After WW2, in an Austrian camp for displaced persons, an interpreter mediates between the British and the Soviets regarding the fate of various refugees.



(screenplay), (based on "The Interpreter" by)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Major Burnside
Janovic (as Topol)
Lieutenant Pilkington
Brigadier Bewley
Ori Levy ...
Captain Kamenev
John Collin ...
Sergeant Woody
Karel Stepanek ...
Count Kerassy
Guy Deghy ...
Mark Malicz ...
Gertan Klauber ...
Russian Major
Hana Maria Pravda ...
Beata (as Hana-Maria Pravda)
George Innes ...
Tony Selby ...
Hugh Futcher ...


Comedy set in a refugee camp in occupied Austria after World War II. A shrewd multi-lingual interpreter who mediates between Russian and British military brass enters into a friendly rivalry with British Major Giles Burnside, who is in charge of assigning the displaced persons into either the American or Russian zones. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


a rare blend of picture


Comedy | Drama | War


M | See all certifications »




Release Date:

8 August 1969 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Quiero ser libre  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Sergeant Woody: Private Amos... Is that a moustache or part of your breakfast?
See more »


I'll Make a Man of You
Music by Herman Finck
Lyrics by Arthur Wimperis
See more »

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User Reviews

Post WW2 glimpse of life in Austrian camp
8 February 2002 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

This starts out as a rather tongue-in-cheek rendering of life in a camp for displaced persons after the war in 1945 somewhere near the Austrian border. There are many humorous incidents but eventually the film's message does get serious later on.

I'm amazed at the abundance of illustrious actors making up the cast -- David Niven as Major Burnside; Topol as the effusive interpreter; John Hurt playing the youthful but intense Lieutenant Pilkington; and Anthony Quayle as Brigadier Bewley.

There are moments of deep friction in the camp between British and Russian troops on various zoning matters including the fate of the interpreter who happens to be Russian.

Although there is a fair amount of drama and mature content throughout, I have the impression that this film has been an easy interlude for all these great, serious actors. Anna Karina as Maria the local girl is a lovely addition to the cast.

The scenery is fabulous of course, being filmed on location in Austria. It is somewhat of an offbeat script, however it does hold one's attention through to the end. This movie is one I missed out on all these years so am glad to have had to opportunity to finally see it. For me such good actors can't help but create an absorbing drama.

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