“The Bridge on the River Kwai” (1957, 161 minutes) will be screened on Thursday, Sept. 19, at 7:30 p.m. at the Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood.

Sessue Hayakawa

David Lean won the first of two Academy Awards for best director for this epic portrait of the clash of wills between a British POW, Col. Nicholson (Alec Guinness, who initially turned down the role), and a tradition-bound Japanese officer (silent-film star Sessue Hayakawa) over the building of a railway bridge in the jungle during WWII.

For his portrayal of Col. Saito, Hayakawa (1886-1973) received both Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for best supporting actor.

William Holden stars as Shears, a cynically realistic American POW who is forced to trek back into the hellish jungle to destroy the bridge with Maj. Warden (Jack Hawkins) and his ragtag team of commandos.

Adapted by Carl Foreman and Michael Wilson from Pierre Boulle’s novel, with an unforgettable score courtesy of Malcolm Arnold.

“There has been a lot of argument about the film’s attitude toward war,” Lean once said. “I think it is a painfully eloquent statement on the general folly and waste of war.”

Tickets are $12 general, $8 for American Cinematheque members. For more information, call (323) 466-3456 or visit http://americancinematheque.com.

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