Stalag 17 (1953)

Not Rated  |   |  Comedy, Drama, War  |  10 August 1953 (Brazil)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.1/10 from 41,897 users  
Reviews: 138 user | 76 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.



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

On Disc

at Amazon

Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A frustrated former big-city journalist now stuck working for an Albuquerque newspaper exploits a story about a man trapped in a cave to re-jump start his career, but the situation quickly escalates into an out-of-control circus.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Jan Sterling, Robert Arthur
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
    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
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
Sabrina (1954)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A playboy becomes interested in the daughter of his family's chauffeur. But it's his more serious brother who would be the better man for her.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden
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
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

When his family goes away for the summer, a so far faithful husband is tempted by a beautiful neighbor.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Marilyn Monroe, Tom Ewell, Evelyn Keyes
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
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
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
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A hack screenwriter writes a screenplay for a former silent-film star who has faded into Hollywood obscurity.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim


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


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:

german | barracks | escape | spy | guard | See All (56) »


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


Comedy | Drama | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

10 August 1953 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

Infierno en la tierra  »

Box Office


$1,661,530 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Stanislas Kasava supposedly has been a POW for some time, yet when he looks through the telescope to see Sefton at the Russian compound, it's clear that he took off his wedding band for the movie because you can see the tan line on his ring finger. See more »


When Sefton is explaining how he got hold of the telescope, he explains that he got together a "few lenses and a mirror". The telescope he has in the barracks is a refractor telescope, which doesn't use mirrors. See more »


Marko the Mailman: Remember, just because the krauts are dumb doesn't mean that they're stupid.
See more »


Referenced in Blue Murder: Crisis Management (2007) See more »


When Johnny Comes Marching Home
(1863) (uncredited)
Written by Louis Lambert
Played during the opening credits
Played on a record and sung by the prisoners of war
Whistled a bit by Gil Stratton at the end
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Another WW II POW classic.
27 June 2008 | by (Groningen, The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

Despite the fact that this movie got made 10 years before the WW II POW classic "The Great Escape", the movie is still known as the 'other' WW II POW movie. While I do admit that "The Great Escpae" is still a better movie than this one ("The Great Escape" is probably one of my favorite all time movies) this movie is a great and classic one as well.

Just like "The Great Escape", the movie knows to create a perfect balance between its drama and comedy. This movie could easily been turned into a heavy war drama but instead a more light approach gets picked, without loosing any of its serious and more dramatic power. It makes the movie entertaining as well as effectively powerful. It can be assumed that "The Great Escape" and its style got inspired by this movie.

The movie is a 'great' portrayal of the lives of American officer POW's, in a German stalag. They try to make the best of it, with very limited resources. Every small thing and things that are out of the ordinary are the things that make them go through their days and is what's keeping them alive. The first halve of the movie isn't even about the William Holden character and he is just one of the boys. It isn't after about halve way through the movie that the story takes to take shape and the main plot of the movie becomes obvious. In advance you would just expect from this movie to be one about POW's trying to escape. But the story is way better written and layered than that though.

But it above all things is also a very well made and especially directed one, by 6 time Academy Award winner Billy Wilder. He also received a directing nomination for this movie. It's a '50's movie but it doesn't feel like one. The movie seems to be ahead of its time with its story handling, directing and just overall style of film-making. The camera-work is especially great and worth mentioning.

William Holden does a great job at portraying a complicated character. At first you just don't know what to think of him and he isn't a very likable character but he slowly turns into a strong and more important character, that starts doing the right thing. Holden also actually won an Oscar for his role in this movie, despite the fact that he never really wanted to do this movie. It was the only Oscar he ever got, which makes it quite ironic.

A great powerful, entertaining classic, which was truly ahead of its time.


17 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
"Happy" ending...? trist962
Von Scherbach's Ambitions mrc285
How is this movie considered a comedy? nbreyfogle-1
this movie was degrading sleepybone
Price could have survived! christopher_sargeant
Why the SS? cavenatvanden
Discuss Stalag 17 (1953) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: