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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 120,347 users   Metascore: 55/100
Reviews: 375 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) »


Lines may divide us, but hope will unite us... 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
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Did You Know?


The story is in some parts the story of Rudolph Höss, two times commander in Auschwitz. The name "Ralf" is a play with names. His wife did not want him "in bed" after realizing what they where doing in the camp (whereupon he was unfaithful with the maid). The house in which the film is made, looks remarkably like their house close to Auschwitz. The children became aware of the camp. His rank (Lieutenant Colonel ) is same as Höss had at the time. In real life, however, Höss had four children and of course what happened in the movie did not happen to the Höss family. See more »


In the train Gretel is saying a prayer before sleep, but Nazis excluded any religious education from the schools, as well as following such traditions was not welcomed by the regime. 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

One of the most affecting pieces of Cinema released in years
22 September 2008 | by (Dublin, Ireland) – See all my reviews

There are more dramatic and more philosophical pieces of cinema dealing with this very emotive subject, but few deal with the horror, futility and falsehood of the "final solution" with such clear simplicity. We see the lead characters as both humans and monsters we see internal conflict and how they each come to terms with their conflicts, above all we see how futile their conclusions were.

There will be the predictable comparisons with Schindler's List but you might also want to compare this movie to "The Counterfeiters" which also deals with the conflicts necessary to survive. Watching this movie I kept being drawn back to Primo Levi's book "If This is Man" the story of his time as a prisoner suffering from this evil.

The great success of the film is its simplicity, it does not seek to over analyse but simply allows the development of the characters to tell the story.

One of the contributers spoke of how he was in screen 9 (if I remember correctly) in Cineworld Dublin - I was in Screen 11 and I can had the same experience, the film ended and no one moved, all were in a state of shock, no, sorrow. This is not a film for young children, but older children and adults familiar with the evil addressed in this movie should go and see it. This movie deserves great success. I rate it 9 out of 10 and would have given it a perfect score except for some small technical questions, but none that take away from this fantastic piece of cinema - All associated with this movie should be rightly proud of there work and if any of you read these comments - Thank You!

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