A cool, deliberate, and often exciting illustration- through an isolated incident in the far East- of the ruinous results which a too highly developed sense of duty can obtain. Near the River Kwai, some five hundred British soldiers are the prisoners of the Japanese Colonel Saito, and under the command of a Colonel Nicholson, a disciplinarian and empire-builder whose perspective is often at the default of his pride. Suffering some abusive violence on the part of Saito, to prove his point, Nicholson then agrees to build the bridge over the River Kwai which becomes an expensive point of honour- for the British- but is accomplished and is an achievement of Western scientific methods- for the now deferential Saito. British partisan saboteurs move in and scatter their ""toys"" which will destroy the bridge; the sinking water level of the river contributes to defeat their purpose- but their coup is really jeopardized by Nicholson, who once threatened with the destruction of his work- appeals to the Japanese for help.... The ambivalence, and dissonance of East and West, the irony of a stiff code of conduct which has no wider vision, this is an effective demonstration and a military moral for our time.