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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 117,745 users   Metascore: 55/100
Reviews: 374 user | 182 critic | 28 from

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 (

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?


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 »


As Bruno is waving goodbye to his friends near the beginning of the film, you can see some gates behind his friends. There were electronic motor actuators on these gates that would not have been around during the 1940s. 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 »


Mein Regiment, mein Heimatland
Adapted from Traditional Soldier's Song
Performed by Singschar der Kradschützen-Kompanie der Aufklärungs Abt.3
Courtesy of The Tomahawk Films
WW-II German Archive, UK
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A very good film
15 September 2008 | by (UK) – See all my reviews

When my son (nearly 12 years old) read the book he was awake until 5am that night thinking about the story and what it all meant; he had some penetrating questions too. A day or so later he said that he thought that it would make a good film, and imagine his delight when he saw that there was a film of the book.

I have taken him to see the film; and was riveted. I think that the style of the film is really that of an old fashioned family film, however the subject matter is emotionally very demanding and all the better for that. It does what good drama should do - makes you think and feel. As the credits ran, at the showing that I saw, no one moved or spoke for a minute or two. The Holocaust is a difficult subject, but to tell a story in such a way that it is accessible to a 12 year is a great achievement.

There have been some comments that the cast speak English (rather than, presumably, German) and that this is somehow a bad thing. What are the alternatives? Either sub-titles or daft 'ello 'ello accents. In some ways the ordinariness of the Nazis and the family points up the horror of what happened – that ordinary people can do the worst of things to fellow human beings.

194 of 235 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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