Stalag 17

Synopsis: One night in 1944 in a German POW camp housing American airmen, two prisoners try to escape the compound and are quickly discovered and shot dead. Among the remaining men, suspicion grows that one of their own is a spy for the Germans. All eyes fall on Sgt. Sefton (William Holden) who everybody knows frequently makes exchanges with German guards for small luxuries. To protect himself from a mob of his enraged fellow inmates, Sgt. Sefton resolves to find the true traitor within their midst.
Genre: Comedy, Drama, War
Production: Paramount Home Video
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 5 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
120 min



Beyond it, more barbed wire. Ice has formed on the strands.

Now and then searchlight beams crisscross the pattern. As

the CAMERA SLOWLY MOVES along the double fence, SUPERIMPOSE -



A wide expanse of barren ground checkered with clusters of

barracks, sectioned off into compounds by double barbed-wire

fences, nine feet high. Searchlights sweep over the barracks,

the muddy ground with the snow patches, and the pine forest

beyond the barbed-wire. The searchlights come from the goon

towers -- little guard houses elevated on poles --

interspersed along the fences.


(with an occasional


I don't know about you, but it always

make me sore when I see those war

pictures -- all about flying leather-

necks and submarine patrols and

frogmen and guerillas in the

Philippines. I don't want to take

anything away from those guys, but

what gets me is that there never was

a movie about P.O.W.s -- about

prisoners of war. Now my name is

Clarence Harvey Cook, -- they call

me Cookie. I was shot down over

Magdeburg, Germany back in 43. That's

why I stammer a little once in a

while, especially when I get excited

and I always get excited when I talk

about Stalag 17. I spent two and a

half years in Stalag 17. Stalag is

the Kraut word for prison camp and

number 17 was somewhere near Krems

on the Danube. There were about forty

thousand P.O.W.s there, if...


In the foreground the big gate. Above it a sign: STALAG 17-

D. On both sides of the gate German guards in heavy coats,

rifles slung over their shoulders. They stomp about in

enormous boots with high cork soles to keep warm. Beyond the

gate about eight low barracks form a U about the Appell-

ground. They are primitive one-story wooden structures all

set up on stilts about two feet high. From one of the

buildings -- the Administration Building -- flies the

swastika. In between the barracks are the wash latrines. A

road runs through the slushy compound to the compound beyond.


A couple of German guards up there, one at the machine gun,

the other working the searchlight.


you bothered to count the Russians

and the Poles and the Czechs. In our

Compound there were about six hundred

and thirty of us -- all American

airmen, all shot down by the Krauts --

radio operators, gunners and engineers --

all sergeants. Now you put six hundred

and thirty sergeants together and

boinnnnng! -- you've got yourself a

situation! There was more fireworks

shooting off around that place! Take

for instance the story about the spy

we had in our barrack. It was about

a week before Christmas in '44 and

two of our guys -- Manfredi and

Johnson to be exact -- were just

getting set to blow the joint...

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Billy Wilder

Billy Wilder was an Austrian-born American filmmaker, screenwriter, producer, artist and journalist, whose career spanned more than fifty years and sixty films. more…

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Submitted by aviv on November 02, 2016


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"Stalag 17" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 9 Jul 2020. <>.

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