MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 570 this week

Stalag 17 (1953)

Not Rated  |   |  Comedy, Drama, War  |  10 August 1953 (Brazil)
8.1
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.1/10 from 40,417 users  
Reviews: 135 user | 69 critic

When two escaping American World War II prisoners are killed, the German POW camp barracks black marketeer, J.J. Sefton, is suspected of being an informer.

Director:

Writers:

(written for the screen by), (written for the screen by), 2 more credits »
0Check in
0Share...

On Disc

at Amazon

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 40 titles
created 12 Oct 2011
 
a list of 25 titles
created 21 Jul 2012
 
a list of 26 titles
created 14 May 2013
 
a list of 33 titles
created 5 months ago
 
a list of 25 titles
created 2 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Stalag 17" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Stalag 17 (1953)

Stalag 17 (1953) on IMDb 8.1/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Stalag 17.

User Polls

Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 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
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Leonard Vole is arrested on suspicion of murdering an elderly acquaintance. He employs an experienced but aging barrister as his defense attorney.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton
The Hustler (1961)
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

An up-and-coming pool player plays a long-time champion in a single high-stakes match.

Director: Robert Rossen
Stars: Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, Piper Laurie
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

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

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Jean Arthur, Marlene Dietrich, John Lund
The Big Sleep (1946)
Crime | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Private detective Philip Marlowe is hired by a rich family. Before the complex case is over, he's seen murder, blackmail, and what might be love.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, John Ridgely
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

An insurance representative lets himself be talked into a murder/insurance fraud scheme that arouses an insurance investigator's suspicions.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson
Rope (1948)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Two young men strangle their "inferior" classmate, hide his body in their apartment, and invite his friends and family to a dinner party as a means to challenge the "perfection" of their crime.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: James Stewart, John Dall, Farley Granger
High Noon (1952)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A marshall, personally compelled to face a returning deadly enemy, finds that his own town refuses to help him.

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Thomas Mitchell
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
Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

In a decrepit South American village, men are hired to transport an urgent nitroglycerine shipment without the equipment that would make it safe.

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot
Stars: Yves Montand, Charles Vanel, Peter van Eyck
Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A religious fanatic marries a gullible widow whose young children are reluctant to tell him where their real daddy hid $10,000 he'd stolen in a robbery.

Directors: Charles Laughton, Robert Mitchum, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish
La Strada (1954)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A care-free girl is sold to a traveling entertainer, consequently enduring physical and emotional pain along the way.

Director: Federico Fellini
Stars: Anthony Quinn, Giulietta Masina, Richard Basehart
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Don Taylor ...
...
...
Sgt. Stanislaus 'Animal' Kuzawa
...
Sgt. Harry Shapiro
...
...
Sgt. Frank Price
...
Duke
Sig Ruman ...
Michael Moore ...
Sgt. Manfredi
Peter Baldwin ...
Sgt. Johnson
Robinson Stone ...
Joey
Robert Shawley ...
Sgt. 'Blondie' Peterson
William Pierson ...
...
Sgt. Clarence Harvey 'Cookie' Cook (as Gil Stratton Jr.)
Edit

Storyline

It's a dreary Christmas 1944 for the American POWs in Stalag 17. For the men in Barracks 4, all sergeants, have to deal with a grave problem - there seems to be a security leak. The Germans always seem to be forewarned about escapes and in the most recent attempt the two men, Manfredi and Johnson, walked straight into a trap and were killed. For some in Barracks 4, especially the loud-mouthed Duke, the leaker is obvious: J.J. Sefton, a wheeler-dealer who doesn't hesitate to trade with the guards and who has acquired goods and privileges that no other prisoner seems to have. Sefton denies giving the Germans any information and makes it quite clear that he has no intention of ever trying to escape. He plans to ride out the war in what little comfort he can arrange, but it doesn't extend to spying for the Germans. As tensions mount and a mob mentality takes root, it becomes obvious that Sefton will have to find the real snitch if he is to have any peace and avoid the beatings Duke and ... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

barracks | escape | spy | guard | security | See All (55) »

Taglines:

Hilarious, heart-tugging! You'll laugh...you'll cry...you'll cheer William Holden in his great Academy Award role! (from reissue print ad)

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

10 August 1953 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

Infierno en la tierra  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,661,530 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is based on a play of the same name which is based on the experiences and reminisces of its authors Donald Bevan and Edmund Trzcinski both of whom were prisoners of war in Stalag 17B in Austria during World War II. Bevan, a B-17 tail gunner who was shot down over Germany in 1943, was the inspiration for the character Sergeant McIlhenny in Twelve O'Clock High (1949). See more »

Goofs

It's December 1944. Every morning at 6:00 it's roll call for the prisoners of Stalag 17. Although in the middle of December in southern Germany the sun will never rise before 8:00 the roll call in the movie is in full daylight. See more »

Quotes

Sefton: What is this anyway, a kangaroo court? Why don't you get a rope and do it right?
Duke: You make my mouth water.
Sefton: You're all wire-happy, boys. You've been in this camp too long. You put two and two together and it comes out four - only it ain't four.
Hoffy: What's it add up to you, Sefton?
Sefton: It adds up that you got yourselves the wrong guy. Because, I'm telling you, the krauts wouldn't plant two stoolies in one barracks. And whatever you do to me, you're gonna have to do all over again when you find the right ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Jingle Bells
(1857) (uncredited)
Music by James Pierpont
Hummed by a prisoner
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Quasi-realism and burlesque: a comedic drama
7 February 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

There was surprisingly enough a lot of humor in the American attitude toward the Nazis and the Germans during World War II. Life goes on even under the conditions of being prisoners of war, and people need to laugh. In such circumstances, they especially need to laugh. We can see that in some of the songs from that time and in this play from Donald Bevant and Edmund Trzcinski that Billy Wilder made into an unusually good movie. It should be realized that the full extent of the horror that the Nazis had visited upon Europe was not known until after the war was over and we saw the films of the concentration camps.

William Holden stars as Sgt J.J. Sefton whose amoral cynicism and gift for the cheap hustle allow him to feather his nest even while a prisoner of war.

He's the guy who always had a storehouse of cigarettes, booze, silk stockings, candy, etc. under his bunk, the guy who always won at cards, whose proposition bets always gave him the edge. We had a guy like that when I was in the army. We called him "Slick."

But William Holden's Sefton is more than Slick. He is outrageously cynical and uncommonly brave. He takes chances because he doesn't have the same kind of fear that others have. Most people would feel self-conscious (and nervous) eating a fried egg while everybody else in the barracks had watery-thin potato soup. Others might feel uncomfortable with bribing German guards for bottles of Riesling or tins of sardines. Not Sefton. He flaunts his store of goodies.

Perhaps that is overdone. Perhaps the real hardships that prisoners went through are glossed over in this comedic drama--a comedy, incidentally, that plays very much like a Broadway musical without the music. Perhaps it is the case that from the distance of 1953 the deprivations of Stalag 17 have faded from memory and it is the "good times" that are recalled.

At any rate, I think it is this kind of psychology that accounts for the success of this unusual blend of quasi-realism and burlesque. Certainly Stalag 17 has been widely imitated, most familiarly in the TV sit-com "Hogan's Heroes" and to some extent on Rowan and Martin's "Laugh-In." Roberto Benigni's Life Is Beautiful, on the other hand, which also finds humor in the horrific, is of a different genre. Like Ionesco's Rhinoceros, Benigni's movie is from the theater of the absurd, not the Broadway stage.

Holden won an Oscar for his performance and Robert Strauss who played Animal was nominated in a supporting role. Otto Preminger, the legendary director and producer, was excellent as the two-faced Col Von Scherbach, the ex-calvary commander and camp commandant who can only take a phone call from the high command with his boots on so he can click his heels. I also liked Sig Rumann as Sgt Johann Sebastian Schulz ("always making with the jokes, you Americans") whose previous career as a wrestler in the US accounts for his English-language skills. Gil Stratton, who for years did the sports for CBS Channel 2 in Los Angeles, is interesting as Sefton's sidekick and funky.

Indeed, what is responsible for the success of this movie as much as anything is this fine cast playing well-defined character roles. By the way, Strauss and Harvey Lembeck ("Sugar Lips" Shapiro) were reprising their roles from Broadway.

Important is the fine plot line in which Sefton is accused of being a spy for the Nazis while the real spy is exposed step by step. At first we don't know who it is, and then we do, and then the prisoners find out.

This should be compared with Sunset Boulevard (1950). While very different movies they have similar elements which reveal part of the psyche and methods of director Billy Wilder. First there is the anti-hero as the protagonist, in both cases played by William Holden. Then there is a lot of the old Hollywood crowd appearing in both films including directors appearing as actors, Erich von Stroheim (not to mention Cecil B. DeMille in his memorable cameo as himself) in Sunset Boulevard, and Otto Preminger here. Sig Rumann has over a 100 credits going back to at least the early thirties. Finally there is the discordant mix of comedic and dramatic elements, a mix that works on our psyches because life is to some very real extent filled with tragedy in close congruence with the laughable.

But see this for William Holden who was the kind of actor who was best playing a compromised character as here and as the failed writer/reluctant gigolo in Sunset Boulevard, an actor who drank too much and tended to undistinguished, but when carefully directed could rise above his intentions and give a sterling performance.

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)


60 of 72 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
How is this movie considered a comedy? nbreyfogle-1
this movie was degrading sleepybone
Price could have survived! christopher_sargeant
Date and Time of attack on Pearl Harbor rasikararaja
Why the SS? cavenatvanden
was hogans heroes gretzreid
Discuss Stalag 17 (1953) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?