Blog: Bridges in Film

Bridges, besides having the handy functional role of transporting people and goods, have also become film stars. They have been featured in many films over many decades. Some because of historical significance, some because of their geographical location, and others for their sheer architectural looks. We could sum up a whole list of films, but instead let’s take a look at our Top 3.

#1 The Bridge on the River Kwai

approaching_the_riverkwai_bridge

A large number of bridges have been featured in stories of WWII. As has this one, the Bridge on the River Kwai, a classic from 1957. The plot is set in Thailand in 1942, during the Second World War. During this time, many soldiers had been taken Prisoner, and were put in Japanese camps. They were then ordered to build a bridge over the River Kwai, which would allow for trains to pass and transport cargo through Myanmar (Burma) to India, to back up the planned attack on India.

In the film, Colonel Nicholson is put in charge of the PoWs and oversees the construction of the Bridge. The immediate thought among the prisoners is to sabotage the building process but, in the eyes of the British Colonel, the bridge should be constructed as a symbol of British morale, spirit and dignity in hostile circumstances.  At first, the prisoners admire him for his bravery and endurance of torture but later they start to feel reluctant to follow his lead. In the meanwhile, an Allied mission is on its way to blow up the bridge.
In 1944, the bridge was bombed by the Allies.

Many prisoners lost their lives while working on the construction of this Bridge, and they are buried at special War Cemeteries nearby. The Bridge was rebuilt and still stands to this day, and has become more commonly known as the Death Railway. Nowadays, the Bridge has become more of a tourist destination and the locals commemorate the bombing of November 28, 1944 with a Festival. The highlight of this festival is a spectacular light and sound show. You can find the Bridge in the town of Kanchanaburi, Thailand near the border of Myanmar.
Watch a short video clip of the film here.

#2 Bron | Broen | The Bridge

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In 2011, the Television series ‘The Bridge’ was launched and became a big hit. This crime/drama show is viewed not only in Denmark and Sweden, but across several European countries and even North America and Australia.
It all starts with a body. It is found in the middle of the Öresund bridge between Denmark and Sweden, which also marks the border. This means that Danish inspector Martin Rohde and Swedish inspector Saga Norén have to share jurisdiction and work together, in order to find a suspect. It continues with a thrilling journey on both sides of the Bridge and has the viewers sitting on the edge of their seats. The show is now in its third season, with a likely fourth to come in the near future.

The Öresund bridge was built from 1993 to 1999 and officially inaugurated on July 1st, 2000. It is about 16 km long and consists of three components: the bridge, an artificial island and a tunnel. This incredible construction made it possible for millions of inhabitants of the region to easily commute by car or train. It also allowed for more and faster trade and for job opportunities, as many people now live on one side of the Bridge and work on the other.  The Öresund was no longer an obstacle to transportation and inter-regional relations.
Watch the trailer for season 1 here.

#3 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

glenfinnan_viaduct

In the second film adaptation of the Harry Potter books, an exciting scene is filmed at the Glenfinnan Viaduct, Scotland. In the film, Harry and his friend Ron are blocked entrance to the Hogwarts Express which normally takes them to their School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In a moment of desperation, they decide to take the enchanted car from Ron’s dad and simply ‘fly’ to Hogwarts themselves. While forgetting about the Muggles (non-magic folk), who are not used to seeing flying cars, they take off. After a while they decide to follow the railway tracks and end up in a near collision with the train. This happens right above Glenfinnan Viaduct, which makes for breath taking shots and an exhilarating scene.

Glenfinnan is a railway viaduct situated in the Inverness-shire, at the top of Loch Shiel in the West Highlands of Scotland. It was built after 1894 to further develop the West Highland area and to establish an important fishing harbour at the town of Mallaig. The Viaduct was officially opened in 1901. Since its opening, the Viaduct has become a famous landmark of the Scottish Highlands and after being featured in the Harry Potter films (2001-2011), it inspired further world-wide recognition and tourism.
Watch the flying car scene here!


Sources:
http://www.bridgeriverkwai.com/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050212/?ref_=nv_sr_1
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1733785/
https://www.oresundsbron.com/en/node/6738
https://www.visitscotland.com/info/towns-villages/glenfinnan-p236571
http://glenfinnanstationmuseum.co.uk/history/

Photo Credits:
Featured Image: Oresundsbron by night 2015 by Lernacken, https://www.skyfish.com/p/oresundsbron/525178?predicate=created&direction=desc

Photo 1: The River Kwai Bridge By eric molina – Flickr: approaching the Bridge, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18576298

Photo 2: Oresundsbron 2003 by https://www.skyfish.com/p/oresundsbron/525178?predicate=created&direction=desc

Photo 3: Glenfinnan Viaduct By de:Benutzer:Nicolas17 – Self-photographed, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1332938

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