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The Wooden Horse (1950)

True story of three British POWs and their attempt to escape from Nazi Germany.


Jack Lee, Ian Dalrymple (uncredited)


Eric Williams (screenplay adapted from his novel by)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Leo Genn ... Peter Howard
David Tomlinson ... Phil Roe
Anthony Steel ... Captain John Clinton
David Greene ... Nick Bennett
Peter Burton ... Nigel
Patrick Waddington ... Group Captain Wardley - Senior British Officer
Michael Goodliffe ... Robbie
Anthony Dawson ... Pomfret
Bryan Forbes ... Paul
Dan Cunningham Dan Cunningham ... David
Peter Finch ... Australian in Hospital
Philip Dale Philip Dale ... Bill White
Russell Waters Russell Waters ... 'Wings' Cameron
Ralph Ward Ralph Ward ... Adjutant
Franz Schafheitlin Franz Schafheitlin ... Camp Commandant


In a POW camp, the Nazis have placed the huts far from the boundary so that any escape tunnel would have to be a long one. One British officer has the idea of starting a daily gynmastics routine using a vaulting horse: they can place it near the boundary and start a tunnel from under it. He and two others do escape the camp by this means and plan to make for neutral Sweden. To do that, they'll not only have to move around without arousing any suspicions, but also find a stranger from a neutral or occupied country who'll be willing and able to help them. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Charged with high voltage excitement !


Drama | History | War


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Did You Know?


David Tomlinson was shooting this whilst rehearsing and ultimately appearing in the BBC television play Miranda (1949). See more »


Whilst the escape is in progress, there is a quick shot of a German guard near the compound fence. His rifle has a British pattern webbing sling; the upper brass buckle can be seen clearly. See more »


Peter: [last lines, on meeting German officers in neutral Sweden] I believe they think we shouldn't be here.
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Referenced in Swingers' Paradise (1964) See more »


Symphony No. 6 in F major,
Pastoral", Op. 68" (uncredited)
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven
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User Reviews

Yet Another Brilliant British War Movie
21 March 2000 | by TipuSee all my reviews

In the long line of distinguished & inspiring war movies made in England in the 40's & '50s (Went The Day Well, Dam Busters, Cockleshell Heroes, One of Our Aircrafts is Missing, We Dive At Dawn) about British military personnel resisting German aggression in the second War, comes this little gem. This movie tells the story of Stalag Luft III where British airmen Leo Genn & David Tomlinson (both more famous for their roles in Quo Vadis & Mary Poppins respectively) are imprisoned. In a daring attempt the duo with one more accomplice break out of the heavily guarded camp by digging a tunnel from under their exercise title instrument. The second half of the movie concerns their attempts to reach Sweden, a neutral territory from where they can reach England.

Leo Genn performs convincingly as the pipe-smoking elder Flight Lt. who goads & coaxes the younger David Tomlinson on, first through the tunnel & then through enemy territory. Both had war time experiences & borrow heavily from that. Peter Finch has one of his first roles as a Australian soldier who helps in the escape plan. Two of the funniest parts of the movie are the 'venture capitalists' in the form of the escape committee headed by senior officers approving of the plan & later financing it, & the retort of one of the injured soldiers in the hospital to a German comment that Beethoven is a good German.

So ignore some of the incongruencies and enjoy this suspensor. It is no 'Stalag 17', but still a good entertainer all the way.

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English | German | Danish | French

Release Date:

7 September 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Calul de lemn See more »

Filming Locations:

Denmark See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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