What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that students assigned to read the Pierre Boulle novel in school might try to watch this film instead. (Come on, it's a short book, no cheating!) That aside, there's ample wartime violence in this movie, with characters stabbed or shot to death, and the body count of the main characters is tragically high in the end. The now-taboo, once-common term "Japs" is used to refer to Japanese. Unrated on its original release, the restored version carries a PG.
- Families can talk about the irony of the story, with upright military commanders working for the enemy to pull off a stupendous feat because of principles of "honor." What should have been done differently? Could it happen today? Which characters are the most (or least) admirable? Are there any real villains in the story? Would you say this is a pro-military movie or an anti-war one? Kids might want to research more historical facts, the real-life story of the Kwai bridge, and the Allied (and British) experience in the WWII jungles of the Far East.