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Famous Like Me > Writer > B > Pierre Boulle

Profile of Pierre Boulle on Famous Like Me

Name: Pierre Boulle  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 20th February 1912
Place of Birth: Avignon, Vaucluse, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
Profession: Writer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Pierre Boulle (February 20, 1912 – January 30, 1994) was a French novelist.

Born Pierre-François-Marie-Louis Boulle in Avignon, France, he trained as an engineer. From 1936 to 1939 he worked as a technician on British rubber plantations in Malaya. At the outbreak of World War II Boulle enlisted with the French army in French Indochina, and after German troops occupied France he joined the Free French Mission in Singapore.

He served as a secret agent under the name Peter John Rule and helped the resistance movement in China, Burma and French Indochina. In 1943 he was captured by the Vichy France loyalists on the Mekong River. While a prisoner, he was subjected to severe hardship and forced labor. He was made a chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur and decorated with the Croix de Guerre and the Medal of the Resistance.

For a while after the war, he returned to work in the rubber industry but moved back to Paris, where he began to write. Using his experiences in the war, he wrote The Bridge over the River Kwai which became a multi-million worldwide bestseller, winning the French "Prix Sainte-Beuve". The book was a fictional story based on the real plight of Allied POWs forced to build a 415-km (258-mile) railway which became known as the "Death Railway" and passed over the bridge. 16,000 prisoners and 100,000 Asian conscripts died during construction of the line. His character of Lt-Col. Nicholson was not based on the real Allied senior officer at the Kwai bridges, Philip Toosey but was reportedly an amalgam of his memories of collaborating French officers. David Lean made Boulle's story into a motion picture - entitled Bridge on the River Kwai - that won several Oscars including the 1957 Academy Award for Best Picture.

In 1963, following several other reasonably successful novels, Pierre Boulle published his other famous novel, first published in France as La Planète des Singes, and a year later in the United Kingdom in an English translation entitled Monkey Planet - later to be known as Planet of the Apes. In 1968 this story was made into another Oscar-winning movie, starring Charlton Heston.

Pierre Boulle died in Paris, France on January 30, 1994.


  • The Bridge on the River Kwai (1952)
  • Not The Glory (1955)
  • Saving Face (1956)
  • The Test (1957)
  • Other Side of the Coin (1956)
  • Walt Disney's Siam (1958)
  • S.O.P.H.I.A. (1959)
  • A Noble Profession (1960)
  • The Executioner (1961)
  • For a Noble Cause (1961)
  • The Chinese Executioner (1962)
  • Monkey Planet (1963) aka Planet of the Apes
  • The Photographer (1967)


  • Histoires charitables (1965)
  • Quia absurdum (1966)
  • Time Out of Mind: And Other Stories (1966)
  • The Marvelous Palace: And Other Stories (1977)

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Pierre Boulle