19 March 2010

The Bridge on the River Kwai

Hope some of you may remember the award winning film in the 1950’s – The Bridge on the River Kwai.

Although the plot was set in Thailand, most of it was filmed in Kithulgala, Sri Lanka. The most important part of the film, the bridge was built across River Kelani instead of River Kwai. There is no bridge here today, but you can still see some of the reminiscences of the temporary bridge built just for the film. The above picture shows a recent image of the exact location where the bridge was built in 1957. I have added more pictures of this place here .

You can reach this place via Avissawella - Nuwara Eliya Road (A7). Just before Kithulgala Town, you have to turn to your right and walk along a foot path about a kilometer to reach this place.


Sunny said...

Your post is so interesting. My Dad and I watched that movie many times together. Thank you for the memory.
Sunny :)

Kirigalpoththa said...

I have seen this film once and enjoyed it thoroughly. Thanks a lot for your comments! :)

Amitha Amarasinghe said...

Do they allow white water rafting up the river in this area? I remember I passed this spot, few years ago in a white water adventure. River looks so calm in this area, and we just relaxed in the raft and enjoyed the scenery and the story about the movie :-)

Tankar från Trädgårdsmästarn; Hillevi said...

Exciting post, and of course we remember the film and the whisteling tune in it. My husband used to whistle away on it as a child... (still does)

Lovely to see your photos of this historic place.
Have a nice weekend!

I will look for small springsigns this weekend. Yesterday all snow rushed off our roof... finally. It sounded terrible and loud, I thought the whole roof came off.. But no, all is well:-)

rainfield61 said...

You post title brings my memory back to very old time.

I do not have any memory on the scenery, war pre-coccupied my mind.

Rajesh said...

Beautiful, very scenic.

I have seen this movie. But, I had no idea it was shot in this place.

Kirigalpoththa said...

I have not done rafting recently but I think you can do rafting here as well, although the water here is quite calm.
There are quite a few companies, which do white water rafting along this stretch nowadays. I think, the popularity has increased now, compared to a few years back.

The whistling tune was a hit and it still one of the most famous tunes. In fact school bands in Sri Lanka still play this tune quite often.
Glad the snow didn’t damage your roof! Take care :)

Yes, you are correct. The film is such an action packed film so you would not notice any of the sceneries in the film.

Yes, this is a very scenic area and very few people know that the film was filmed in Sri Lanka.

Thanks all for your comments!

Anonymous said...

I can imagine myself wading in the water..Just a beautiful scene, and peaceful.

Amaris in Wonderland said...


I thought that area looked familiar. :) It is interesting to find out that this is really the River Kelani in Sri Lanka.

Janith said...

Ah, the bridge that went down in one spectacular explosion! My dad actually bought the VHS of that movie at the Kithulgala rest house and we watched it together (he had watched it on the big screen as a child)... lovely film! :)

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Hi K, I remember that movie WELL--and loved it, especially the music. I had no idea it was filmed in Kithulgala. Thanks for the interesting photo --and post.

George said...

I remember the movie, but I didn't realize that it was filmed in Sri Lanka. Thanks for showing this site to us.

Me-shak said...

Looks like there is very little water in the kalni!

Super Picture K. Good work!


Penny Says said...

hey..i visited the actual site of it when i went to Thailand like a few years back!!!...brought back memories of all the fun i used to have with my family...you should visit there..you would love the scenery..the old bridge and the new bridge is there to be seen..amazing...:D

Loshini said...

shot in sl huh? no wonder. your home has a lot of Mother Nature's best. *knocking on wood* don't wanna jinx it :)

Knatolee said...

I didn't know it was filmed in Sri Lanka! What a beautiful location. We visited the real bridge (well, there are just remnants of the original) and the new one in Thailand during our honeymoon.

SL is just full of gorgeous spots, isn't it?!

Offthebeatentrack said...

One of my favourite movies and one of my favourite places in our Island home!:) Awesome stuff KG!

Unknown said...

I didn't know that they filmed large parts in Sri Lanka.
How cool :)
And a lovely shot, bridge or not ;)

Kirigalpoththa said...

Icy BC,
Thanks a lot for your comments!

Yes, I could have named the post ‘The Bridge on the River Kelani’ !
River Kelani has many surprises and this is only one of them :)

Yep, that was the most memorable part of the movie.
Quite good stuff when you think that it was done more than 50 years ago!

Betsy and George,
You are welcome! I still like the music of that movie.

I went there in the middle of dry season, so water level was bit low.

Really!, I have seen this place of Thailand on the internet, I should visit there oneday!

Do not worry about superstitions :) But I love to see a similar movie filmed here. Then I can see how tis done. :)

So both you and Penny has seen the actual place in Thailand. Great!
I will try my best to visit there oneday!

Thanks mate! Yep the film and the location both are great!

I think very few people know that this film was filmed in SL!

Thanks all for your wonderful comments!

Hoot-a-Toot said...

I recently passed this very spot while floating down the river after white water rafting up river. :) it was fun!!!

Kirigalpoththa said...

Really!! I think Amitha (above in the comment section) has done the same :)
White water rafting is real fun :D
Thanks for your comments!!

EG CameraGirl said...

I had no idea the movie was shot in Sri Lanka. It's amazing how much can be learned while blogging and enjoying beautiful photos, which this is!

Kirigalpoththa said...

EG Wow,
Yes blogging is a great method to learn what is happening around the world!
Thanks a lot for visiting and comments :)

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

I love this post. I love that film. It is neat that remnants of the movie set survive after all these years.

Thanks for visiting.

Kirigalpoththa said...

Glad you like my post :)
Thanks a lot for your comments!

Joyful said...

Lovely green trees. The river looks almost the same colour :-)

Kirigalpoththa said...

Yes, the reflection of greenery around has made the water also green :)
Thanks a lot for visiting and comments :)

cat said...

I can still whistle the tune from that movie. Great photo of a beautiful place :)

Kirigalpoththa said...

Great! Yes it is such a lovely tune.
Thanks for your comments :)

Amila Salgado said...

I once wrote to a client that Kithulgala was the location where bride of the river kwai was shot in the 50s. He got back to me asking 'btw, who shot the bride??'

Glad you have not missed the g!

Kirigalpoththa said...

That is a good one! :D
To me, Kithulgala is 'The Pride of River Kelani'.

Harshi said...

I think I missed the movie when it was shown on TV but I did see a documentary of it, ages ago. Anyway I didn't know this was River Kelani. The scenery looks wonderful too, blessed with so much greenery.

Kirigalpoththa said...

Was it shown on local TV? I didn't know that. I have seen it from a VHS tape sometime back.
Thanksa lot for the comment!

Karin M. said...

I was standing at this point to take photos...
I visited your beautiful country many years ago..
Greeting Karin

Kirigalpoththa said...

Hi Karin,
Glad to hear you visited here. :D
Best Regards,