I tell you, gentlemen, we have a problem on our hands. Thanks to the Japanese, we now command a rabble. There's no order, no discipline. Our task is to rebuild the battalion. It isn't going to be easy, but fortunately, we have the means at hand, the bridge...We can teach these barbarians a lesson in Western methods and efficiency that will put them to shame. We'll show them what the British soldier is capable of doing...It's going to be a proper bridge. Now here again, I know the men. It's essential that they should take a pride in their job.
One day the war will be over. And I hope that the people that use this bridge in years to come will remember how it was built and who built it. Not a gang of slaves, but soldiers, British soldiers, Clipton, even in captivity.
It is quite understandable. It's a very natural reaction. But one day, in a week, a month, a year, on that day when God willing, we all return to our homes again, you're going to feel very proud of what you have achieved here in the face of great adversity. What you have done, should be, and I think will be, an example to all our countrymen, soldier and civilian alike. You have survived with honor, that and more, here in the wilderness. You have turned defeat into victory. I congratulate you. Well done.
Colonel Saito. Have you a knife? I just realized. The bridge has been mined.
What have I done?
Here lies Corporal Herbert Thompson, serial number 01234567, valiant member of the King's own, and Queen's own, or something, who died of beriberi in the year of our Lord 1943. For the greater glory of...what did he die for?...I don't mock the grave or the man. May he rest in peace. He found little enough of it while he was alive.
Mostly Aussies, some Lime, some British, Indians, Burmese, Siamese...They died, of malaria, dysentery, beriberi, gangrene. Other causes of death: famine, overwork, bullet wounds, snake bites, Saito. And then there were some who just got tired of living.
Don't bother about me, Colonel. I'm not anxious to get off the sick list.
I can think of a lot of things to call Saito, but reasonable, that's a new one.
You give me powders, pills, baths, injections, enemas - when all I need is love.
He had the guts of a maniac. They were about to shoot him and he didn't bat an eye.
No you don't understand! He's got the kind of guts that could get us all killed.
I am Colonel Saito. In the name of his Imperial Majesty, I welcome you. I am the commanding officer of this camp which is Camp 16 along the great railroad which will soon connect Bangkok with Rangoon. You British prisoners have been chosen to build a bridge across the River Kwai. It will be pleasant work requiring skill. And officers will work as well as men. The Japanese Army cannot have idle mouths to feed. If you work hard, you will be treated well. But if you do not work hard, you will be punished. A word to you about escape. There is no barbed wire, no stockade, no watchtower. They are not necessary. We are an island in the jungle. Escape is impossible. You would die. Today you rest. Tomorrow you begin. Let me remind you of General's...motto:... 'Be happy in your work.' Dismissed.
All men will work. Your officers will work beside you. This is only just. For it is they who betray you by surrender. Your shame is their dishonor. It is they who told you: 'Better to live like a coolie than die like a hero.' It is they who brought you here, not I. Therefore, they will join you in useful labor. That is all.
You and your officers may return to your quarters. As part of this amnesty, it will not be necessary for officers to do manual labor.
Colonel Saito. I've seen and heard everything. So has every man in the hospital. There are too many witnesses. You'll never get away with calling it a mass escape. Most of those men can't walk...Is this your soldier's code? Murdering unarmed men?
Are they both mad or am I going mad? Or is it the sun?
The fact is, what we're doing could be construed as, forgive me sir, collaboration with the enemy. Perhaps even as treasonable activity...Must we work so well. Must we build them a better bridge than they could have built for themselves?
I can't understand it. It's such a solid, well-designed job. Not like the temporary bridges the enemy usually throws together.
I had to do it. I had to do it. They might have been captured alive. It was the only thing to do.
One: Original bridgeworks reported abandoned. New construction downstream from first site. Two: Enemy intends to open railway with passage of special train, Bangkok to Rangoon with troops and VIP estimated to arrive target, AM, 13th. Three: You should synchronize demolition with pass of this train. Four: Good hunting. Have fun.