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Five Graves to Cairo (1943)

Approved  |   |  Thriller, War  |  4 May 1943 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 3,226 users  
Reviews: 44 user | 23 critic

During World War 2, an undercover British soldier tries get word to the Allies that the Germans have tons of supplies buried in 5 excavations across Egypt.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Cpl. John J. Bramble / Paul Davos
Lt. Schwegler (as Peter Van Eyck)
Fortunio Bonanova ...
Gen. Sebastiano


June, 1942. The British Army, retreating ahead of victorious Rommel, leaves a lone survivor on the Egyptian border--Corporal John Bramble, who finds refuge at a remote desert hotel...soon to be German HQ. To survive, Bramble assumes an identity which proves perilous. The new guest of honor is none other than Rommel, hinting of his secret strategy, code-named 'five graves.' And the fate of the British in Egypt depends on whether a humble corporal can penetrate the secret... Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

rommel | egypt | waiter | hotel | desert | See All (36) »


Did a Woman Start the Rout of Rommel?


Thriller | War


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

4 May 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cinco tumbas al Cairo  »

Box Office


$855,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)


(archive footage)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


1200 costume uniforms were manufactured for this movie even though it is a small war movie with no large battle set-pieces. See more »


In different shots, the pepper and salt shakers on the table in front of Rommel change positions, inexplicably, as he taunts his captives with his plan. See more »


Field Marshal Rommel: [to the British officer-prisoners] I gave you 20 questions, gentlemen. That is question 21.
See more »


Referenced in Shadows of Suspense (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

Ahead of its time
2 March 2005 | by (Saffron Walden, UK) – See all my reviews

Billy Wilder was one of the best directors of his era, so it's no surprise that, in spite of a certain amount of wartime propaganda, 'Five Graves to Cairo' has a fizzy plot, a strain of black humour and a lightness of touch that sets it apart from the majority of films made at this time. It's also interesting as a film made while the war was still going on: far from demonising the enemy, it provides a generous portrait of Rommel, an unpleasant but human German army and a comedy Italian general for light relief. The plot also features a cynical Frenchwoman and a slightly racist realisation of an Egyptian: in some ways it's surprising to see how little this almost-fresh picture differs from those made later (if anything, since we discovered Auschwitz, it's been harder to make a film that shows that humanises the Nazis). 'Five Graves to Cairo' isn't Citizen Kane, and of course today this sort of thing would be done with much more violence, sex, and swearing: but that's a kind of recommendation in itself.

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