143 user 78 critic

Stalag 17 (1953)

Not Rated | | Drama, War | 10 August 1953 (Brazil)
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 »

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 8/10 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
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
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
Harvey (1950)
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Due to his insistence that he has an invisible six foot-tall rabbit for a best friend, a whimsical middle-aged man is thought by his family to be insane - but he may be wiser than anyone knows.

Director: Henry Koster
Stars: James Stewart, Josephine Hull, Peggy Dow
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
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

In West Berlin during the Cold War, a Coca-Cola executive is given the task of taking care of his boss' socialite daughter.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: James Cagney, Horst Buchholz, Pamela Tiffin
Irma la Douce (1963)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In Paris, a former policeman falls in love with a prostitute, and tries to get her out of that life by paying for all of her time.

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
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A senator, who became famous for killing a notorious outlaw, returns for the funeral of an old friend and tells the truth about his deed.

Director: John Ford
Stars: James Stewart, John Wayne, Vera Miles
Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 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 | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 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
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A former prisoner of war is brainwashed as an unwitting assassin for an international Communist conspiracy.

Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh


Cast overview, first billed only:
Sgt. Stanislaus 'Animal' Kuzawa
Sgt. Harry Shapiro
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 | traitor | escape | spy | See All (78) »


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


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?


The movie was shot in sequence (i.e., the scenes were filmed in the same order they're shown). Many of the actors were surprised by the final plot twist. See more »


When Cookie starts to remove the radio from the pants leg of the soldier on crutches, it's visible right at the hem, but when the camera cuts away and then cuts back a moment later, Cookie is reaching farther up the pants leg to remove the radio. See more »


[Shapiro received 7 letters at mail call]
Animal: What do all those broads say?
Shapiro: What do they always say?
Animal: Lemme read one.
Shapiro: It's not good for you, Animal.
Animal: Hey, this is with a typewriter... it's from a finance company.
Shapiro: So it's from the finance company. So, it's better than no letter at all. So they want the third payment on the Plymouth.
[dropping each letter on the floor in turn]
Shapiro: So they want the fourth... the fifth... the sixth... the seventh... So they want the Plymouth.
Animal: Sugar Lips Shapiro. Amazing, ain't...
See more »


References The Great Dictator (1940) See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Underrated? - understatement!
28 February 2000 | by (Cork, Ireland) – See all my reviews

In his lengthy and eventful career, Billy Wilder created many films that have rightly attained classic status, but his WWII prisoner of war comedy-drama Stalag 17 is arguably one of his best. The scripting is a perfect example of how to marry a tight plot with sharp dialogue and great characters, and the acting is flawless on all counts. While William Holden's performance as the cynical American sergeant rightly won him an Oscar, it is the comic antics of Robert Strauss and Harvey Lembeck that steal the show. And if there was ever a more entertaining ensemble of previously unseen (and sadly subsequently unheard of) supporting players - with the possible exception of Casablanca - I would love to see it. This film predates the more famous WWII pow film The Great Escape by more than a decade, but had Wilder, Holden and company not caused havoc in Stalag 17, the world would never have seen Steve McQueen play the cooler king with such wry aplomb. Stalag 17 is easily one of the finest films of its time, if not of all time, and I would encourage anyone who has never experienced its unique blend of cynicism, comedy, suspense and drama to check it out at the earliest available opportunity.

64 of 83 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Public Domain? Balcones
Von Scherbach's Ambitions mrc285
How is this movie considered a comedy? nbreyfogle-1
Was Joey faking it? hellfire666
Price could have survived! christopher_sargeant
"Happy" ending...? trist962
Discuss Stalag 17 (1953) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: