Commander Shears Quotes in The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)


Commander Shears Quotes:

  • Maj. Warden: You'll go on without me. That's an order. You're in command now, Shears.

    Commander Shears: You make me sick with your heroics! There's a stench of death about you. You carry it in your pack like the plague. Explosives and L-pills - they go well together, don't they? And with you it's just one thing or the other: destroy a bridge or destroy yourself. This is just a game, this war! You and Colonel Nicholson, you're two of a kind, crazy with courage. For what? How to die like a gentleman, how to die by the rules - when the only important thing is how to live like a human being!... I'm not going to leave you here to die, Warden, because I don't care about your bridge and I don't care about your rules. If we go on, we go on together.

  • Commander Shears: [to Nurse] You give me powders, pills, baths, injections, enemas; when all I need is love.

  • Commander Shears: I can think of a lot of things to call Saito, but "reasonable"... that's a new one.

  • 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?

  • Major Hughes: Jennings has a plan, sir. He seems to think...

    Colonel Nicholson: Yes, I'm sure Jennings has a plan. But escape? Where, into this jungle? That fellow Saito was right: no need for barbed wire or fence, one chance in a hundred of survival. I'm sure a man of Commander Shears' experience will attest to that.

    Commander Shears: I'd say the odds against a successful escape are about 100 to one. But may I add another word, Colonel? The odds against survival in this camp are even worse.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Commander Shears: [referring to Col. Saito, who had a machine gun brought up to threaten Col. Nicholson and his officers] He's going to do it, believe me, he's really going to do it!

  • Commander Shears: I'm getting worse, you know. Sometimes I think I'm Admiral Halsey.

  • Lieutenant Joyce: I'm sorry, Sir. I thought you were the enemy.

    Commander Shears: Well, I'm an American, if that's what you mean.

  • Commander Shears: [He and a fellow Allied P.O.W., Weaver, have just buried a dead P.O.W. in the camp cemetery. They are putting in a handmade wooden cross to mark his grave] Here lies... You know, Weaver, I've forgotten who we just buried.

    Weaver, Allied P.O.W.: Thompson.

    Commander Shears: Oh, yes... Here lies Corporal Herbert Thompson. Serial number zero-one-two-three-four-five-six-seven. Valiant member of the King's Own... or the Queen's Own... or something. Who died of beriberi in the year of our Lord, 1943. For the greater glory of...

    Commander Shears: [pauses, looking stumped. Looks at Weaver] What *did* he die for?

    Weaver, Allied P.O.W.: Ah, come off it! No need to mock the grave!

    Commander Shears: I don't mock the grave or the men... May he rest in peace.

    Commander Shears: [bangs the makeshift wooden cross down with his shovel] He found little enough of it when he was alive.

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