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The Bamboo Prison (1954)

Approved  |   |  Drama, War  |  December 1954 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 128 users  
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What looks like a classic prison camp movie is in reality a espionage-thriller. American prisoners delivered to a Korean POW camp encounter the cruelty of the communist guards... See full synopsis »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dianne Foster ...
Tanya Clayton
Cpl. Brady
Jerome Courtland ...
Father Francis Dolan
Doc Jackson, medic
Richard Loo ...
Commandant Hsai Tung
Comrade-Instructor Li Ching
Murray Matheson ...
Comrade Clayton
King Donovan ...
P.O.W. Jackie (as Dick Jones)
Pepe Hern ...
Leo Gordon ...
Weaver Levy ...


What looks like a classic prison camp movie is in reality a espionage-thriller. American prisoners delivered to a Korean POW camp encounter the cruelty of the communist guards... See full synopsis »

Add Full Plot | Plot Synopsis


Drama | War






Release Date:

December 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

I Was a Prisoner in Korea  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Earlier in 1954, Robert Francis and Jack Kelly also appeared together in "They Rode West." See more »


Tanya Clayton: [Sgt. Rand has unexpectedly kissed her on the mouth, leading her to believe he may be abusing his status as a "progressive" - an allied P.O.W. who's converted to Communism] You are taking too much for granted, Sergeant.
MSgt. John A. Rand: Am I?
Tanya Clayton: Yes. Because you see, I do not like "progressives."
MSgt. John A. Rand: No foolin'. How come?
Tanya Clayton: I do not like "progressives" because I hate and despise Communists. They're all of the same breed: men who have ceased to be men.
MSgt. John A. Rand: You can get 50 years in a work camp for that.
Tanya Clayton: I have been threatened ...
See more »

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User Reviews

Cold War Relic
25 June 2012 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

It is certainly interesting to see The Bamboo Prison from a 62 year old perspective from the start of the Korean War. I doubt this film would ever be made today. Hogan's Heroes gives this film a run for verisimilitude.

By 1954 tales of the horrors and depredations that Allied prisoners endured were well known and widely circulated in America. But this was the midst of the Cold War and films about the ruthless Red Menace were pretty popular that year. But this one really stands out. It's even got a little romance in it if you can believe.

Robert Francis plays a 'progressive' which means here a prisoner who's seen the light and is now a thoroughgoing Das Kapital believing Marxist converted through reading the 'truth' about Communism in the POW camp. He's in charge of a barracks full of reactionaries meaning the prisoners who resist indoctrination and one of his rewards is decent food and a cot to sleep on.

Brian Keith is one of the other prisoners who is an agent filtered in from the allied side to get information on POW treatment as the peace talks go endlessly on at Panmunjom. How he gets it out is for you to see the film for.

There are some Russians here as well, supervising in the near distance, Commissar Murray Matheson and his wife, former Ballerina Dianne Foster who admits she married him to advance in the Soviet society. Girl's got to do what a girl's got to do. She takes a look at the hunky Francis and she and Francis are kanoodling hot and heavy. Of course he's got his own agenda as does she, but talk about prisoner perks. William Holden didn't have it that good with the Russian women prisoners in Stalag 17.

These Communists just like the Nazis in Stalag 17 have an informer among the prisoners. But when you see who it is, the reaction of the movie-going public in 1954 was, is there nothing these dirty Reds won't stoop to?

Of course the depredations and horrors in Korean POW camps were quite real. North Korea sad to say has had time stand still and they've made the slogan for Korea as the Hermit Kingdom quite real. Like Prussia it's a state supporting an army. This film however is laughable in its Cold War mindset, a relic of bygone and begone years.

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