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The Password Is Courage (1962)

 -  War | Comedy | Drama  -  21 December 1962 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 700 users  
Reviews: 29 user | 4 critic

A British officer, captured by the Germans, tries everything he can to escape. In the process, amongst many other adventures he gets awarded the Iron Cross !! Based on a true story.



(screenplay), (based on the biography of Charles Coward by)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sergant-Major Charles Coward
Alfred Lynch ...
Corporal Bill Pope
Reginald Beckwith ...
Ed Devereaux ...
Lewis Fiander ...
George Mikell ...
Richard Carpenter ...
Bernard Archard ...
1st Prisoner of war
Ferdy Mayne ...
1st German officer at French farm
George Pravda ...
2nd German officer at French farm
Olaf Pooley ...
German Doctor
Michael Mellinger ...


A British officer, captured by the Germans, tries everything he can to escape. In the process, amongst many other adventures he gets awarded the Iron Cross !! Based on a true story. Written by Steve Crook <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The only man ever awarded the Iron Cross by the enemy!!! See more »


War | Comedy | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

21 December 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Apodrasis tin avgi  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.00 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


No mention is made of Coward being transferred to Auschwitz III labor camp located five miles from the better known extermination camp of Auschwitz II (Birkenau). Perhaps this is due to the film wanting to remain lighthearted when compared to the eponymous book. See more »


When Sergeant Major Coward is discussing linking up with the Polish Underground, he is told that the agent is an optician somewhere in Poland, in Breslau. Breslau was in fact a German city and did not become Polish until after WW2 when the boundaries of Poland were shifted westwards and the name changed to Wroclaw. See more »


Kiss Me Goodnight, Sergeant Major
Written by Art Noel and Don Pelosi
See more »

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User Reviews

Holds Up VERY WELL to The Great Escape
22 May 2005 | by (Florida) – See all my reviews

Updated review: I just read the book by the same name. The film tells about 40% of the book, and differ's significantly with Mr. Cowards escape. I originally rated this film an 8 of 10 but after reading the book I'm downgrading it to a 6. Coward was sent to a camp near Auschwitz and almost half the book deals with his time there. He discovered there was a British Officer of Jewish blood who was put in the death camp, and Coward managed to swap places with a Jew inside Auschwitz to try to rescue this British POW from certain death! If you can imagine the courage that feat alone took you get the idea of a man who lived as if he had nothing to lose, almost inviting death to take him throughout his 7 escapes (yes 7 times he crossed the "wire"). The film on reflection is quite shallow in it's telling of Mr. Cowards story. Because of his night inside Auschwitz, he was later to become a key witness in repatriation trials against the German firms that used slave labor. Perhaps because of the time this film was made (early 60's) with the cold war in it's full intensity, and the West embracing our now West German ally; and the fact that Mr. Cowards tale of Auschwitz may have be well known with the press coverage of trials he was a witness in, the film took a lightharded look at the book. On it's own it is an entertaining film to watch, but now in balance after reading the book (which itself wasn't the best written, but just the incredible story itself is riveting), it's a shame that a more wasn't put into the film than the "Hogans Heroes" treatment this film got. I really hope they remake this film and have the whole story inside, about the time Coward killed his oppressive Guard with an overdose, about the Polish Underground Army and the TNT that was smuggled into Auschwitz to blow up the incinerators and factory by the Jews, about the hooker that Coward tried to pay for to seek shelter for the night but instead took him to the police, about the time Coward stumbled into a V1 research plant and how he got that info to the British at home, I mean NONE of that is in the film and it's just an incredible story. Following is my original review before reading the book: I have seen the Great Escape at least a half dozen times, and its a "Guy Movie" Icon. I even watched it one time on TNT, and it was like over 3 hours long with the commercials, just to see Steve Mcqueen jump the barb wire (wanted to see if I could tell when the stuntman was in I guess). Anyway I watch it that long and they actually cut that scene out! Boy was I p.o.'d, but it shows you how I loved that movie. I just watch "Password is Courage" and it was a real treat! I found it a very entertaining movie and I loved seeing Bogarde, he was awesome. I did laugh out loud a couple of times at this and it had to be a partial inspiration for the TV show "Hogans Heroes". Some of these reviewers, to me, don't seem to realize that Great Escape and this movie are both based on the same "true" event so that's why they are both similar, LOL! It isn't that one or the other is a copy! Also, the character of SGT Major Coward is a REAL person! He is listed right there on the opening credits as a technical adviser! I did a very limited amount of research after watching this movie because if HALF of this movie is actually true, Mr Coward has some real big brass ones! What did I find out in just 5 minutes of a Google search? Mr Coward saved 400-800 Jews from death at Auschwitz! I just ordered the book by the same name to read more about a truly brave and blessed man, Charles Coward. And to the people that find the prisoners having a good attitude hard to swallow, thats one reason why escapes were organized and are still taught to the US military; so you don't grow into despair! Plus since Mr. Coward himself was technical adviser I'm gonna take his word that most of this actually happened. See it, and than you'll probably want to know more about this man's story!

20 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Better than the Great escape ! davidlovellarsenal
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