By Steve Simels
Updated April 22, 1994 at 04:00 AM EDT

Director David Lean made lots of movies that, no matter how well transferred to video, lose an essential something at home. And this newly restored, gorgeously letterboxed edition of his thinking man’s World War II action flick is a prime example. Traditional pan and scan can’t do justice to The Bridge on The River Kwai‘s CinemaScope compositions. But this wide-screen version is still a compromise: Though you see the complete image, the picture is so small (unless you have a monitor that’s at least 27 inches), you feel you’re peering through the wrong end of a telescope. A thunderous new Dolby Surround mix does suggest the theatrical experience, but watching this Kwai on a small set is more like dreaming about watching it.