Major Reeves Quotes in The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
Major Reeves Quotes:
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.
Colonel Nicholson: Reeves, if this were your bridge, how would you get it underway?
Major Reeves: Get it underway, sir? Well, first of all, I wouldn't build it here.
Colonel Nicholson: Oh? Why not?
Major Reeves: As I was trying to tell you a while ago, sir, the Japanese couldn't have picked a worse location. There's no bottom. You see those piles? They're sinking. Our chaps could drive those piles 'til doomsday and they wouldn't hold.
Colonel Nicholson: *Where* would you build it?
Major Reeves: [pointing] Why, further downstream, sir. Across those narrows. Then we'd have solid bedrock on both banks.
Colonel Nicholson: Hughes, if this were your bridge, how would you use the men?
Major Hughes: [chuckles] Well, sir, not the way they're doing it. It's utter chaos, as you can see at a glance. It's a lot of uncoordinated activity; no teamwork. Some of those parties are actually working against each other.
Colonel Nicholson: Yes... I tell you, gentlemen, we have a problem on our hands. Thanks to the Japanese, we now command a rabble. There's no order, no discipline. Our task is to rebuild the battalion.
Major Reeves: Yes, sir.
Colonel Nicholson: It isn't going to be easy, but fortunately we have the means at hand: The bridge.
Major Hughes: "The bridge," sir?
Colonel Nicholson: The bridge. 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.
Major Hughes: Yes, I see your point, sir.
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.
Major Evans: I beg your pardon, sir. You mean you really want them to build a bridge?
Colonel Nicholson: You're not usually so slow on the uptake, Evans. I know our men. You've got to keep them occupied. The fact is, if there weren't any work for them to do, we'd invent some, eh, Reeves?
Major Reeves: That we would, sir.
Colonel Nicholson: So we're lucky. But it's going to be a proper bridge. Now here again, I know the men. It's essential that they should take a pride in their job. Right, gentlemen?
Major Hughes: [All officers in unison] Yes, sir.
Colonel Nicholson: Reeves, you're the key man in this situation, as engineer. Tell me what you want, and Hughes and I will organize it. What do you think? Can we make a go of it?
Major Reeves: We'll do our best, sir.
Colonel Nicholson: Fine. We must draw up our plans... then arrange a conference with Saito... and set him straight.
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