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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008)
"The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas" (original title)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, War  |  26 November 2008 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 118,172 users   Metascore: 55/100
Reviews: 374 user | 182 critic | 28 from Metacritic.com

Set during World War II, a story seen through the innocent eyes of Bruno, the eight-year-old son of the commandant at a concentration camp, whose forbidden friendship with a Jewish boy on the other side of the camp fence has startling and unexpected consequences.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Zac Mattoon O'Brien ...
Leon (as Zac Mattoon-O'Brien)
Domonkos Németh ...
Henry Kingsmill ...
Zsuzsa Holl ...
Berlin Cook
László Áron ...
Palm Court Singer
Iván Verebély ...
Béla Fesztbaum ...


Young Bruno lives a wealthy lifestyle in prewar Germany along with his mother, elder sister, and SS Commandant father. The family relocates to the countryside where his father is assigned to take command a prison camp. A few days later, Bruno befriends another youth, strangely dressed in striped pajamas, named Shmuel who lives behind an electrified fence. Bruno will soon find out that he is not permitted to befriend his new friend as he is a Jew, and that the neighboring yard is actually a prison camp for Jews awaiting extermination. Written by rAjOo (gunwanti@hotmail.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

jew | boy | nazis | poison gas | fence | See All (149) »


Zäune trennen, doch Hoffnung eint. (Fences divide, but hope unites.) See more »


Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some mature thematic material involving the Holocaust | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

26 November 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$12,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£513,653 (UK) (12 September 2008)


$9,030,581 (USA) (16 January 2009)

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Vera Farmiga who plays the boy's mother is shown wearing her wedding band on her right hand. For Germany, this is correct and an excellent accurate detail. See more »


"The story mixes up the German Wehrmacht (army) and the SS (Hitler's paramilitary "protective" forces). While the Wehrmacht was not directly involved in the holocaust (though they committed war crimes and killed civilians), the SS was in charge of the concentration camps. Bruno's father's uniform is a mix of Wehrmacht and SS. The Wehrmacht uniforms were green, whereas SS uniforms were black and had the skull ("Totenkopf") symbol on the cap." Incorrect: the black "allgemeine SS" uniform, so beloved of Hollywood because of its iconographic qualities, was discontinued during the war. On the green 1940-1945 SS uniforms, the black colour was only retained on the peaked cap bands, the collar patches, as underlay for badges and on some varieties of shoulder board pipings. Camp Guards wore copper-brown uniform piping, the "waffenfarbe", denoting the camp guards branch. Just look at the original pictures of uniformed SS guards in the camps from the period 1940-1945. See more »


[first lines]
Mother: Hello, sweetheart.
Bruno: Mum, what's going on?
Mother: We're celebrating.
Bruno: Celebrating?
Mother: Mm, your father's been given a promotion.
Gretel: That means a better job.
Bruno: I know what promotion is.
Mother: So we're having a little party to celebrate.
Bruno: He's still going to be a soldier though, isn't he?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Quotation displayed before the opening titles: "Childhood is measured out by sounds and smells and sights, before the dark hour of reason grows - John Betjeman" See more »


Referenced in Friendship Beyond the Fence (2009) See more »


Rhythm For You
Written by Eddy Christiani, Frans Poptie
Courtesy of APM Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

All things truly wicked start from an innocence-Ernest Hemingway
29 November 2008 | by (Chicago, Illinois) – See all my reviews

I was so excited my theater got The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, from the moment I saw this trailer, I knew I was in for a treat. This movie just looked incredible, even though it's a touchy subject with the holocaust, it still looked like it was going to be a great story. Everyone always makes a comment about the innocence of childhood, what it was like to just not have reason, to just go with the flow of things before adults tell you what you have to do. So I watched The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas today and this movie seriously is one of the saddest films I have ever seen, but I felt it was very maturely handled. The actors are great and the story is very touching, to watch these two boys from two completely different worlds who come together just to have fun, be boys, not because of the difference of their background.

Set during World War II, a story seen through the innocent eyes of Bruno, the eight-year-old son of the commandant at a concentration camp, whose forbidden friendship with a Jewish boy on the other side of the camp fence. The boys have a great friendship talking every day, enjoying the company. But when the father gives Bruno a Nazi propaganda loving tutor, Bruno becomes confused, is his father an evil man or is his friend the evil one? Love his country and do his duty or don't judge and just stay true to his friend? Bruno must decide all this with some scary consequences ahead of him.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is a fantastic film, though if you see it, I do recommend bringing the tissues. I couldn't believe the chemistry they had with these two young actors, they worked so well together as these innocent boys who both have no idea what's going on. Bruno doesn't know why his friend is behind fences, and his friend doesn't know why he's there either. The ending is extremely powerful and the story keeps you interested. I do recommend seeing The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, it's a treasure from 2008.


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