Pierre Boulle



The man who wrote both
The Bridge on the River Kwai and Planet of the Apes:

Born Pierre-François-Marie-Louis Boulle in Avignon, France. He was baptised and raised Roman Catholic, although later in life he would become an agnostic. He studied and later became an engineer. From 1936 to 1939, he worked as a technician on British rubber plantations in Malaya. While there he fell in love with a French woman who was separated from her French husband. She became the love of his life. She later chose to return to her husband, who was a French official. She and her husband escaped into Malaysia and one of her children died in the process. Boulle would later meet her after the war on a platonic basis. At the outbreak of World War II, Boulle enlisted with the French army in French Indochina. After German troops occupied France, he joined the Free French Mission in Singapore. Pierre Boulle was a supporter of Charles de Gaulle.

Boulle 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 labour. He was made a chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur and decorated with the Croix de Guerre and the Médaille de la Résistance. He described his experiences in the war in the non-fiction My Own River Kwai (1967).