The bridge crossing the famous river has been immortalised in popular culture after 'The Bridge on the River Kwai' film was released in 1957. Although it was based on the novel by Pierre Boulle, the film is generally recognised as a more historically accurate account of the bridge's construction by prisoners of war in the early 1940s. As the railway provided a link between Thailand and Burma, it was a prized target for the Allied forces, and the two square bridge spans are replacements for the originals after they were damaged by American bombings.
The Thailand-Burma Railway ran between Ban Pong in Thailand and Thanbuyuzayat in Burma, covering a distance of 258 miles (415 kilometres). The line was built by the Japanese Imperial Army, using the labour of Allied POWs and Asian slaves, in just 16 months. Sadly, about 13,000 people died during its construction. Close to the bridge is a cemetery - the final resting place for many of the people who lost their lives constructing the notorious line. About 9,000 Allied soldiers are believed to be interred here.