52 user 24 critic

Five Graves to Cairo (1943)

Approved | | Thriller, War | 26 May 1943 (USA)
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)
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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Did a Woman Start the Rout of Rommel?


Thriller | War


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

26 May 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cinco tumbas al Cairo  »

Filming Locations:


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
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Did You Know?


Billy Wilder wanted the role of Cpl. John J. Bramble/Davos (ultimately played by Franchot Tone) to be played by Cary Grant, but Grant was unavailable. See more »


The maps used by the Germans are English maps, not German, though why not in German? Egypt in German is Agypten (umlaut A), not five letters. See more »


[Sebastiano, an Italian general, has just learned that he has been assigned to a hotel room with no running water by the condescending German officers]
Gen. Sebastiano: Another kick in the face! They let us die, but they don't let us wash! Well, what did we expect? As we say in Milano, "When you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas!"
Cpl. John J. Bramble: That's right, sir.
[Sebastiano looks at Bramble, nervously]
Gen. Sebastiano: [cautioning him] You haven't heard anything...
Cpl. John J. Bramble: Of course not, sir. From so far away, how can I hear what they say in ...
See more »


Version of Hotel Imperial (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

much over-praised
27 July 2011 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

I watched this film after reading several positive reviews of it. My expectations were raised, but watching it was a big disappointment. As an average little suspense story, it is OK, not particularly thrilling and with a rather simple storyline.

Why do some people praise Franchot Tone for his acting? Balderdash! This "Englishman" doesn't even have an English accent. But apart from that, he only manages to get the job done in a sort of uninspired way (Imagine what Bogart could have done with the role!). His portrayal of a meek, cringing, club-footed waiter is so unconvincing as to be almost laughable.

The Turner Classic Movies Network showed this movie as an example of a portrayal of Arabs in a positive light. Gasp! I can't believe somebody down there at TCM considers the character Fareed as a positive image. He's all cowardice, hand-wringing, forever flustered and running in circles, begging not to be hurt, in sharp contrast to the brave Englishman, the tough French woman and the strutting Germans. He borders on being a comic character, certainly a minor one who merely adds local colour and shows how superior the Europeans are. The only thing positive about his image is that he is working against the Germans, although he's pretty much forced into that position after the single act of hiding the Englishman behind the bar when the Germans arrive; afterwards he keeps begging the Englishman to go away and muttering to himself in a trembling voice about being shot against the nearest wall. The TCM presenter thought the Englishman's comment, "You're a great man, Fareed," was a great moment in American cinema, but in fact Fareed had done nothing wonderful at all, simply having opened a drawer and happening to notice that its newspaper lining had a familiar name on it. The Englishman called him great just out of his own excitement, meaning nothing whatsoever about the character of Fareed. It was a complete non-moment.

Most reviewers admit that, being made in 1943, it has propaganda elements. But the truth is that it's much worse than that, dealing in the barest stereotypes, so bad as to be cartoonish. An Italian general can't stop singing opera arias and shrinks like a sullen, scolded child when the Germans put him in his place for stepping out of line. The French chambermaid is pretty and offering to trade sex for favours (was that supposed to be a French accent Anne Baxter was speaking with?). The Germans are arrogant and dominating. The English officers are easy-going and likable. The Arab is timorous and cowardly.

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