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The Colditz Story (1955)

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Allied prisoners of various nationalities pool their resources to plan numerous escapes from an "escape-proof" German POW camp housed in a Medieval castle.



(novel) (as P. R. Reid) , (adaptation), 2 more credits »
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Title: The Colditz Story (1955)

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Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. See more awards »
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True story of three British POWs and their attempt to escape from Nazi Germany.

Directors: Jack Lee, Ian Dalrymple
Stars: Leo Genn, David Tomlinson, Anthony Steel


Cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Rhodes ...
'Mac' McGill (as Chistopher Rhodes)
Harry Tyler
Bryan Forbes ...
Jimmy Winslow
Guido Lorraine ...
Polish Officer
Witold Sikorski ...
Polish Officer
A. Blichewicz ...
Polish Officer
B. Dolinski ...
Polish Officer
Anton Diffring ...
Richard Wattis ...
Richard Gordon
Ian Carmichael ...
Robin Cartwright
Eric Portman ...
Colonel Richmond
Frederick Valk ...
Leo Bieber ...
German Interpreter
Denis Shaw ...


Colditz castle was used by the Nazis to hold the "bad boys", (those who regularly tried to escape from other camps). At all times the guards outnumbered the prisoners and, because some political prisoners were also held there they were *very* strictly monitored. But if you put all those people in one place and they're all trying to escape, well ... Written by Steve Crook <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

escape | nazi | guard | subterfuge | stage | See All (21) »


Excitement ! Suspense ! Action ! See more »


Drama | History | War


See all certifications »




| | |

Release Date:

26 February 1955 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

The Colditz Story  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


£136,000 (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 song sung by the POWs in the theatrical revue towards the film's end, "I Belong to Colditz", is a parody of one of Will Fyffe's signature songs, "I Belong to Glasgow." The sequence also parodies Flanagan and Allen's double-act, including the song, "Underneath the Arches" [Refer - Bud Flanagan and Chesney Allen]. See more »


Christopher Rhodes is listed as "Chistopher Rhodes" in the opening credits. See more »


Colonel Richmond: [discussing the death of Mac] We had a talk. I did the talking mostly. I was very unpleasant to him. I told him straight that he was too big. I told him every sentry in the camp was gunning for him - that he hadn't a hope of getting past the guards, and he agreed. I recommended him to think of standing down. There the discussion ended.
Pat Reid: And his life as well!
Colonel Richmond: The fact that he's dead hasn't escaped me, Pat!
Pat Reid: [resentfully] That sentry didn't kill him!
Colonel Richmond: [angrily] Watch your tongue or get out!
Pat Reid: We knew he ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits: "Every incident in the film you are about to see is true. With the exception of the author, Major P.R.Reid,M.B.E.,M.C., who acted as technical adviser on the film, all names have been changed and certain events have been related out of their historical context. These and only these liberties have been taken with ...." See more »


Referenced in Commandos 2: Men of Courage (2001) See more »


Mademoiselle From Armentieres
Tune - traditional; source of English lyrics unknown
Performed by the British prisoners
See more »

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User Reviews

First class prisoner of war tale - with British stiff-upper-lips to the fore
13 March 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Allied prisoners - that normal prison of war camps can't hold - are sent to a mountain stronghold that they are told is "escape proof."

Colditz Castle (in Germany) remains one of the most daunting and visited memorials of World War II. Looking a little like Count Dracula's castle from the outside the very sight of it must have made many a heart sink - especially those that didn't know if they were going to their deaths. Even when they found out that they weren't they still had to be vetted to see if they were not stool pigeons!

This was originally a book and in the fullness of time it would be turned in to this film, a TV series (and a very good one at that) and even a hit board game. The film has to scrap a great deal of the (excellently written) book and can only represent a few of the many plot lines. In truth the prisoners ran out of escape ideas near the end and had only one left - to build a glider to escape from the roof. The war ended before it was tested!

Anything with John Mills in is usually pretty good (ok - Who's That Girl, with Madonna falls short) and this is no exception. The prisoners realise that escape committee's are needed so escape attempts - between various nationalities - wouldn't cross one another. Everything here is based on a real incident, although some of the facts around it are fictionalised.

A good memorial to a tough place and some tough people that were prepared to risk machine guns and attack dogs to get over-the-wall to continue the war. While this type of movie always has many dramatic plus points built in, it is - still - one the top hundred British movies ever made and one of my top two hundred (made anywhere) films. There isn't a second of boredom in the whole movie.

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