A Foreign Affair (1948)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  20 August 1948 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.5/10 from 4,250 users  
Reviews: 40 user | 26 critic

In occupied Berlin, an army captain is torn between an ex-Nazi cafe singer and the U.S. congresswoman investigating her.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
0Check in
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

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.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Franchot Tone, Anne Baxter, Akim Tamiroff
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A brash American gramophone salesman tries to get Emperor Franz Joseph's endorsement in turn-of-the-century Austria.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Bing Crosby, Joan Fontaine, Roland Culver
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A woman disguises herself as a child to save on a train fare and is taken in charge by an army man who doesn't notice the truth.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland, Rita Johnson
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A jealous piano teacher Orville Spooner sends his beautiful wife, Zelda, away for the night while he tries to sell a song to a famous nightclub singer Dino, who is stranded in town.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Dean Martin, Kim Novak, Ray Walston
Adventure | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Charles 'Slim' Lindbergh struggles to finance and design an airplane that will make his New York to Paris flight the first solo transatlantic crossing.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: James Stewart, Murray Hamilton, Patricia Smith
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Comedy about Coca-Cola's man in West Berlin, who may be fired if he can't keep his American boss's daughter from marrying a Communist.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: James Cagney, Horst Buchholz, Pamela Tiffin
Avanti! (1972)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A successful businessman goes to Italy to arrange for the return of his tycoon-father's body only to discover dad died with his mistress of long standing.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Juliet Mills, Clive Revill
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A crooked lawyer persuades his brother-in-law to feign a serious injury.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Ron Rich
Irma la Douce (1963)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In Paris, an ex-cop falls in love with a prostitute, and tries to get her out of that life by paying for all of her time. Not so easy...

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Lou Jacobi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The desperate life of a chronic alcoholic is followed through a four day drinking bout.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Ray Milland, Jane Wyman, Phillip Terry
Comedy | Romance | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Director Billy Wilder salutes his idol, Ernst Lubitsch, with this comedy about a middle-aged playboy fascinated by the daughter of a private detective who has been hired to entrap him with the wife of a client.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Gary Cooper, Audrey Hepburn, Maurice Chevalier
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

As a tabloid newspaper editor tries to prevent his top reporter from retiring, an escaped death row convict shows up at the office trying to convey his innocence.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Susan Sarandon


Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter von Zerneck ...
Hans Otto Birgel
Stanley Prager ...
William Murphy ...
Joe (as Bill Murphy)
Raymond Bond ...
Boyd Davis ...
Robert Malcolm ...
Charles Meredith ...
Michael Raffetto ...
Damian O'Flynn ...
Lieutenant Colonel
Frank Fenton ...
Major Mathews
James Lorimer ...
Lieutenant Hornby (as James Larmore)


A congressional committee visits occupied Berlin to investigate G.I. morals. Congresswoman Phoebe Frost, appalled at widespread evidence of human frailty, hears rumors that cafe singer Erika, former mistress of a wanted war criminal, is "protected" by an American officer, and enlists Captain John Pringle to help her find him...not knowing that Pringle is Erika's lover. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It would make a cigar store Indian laugh ...


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

20 August 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La mundana  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$1,500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


"Theater Guild on the Air" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on November 4, 1951 with Marlene Dietrich reprising her film role. See more »


Though the character played by Jean Arthur is an 'unmarried' American Congresswoman, the actress's real life wedding ring is visible in many scenes especially close-ups during the latter part of the film. See more »


Phoebe Frost: There. Now we're getting someplace. I wonder what holds up that dress...
Captain John Pringle: Must be that German willpower.
See more »


Referenced in A Decade Under the Influence (2003) See more »


Written by Friedrich Hollaender
Sung by Marlene Dietrich
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

An outstanding, interesting, entertaining movie
19 April 2000 | by (Padova, Italy) – See all my reviews

The main impression left by "A Foreign Affair" is Billy Wilder's nobility toward German people. With authentic magnanimity, he chooses to represent Germans as a pitiful people struggling to survive, not a cruel enemy to hate. The movie has an intrinsic historical interest, since it was filmed in 1948 Berlin, completely destroyed by bombs. As usual in Wilder's works, the plot is beautifully constructed, the dialogue is witty and funny, irony, sarcasm and anti-rhetoric are spread along the movie. In the opening scenes we see army captain John Lund at the black-market, selling a cake, hand-made by his American sweetheart and coming from the States, to buy a gift for his Berliner lover Marlene Dietrich. By the way, Dietrich and most Berliner women seem to be on the verge of prostitution, just to get primary goods to survive in post-war disaster. Lund meets Jean Arthur, a US congresswoman committed in hunting nazi war criminals. As a matter of fact, we follow Lund's attempts to destroy evidence of Dietrich's nazi past: a behavior by the captain not exactly patriotic, nor ethic. The finale is deeper than it appears at a first sight: brutal tyranny, based on terror and slaughter, is doomed to be annihilated, buried under the rubble; pretty girls remain, helping us to spend our life on this unhappy earth.

42 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Funny moments RowTheBoats
A Foreign Affair mishmash56
Marlene Dietrich Song HarrietZ
ending Unlaced
I love that both the heroines are in their forties... DeniseMG
Foreign Affair U.S. DVD Conspiracy j01150126
Discuss A Foreign Affair (1948) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: