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The Theme of Madness in The Bridge On The River Kwai The Bridge On The River Kwai 1957 was the most successful war film of the 1950s The film focuses on several battles both an internal and external It examines the question of where does duty and courage end and madness begin The character of the British Colonel Nicholson played by Alec Guiness is from the very start of the movie in a battle of ethics with Colonel Saito played by Sessue Hayakawa the commandant of the Japanese prison camp where Nicholson and his men are being held prisoners Colonel Satio has to choose between his own death and his honour The battle Shears played by William Holden faces is an internal one He questions his beliefs and morals an in the end makes an important choice as to his worth and duty The work that is to be done is to build a bridge across the Kwai River for the railroad connecting Bangkok to Rangoon The Japanese government had ordered Saito to build this bridge using the prisoners in his camp When construction becomes less and less productive Nicholson asks permission to take over supervision of the bridge to make it a tribute to British resourcefulness and efficiency With an ensuing deadline Saito gives in and even allows Nicholson to have Japanese military men work on the bridge Nicholson becomes so obsessed with building the bridge and the establishment of order and military command that he fails to realize that by making such a good bridge and by working his men as hard as he does that he is collaborating with the enemy The fact is what were doing could be construed as forgive me sir collaboration with the enemy Perhaps even as treasonable activityMust we work so well Must we build them a better bridge than they could have built for themselves Nicholson on the other hand knew that it
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