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The Wooden Horse (1950)

 -  Drama | History | War  -  16 October 1950 (UK)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 627 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 3 critic

True story of three British POWs and their attempt to escape from Nazi Germany.


, (uncredited)


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Title: The Wooden Horse (1950)

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Flt. Lt. Peter Howard
Phil Roe
Anthony Steel ...
Capt. John Clinton
Nick Bennett
Patrick Waddington ...
Group Capt. Wardley (Senior British Officer)
Bryan Forbes ...
Dan Cunningham ...
Australian in Hospital
Philip Dale ...
Bill White
Russell Waters ...
W / C 'Wings' Cameron
Ralph Ward ...
Franz Schafheitlin ...
Camp Commandant


In a POW camp, the Nazis have placed the huts far from the boundary so that any escape tunnel would have to be a long one. One British officer has the idea of starting a daily gynmastics routine using a vaulting horse: they can place it near the boundary and start a tunnel from under it. He and two others do escape the camp by this means and plan to make for neutral Sweden. To do that, they'll not only have to move around without arousing any suspicions, but also find a stranger from a neutral or occupied country who'll be willing and able to help them. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

escape | camp | tunnel | sweden | germany | See more »


Drama | History | War


See all certifications »




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Release Date:

16 October 1950 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The Wooden Horse  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Filmed on location in Germany, in a specially reconstructed POW camp, as all the existing ones were still holding displaced persons at the time. (This was only made 5 years after the end of the war.) See more »


Whilst the escape is in progress there is a quick shot of a German guard near the compound fence. His rifle has a British pattern webbing sling,the upper brass buckle can be seen clearly. See more »


[Doctor, visiting prisoners in hospital, hears they are listening to music by Beethoven]
Doctor: Ah, Beethoven. He is a good German.
Prisoner: [calls out from the background] Yes. He's dead.
See more »

Crazy Credits

It is the constant hope of nearly every prisoner-of-war - if not, indeed, his duty - to escape and rejoin his unit. This film shows how three British officers carried out an actual escape from a German camp in the last war. It was made mostly in Germany and Denmark, with the help of the British War Office and Air Ministry and of Danish and German civilians. See more »


Referenced in Two Way Stretch (1960) See more »


Nymphs and Shepherds
Composed by Henry Purcell
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User Reviews

Yet Another Brilliant British War Movie

In the long line of distinguished & inspiring war movies made in England in the 40's & '50s (Went The Day Well, Dam Busters, Cockleshell Heroes, One of Our Aircrafts is Missing, We Dive At Dawn) about British military personnel resisting German aggression in the second War, comes this little gem. This movie tells the story of Stalag Luft III where British airmen Leo Genn & David Tomlinson (both more famous for their roles in Quo Vadis & Mary Poppins respectively) are imprisoned. In a daring attempt the duo with one more accomplice break out of the heavily guarded camp by digging a tunnel from under their exercise title instrument. The second half of the movie concerns their attempts to reach Sweden, a neutral territory from where they can reach England.

Leo Genn performs convincingly as the pipe-smoking elder Flight Lt. who goads & coaxes the younger David Tomlinson on, first through the tunnel & then through enemy territory. Both had war time experiences & borrow heavily from that. Peter Finch has one of his first roles as a Australian soldier who helps in the escape plan. Two of the funniest parts of the movie are the 'venture capitalists' in the form of the escape committee headed by senior officers approving of the plan & later financing it, & the retort of one of the injured soldiers in the hospital to a German comment that Beethoven is a good German.

So ignore some of the incongruencies and enjoy this suspensor. It is no 'Stalag 17', but still a good entertainer all the way.

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