as good on a projector with HDR potential, or other improved devices due to the film being produced a long time back, I still feel this is the best-looking improvement of “The Bridge on the River Kwai” you would see or hear about if you still have not watched it.