Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
In March 1958, The Bridge on the River Kwai swept seven Academy Awards including the award for Best Picture. The movie, explores the lives of British prisoners of war being held at a Japanese prison camp in Burma, was filmed in Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon) near the town of Kitulgala, which is known for its rainforests, adventure sports and activities. The movie was based on the 1952 novel by Pierre Boulle.
The filming location for Bridge on the River Kwai is today indicated by a discreet, rusted piece of metal on which directions to the area have been painted. Discover this hidden gem set away from the crowds. The bridge that was used to shoot the movie in 1956 and 1957, currently no longer exists. It was dismantled once filming had concluded in order to protect the ecology of the surrounding environment.
David Lean (the director of the movie) is said to have nearly drowned when the river swept him away during a break from filming. David Lean bought an old railway engine (Class K1 No. 104) and some old discarded carriages from the railway department.
The filming of the bridge explosion took place on the 10 of March in 1957, in the presence of the then Prime Minister of Ceylon, S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike and government dignitaries. However, cameraman Freddy Ford was unable to get out of the way of the explosion in time, and Lean had to stop filming. The train crashed into a generator on the other side of the bridge and was wrecked. It was repaired and blown up a few days later.
Tourism and Season to Visit
Visit Kitulgala during the peak season of January to March. The climate is cooler and with less rainfall; it’s the ideal time to partake in a variety of water sports in the area.