I've been thinking. Tomorrow it will be twenty-eight years to the day that I've been in the service. Twenty-eight years in peace and war. I don't suppose I've been at home more than ten months in all that time. Still, it's been a good life. I loved India. I wouldn't have had it any other way. But there are times when suddenly you realize you're nearer the end than the beginning. And you wonder, you ask yourself, what the sum total of your life represents. What difference your being there at any time made to anything. Hardly made any difference at all, really, particularly in comparison with other men's careers. I don't know whether that kind of thinking's very healthy; but I must admit I've had some thoughts on those lines from time to time. But tonight... tonight!

Colonel Nicholson

Madness! Madness!

Major Clipton

All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.

Colonel Saito

A word to you about escape. There is no barbed wire. No stockade. No watchtower. They are not necessary. We are an island in the jungle. Escape is impossible. You would die.

Colonel Saito

Commander Shears: You mean, you intend to uphold the letter of the law, no matter what it costs?
Colonel Nicholson: Without law, Commander, there is no civilization.
Commander Shears: That's just my point; here, there is no civilization.
Colonel Nicholson: Then we have the opportunity to introduce it.

I hate the British! You are defeated but you have no shame. You are stubborn but you have no pride. You endure but you have no courage. I hate the British!

Colonel Saito

Major Reeves: By the way, sir, I meant to tell you, there are trees in this forest very similar to elm. And the elm piles of London Bridge lasted six hundred years.
Colonel Nicholson: Six hundred years, Reeves?
Major Reeves: Yes, sir.
Colonel Nicholson: Six hundred years... That would be quite something.

You're a fine doctor, Clipton, but you've a lot to learn about the army.

Colonel Nicholson

I'm adamant. I will not have an officer from my battalion working as a coolie.

Colonel Nicholson

I realize how difficult it's going to be in this god-forsaken place where you can't find what you need, but there's the challenge.

Colonel Nicholson

We can teach these barbarians a lesson in Western methods and efficiency that will put them to shame. We'll show them what the British soldier is capable of doing.

Colonel Nicholson

Nurse at Ceylon hospital: What makes you so sure you'll get a medical discharge?
Commander Shears: Because I'm a civilian at heart, lover, and I always follow my heart.

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The Bridge on the River Kwai Quotes

Maj. Warden: I belong to a rather rum group called Force 316. Our headquarters is up in the botanical gardens.
Commander Shears: Protecting rare plants from the enemy?

You are defeated but you have no shame. You are stubborn but you have no pride. You endure but you have no courage.

Colonel Saito