Decision Before Dawn (1951)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, War  |  25 February 1952 (Norway)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 1,620 users  
Reviews: 44 user | 24 critic

As the US Army approaches Nazi Germany, they recruit German prisoners to spy behind German lines.



(screenplay), (novel), 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Col. Devlin
Cpl. Karl Maurer aka Happy
Hilde (as Hildegarde Neff)
Dominique Blanchar ...
O.E. Hasse ...
Col. Oberst von Ecker
Wilfried Seyferth ...
Heinz Scholtz - SS Man (as Wilfried Seyfert)
Hans Christian Blech ...
Sgt. Rudolf Barth aka Tiger
Helene Thimig ...
Fräulein Paula Schneider
Robert Freitag ...
Sgt. Paul Richter (as Robert Freytag)
George Tyne ...
Sgt. Griffin
C.A. Amos ...
Himself (as C.A. Amos 1st Lt. USAF)
Harold Benedict ...
Lt. Pete Gevers
H.W. Briggs ...
Himself (as H.W. Briggs Sgt. USA)
D.G. Devine ...


WWII is entering its last phase: Germany is in ruins, but does not yield. The US army lacks crucial knowledge about the German units operating on the opposite side of the Rhine, and decides to send two German prisoners to gather information. The scheme is risky: the Gestapo retains a terribly efficient network to identify and capture spies and deserters. Moreover, it is not clear that "Tiger", who does not mind any dirty work as long as the price is right, and war-weary "Happy", who might be easily betrayed by his feelings, are dependable agents. After Tiger and another American agent are successfully infiltrated, Happy is parachuted in Bavaria. His duty: find out the whereabouts of a powerful German armored unit moving towards the western front. Written by Eduardo Casais <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A woman's kiss . . . A lighted cigarette - Each had Its meaning! An exciting and realistic story of war . . . of German Prisoners Sent Back Behind Their Own Lines as Agents of the Allies!


Drama | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »




| |

Release Date:

25 February 1952 (Norway)  »

Also Known As:

Legion of the Damned  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


One of the first films after World War II to portray the German people - outside of the Nazi regime - in a sympathetic light. See more »


The radio in the Gasthaus is a 1950s vintage Grundig. During the war, the radio, if there was one, would most likely be a Volksemphänger. See more »


Lt Pete Gevers: Even if means fighting against your own people?
Cpl. Karl Maurer aka Happy: I believe fighting against them now is fighting for them.
See more »


Referenced in Hilde (2009) See more »


Ach, wie ist' möglich dann (Treue Liebe)
Written by Kükcken
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User Reviews

Harrowing experience
31 May 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

For anyone who is used to freedom, this movie shows better than any other what it is like to live in a total police state. The Thousand-Year Reich is shown with every wart and blemish, making this one of the greatest propaganda movies for freedom. But it is a harrowing experience, a true thriller. For the life of me, I cannot understand why this film is not better known and why it is hardly available in public libraries. Could this reflect the conservative, McCarthyite influence on movies? I think it is a must-see.

28 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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