8.0/10
47,100
155 user 89 critic

Stalag 17 (1953)

When two escaping American World War II prisoners are killed, the German P.O.W. camp barracks black marketeer, J.J. Sefton, is suspected of being an informer.

Director:

Billy Wilder

Writers:

Billy Wilder (written for the screen by), Edwin Blum (written for the screen by) | 2 more credits »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A frustrated former big-city journalist now stuck working for an Albuquerque newspaper exploits a story about a man trapped in a cave to re-jump start his career, but the situation quickly escalates into an out-of-control circus.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Jan Sterling, Robert Arthur
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The desperate life of a chronic alcoholic is followed through a four-day drinking bout.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Ray Milland, Jane Wyman, Phillip Terry
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

In West Berlin during the Cold War, a Coca-Cola executive is given the task of taking care of his boss' socialite daughter.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: James Cagney, Horst Buchholz, Pamela Tiffin
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In occupied Berlin, an army captain is torn between an ex-Nazi café singer and the U.S. congresswoman investigating her.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Jean Arthur, Marlene Dietrich, John Lund
Sabrina (1954)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A playboy becomes interested in the daughter of his family's chauffeur, but it's his more serious brother who would be the better man for her.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

In a murder trial, the defendant says he suffered temporary insanity after the victim raped his wife. What is the truth, and will he win his case?

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara
Adventure | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Charles 'Slim' Lindbergh struggles to finance and design an airplane that will make his New York to Paris flight the first solo transatlantic crossing.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: James Stewart, Murray Hamilton, Patricia Smith
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A middle-aged playboy becomes fascinated by the daughter of a private detective who has been hired to entrap him with the wife of a client.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Gary Cooper, Audrey Hepburn, Maurice Chevalier
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A crooked lawyer persuades his brother-in-law to feign a serious injury.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Ron Rich
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A senator, who became famous for killing a notorious outlaw, returns for the funeral of an old friend and tells the truth about his deed.

Director: John Ford
Stars: James Stewart, John Wayne, Vera Miles
Harvey (1950)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Due to his insistence that he has an invisible six foot-tall rabbit for a best friend, a whimsical middle-aged man is thought by his family to be insane - but he may be wiser than anyone knows.

Director: Henry Koster
Stars: James Stewart, Wallace Ford, William H. Lynn
Irma la Douce (1963)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In Paris, a former policeman falls in love with a prostitute, and tries to get her out of that life by paying for all of her time.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Lou Jacobi
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
William Holden ... Sgt. J.J. Sefton
Don Taylor ... Lt. James Dunbar
Otto Preminger ... Oberst von Scherbach
Robert Strauss ... Sgt. Stanislaus 'Animal' Kuzawa
Harvey Lembeck ... Sgt. Harry Shapiro
Richard Erdman ... Sgt. 'Hoffy' Hoffman
Peter Graves ... Sgt. Frank Price
Neville Brand ... Duke
Sig Ruman ... Sgt. Johann Sebastian Schulz
Michael Moore Michael Moore ... Sgt. Manfredi
Peter Baldwin ... Sgt. Johnson
Robinson Stone Robinson Stone ... Joey
Robert Shawley ... Sgt. 'Blondie' Peterson
William Pierson ... Marko the Mailman
Gil Stratton ... Sgt. Clarence Harvey 'Cookie' Cook (as Gil Stratton Jr.)
Edit

Storyline

It's a dreary Christmas 1944 for the American POWs in Stalag 17. For the men in Barracks 4, all sergeants, have to deal with a grave problem - there seems to be a security leak. The Germans always seem to be forewarned about escapes and in the most recent attempt the two men, Manfredi and Johnson, walked straight into a trap and were killed. For some in Barracks 4, especially the loud-mouthed Duke, the leaker is obvious: J.J. Sefton, a wheeler-dealer who doesn't hesitate to trade with the guards and who has acquired goods and privileges that no other prisoner seems to have. Sefton denies giving the Germans any information and makes it quite clear that he has no intention of ever trying to escape. He plans to ride out the war in what little comfort he can arrange, but it doesn't extend to spying for the Germans. As tensions mount and a mob mentality takes root, it becomes obvious that Sefton will have to find the real snitch if he is to have any peace and avoid the beatings Duke and ... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Hilarious, heart-tugging! You'll laugh...you'll cry...you'll cheer William Holden in his great Academy Award role! (from reissue print ad)

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German | Russian

Release Date:

10 August 1953 (Brazil) See more »

Also Known As:

Infierno en la tierra See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$1,661,530 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,000,000, 31 January 1955
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Billy Wilder filmed the movie at a studio-owned ranch in Agoura Hills, California. He wore his best shoes and made sure cast and crew saw him with those shoes on in the mud. Wilder felt he could not ask his co-workers to work in the mud unless they saw him do the same. See more »

Goofs

The length of the lamp cord for the mailbox signal changes in many scenes. When we see it "knotted" and Shultz pulls it down the first time, it sets less than a foot over the table. Then in another scene, it is hung closer to 3 feet over the same table. In the next mail drop, it again pulls down very close to the table. Then after the information about the "time bomb" is delivered, it now hangs higher again. See more »

Quotes

Animal: Marko: All right
[shouts]
Animal: At ease! Animal:
[making fun of Marko]
Animal: At ease!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Paramount Presents (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

I Love You (Je t'aime)
(1923) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Archer
Lyrics by Harlan Thompson
Played on a record and sung by Ross Bagdasarian
Played also as dance music
Sung a bit by Robert Strauss
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

A great film headed by a classic director and strong star William Holden
4 August 2004 | by NoArrowSee all my reviews

William Holden is always in the shadows in `Stalag 17', he's always behind the characters or off to the side of the camera. You see, despite Holden's character Sgt. J.J. Sefton being the film's main character, he is only seen through the eyes of his fellow POWs, rarely ever alone. When they start to think he's the spy so do we. Oh, sure, we know he isn't the rat (movies don't do things like that), but since the story is told by all of the POWs who think Sefton is the rat, we start to think like them too. That is the mastery of Billy Wilder's `Stalag 17', it takes the film's most interesting character and sets him apart from the rest for most of the film, letting us learn about him as the characters do.

The story focuses on a group of POWs living in the American section of Stalag 17, supposedly the 's best POW camp. Among them are barracks chief Hoffy (Richard Erdman), Price (Peter Graves), Shapiro (Harvey Lembeck) and Animal Casava (Robert Strauss). They all have their own special job when their fellow prisoners try to escape, Price, for instance, is ‘security'. The film starts when two prisoners try to escape the barracks. Everyone inside is enthused, thinking the two will make it very far, except Sefton, who bets precious cigarettes that they wont make it past the outer forest. When he turns out to be right the POWs start thinking there's a rat and that rat is Sefton. And as the first hour passes we think so too, it's only logical, Sefton has any luxuries because of his deals with the s.

The POWs start to bully Sefton, and once they beat him to a pulp he decides to discover who the real rat is (at this point, of course, we know he is ). His investigation isn't handled with dialogue though, we get this by seeing his facial expressions and his lurking in the shadows of the barracks.

So, what starts as a light, `gung-ho' type war movie (there's lots of comedy in the first hour) turns into a dark, sort of gritty thriller with a twist that left me with my mouth open. I wont reveal it, but I'll just say that Sefton smartly solves the mystery and redeems himself to the rest of the barracks (I didn't spoil anything, come on, it's expected).

As I said, there's lots of comedy in the first hour and some in the second, mostly from Strauss and Lembeck's characters. Some of the comedy is key in showing how these characters cope with their nearly hopeless situation, handled well by Wilder and the actors (Strauss' performance even gained him an Oscar nomination) but some of it just seems tacked on and out of place, like when a drunken Strauss thinks that Lembeck is a hell.

But that is a small qualm, and the rest of the film is excellent. The direction and writing are great in showing us a war film, a mystery, a thriller and a dark comedy all at once. I'd have to say I like the acting the most though, Holden (who won a leading Oscar for his work in this) is suave and charming, as well as mischievous and cynical, he creates a real `cool' character without trying too. And the rest of the cast - Graves, Otto Preminger - are admirable as well. The POWs aren't clichés or caricatures, they're all their own separate people.

`Stalag 17' is great as a war movie, a mystery, a thriller and a dark comedy. It's a classic film, for all who appreciate good cinema, 8.5/10.


60 of 69 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 155 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed