The Bridge on the River Kwai

Factual error: When William Holden visits the Special Operations HQ for the first time a black vehicle is seen pulling in to the complex. The car is a 1948 Dodge or other Chrysler product which had not yet been manufactured.

Factual error: The opening credits incorrectly list Alec's last name as "Guiness." It's "Guinness." [This is only in certain prints of the film. In other prints, his name is spelled correctly.]


Revealing mistake: When the bridge blows up, there are explosions on the bridge deck itself, but the charges were only set on the pillars below.

Jacob La Cour

Continuity mistake: The commandos are in the river, at night and they are setting the charges on the bridge, the variety show is going on at the same time. Between the British soldiers heads and the roof of the auditorium, the Japanese soldiers are standing in bright sunlight.

Other mistake: In the scene in the office with Jack Hawkins and William Holden, where William Holden is arm twisted into going back to the bridge, the oscillating fan, which is on and oscillating, has no blades, plus there is no breeze in the office. You can see the complete motor, plus the drive spindle, where the fan blade should be attached. It dominates the scene, along with the two actors.

Revealing mistake: The team going to mine the bridge waits until after dark. But as they move downstream you can see sunlight glinting off the water. Also in shots up towards the bridge you can see a lovely blue sky.

Continuity mistake: When the commandos start placing the demolition charges, the roll of wire is a very bright white, but next morning the wire is black.

Jacob La Cour

Factual error: In the headquarter scenes, the Jeep's windshield wipers had a distinctive aftermarket electric motor, which was not available until after the war.

Continuity mistake: In the very beginning of the movie a Japanese prisoner train is being filmed from the roof view with a Japanese soldier at a machine gun with a tripod riding on the roof. The Japanese soldier has his legs resting up on a wooden pallet type platform. When the train car approaches a few seconds later toward British soldiers a working on the train track the Japanese soldier's legs are now on the train car roof and no wooden pallet structure is visible. (01:01:01)

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Suggested correction: There actually two Japanese guards on the train, one near the front of the flat car containing the POWs near the locomotive and one at the rear of the car. That's why they look different.

Other mistake: Near the end of the film, the demolition team plants the explosives at the base of the bridge supports, under the water. Yet, when Colonel Nicholson falls on the detonator, there are explosions on the bridge itself, far above where the charges were placed, regardless of the water level.

Factual error: There are many scenes where Japanese soldiers are using British weapons. Vickers machine guns, Enfield rifles, and Sten sub-guns.

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Suggested correction: Captured stock taken on the fall of Singapore and the surrender of the British forces stationed there – and their weapons. They were allocated to POW camps which were considered unworthy of regular Japanese weaponry.

Colonel Saito: 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.

More quotes from The Bridge on the River Kwai
More trivia for The Bridge on the River Kwai

Question: When the commando teams drops their gear did the parachute fail to open, or could the equipment survive a drop from a plane at that height?

Answer: Depending on how it was packed most likely.

More questions & answers from The Bridge on the River Kwai

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