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Information

Year
1953
Runtime
120 min.
Director
Billy Wilder
Genres
Drama, Comedy, War
Rating *
8.0
Votes *
44,174
Checks
6,799
Favs
597
Dislikes
43
Favs/checks
8.8% (1:11)
Favs/dislikes
14:1
* View IMDb information

Top comments

  1. gregmnewman's avatar

    gregmnewman

    Some of the happiest and healthiest POWs ever seen, but who cares. Great film. 12 years 6 months ago
  2. inhonoredglory's avatar

    inhonoredglory

    I was really excited to see this, since I knew it was the seed of inspiration for my favorite series Hogan's Heroes. The similarities are astounding - from a tubby guard named Schultz to the "no escape" record of the Kommandant to the fraternizing and trading between prisoners and Germans. It was humorously incredible!
    But the movie was as well, standing on its own. The opening scene with the overview of the huge prison camp really let us know what we were in for. I loved that they made a movie out of this concept. War and other dark subjects are frequently expounded and explained on film; the plight, struggles, hope, and humor of prisoners of war should get their share of attention from a civilian world that so often is ignorant of these military realities. A little introduction to this world can easily lead to more research, greater appreciation, and perhaps even a lifelong study (as what happened with me for my WWII appreciation, courtesy Hogan's Heroes).
    But on with the movie - I was really surprised by the rich combination of drama and humor, laughter and poignancy, and of the brief character studies of many of the occupants of Barracks 4. Robert Strauss (as "Animal") and Harvey Lembeck (as Shapiro) really stole the show; their characters and acting really shine. The plot picks up about halfway through the film and doesn't let up from there. There are many memorable scenes (getting to the Russian women), laugh-out-loud moments (the reading of Mein Kamph), and heart-clutching moments (the lieutenant's interrogation).
    The Collector Edition's accompanying mini-documentary on the real POWs of Stalag 17 puts the film in perspective and really made me appreciate what they went through.
    Overall, a fantastic movie - rich and richly acted.
    12 years 9 months ago
  3. Siskoid's avatar

    Siskoid

    The granddaddy of POW movies, Billy Wilder's Stalag 17 is obviously as much in the DNA of The Great Escape as it is in that of Hogan's Heroes (or even M*A*S*H). We follow a group of American POWs in a German prison camp who suspect they have a spy among them. William Holden is the prisoner they suspect as he's a master trader, but are they right? What's striking (and ultimately the most influential) is just how much of the film's real estate is given over to barracks life and clownish shenanigans. Wilder juggles varying tones beautifully, allowing a lot of levity in what is essentially a World War II thriller, and yet never deflating the more dramatic scenes. The result is a comedy that comes from character and situation, and thus feels as real as the tense escape attempts or confrontations with deadly Nazis. Plenty of good moments - some ribald, some quiet, some exciting - and characters that will grow on you. 5 years 10 months ago
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In 7 official lists

  1. This movie ranks #23 in 101 War Movies You Must See Before You Die
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    101 War Movies You Must …

    23
  2. This movie ranks #56 in François Truffaut's The Films in My Life
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    François Truffaut's The …

    56
  3. This movie ranks #80 in iCheckMovies's 1950s Top 100
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    iCheckMovies's 1950s Top…

    80
  4. This movie ranks #235 in Eureka!'s The Masters of Cinema Series
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    Eureka!'s The Masters of…

    235
  5. This movie ranks #416 in Emma Beare's 501 Must-See Movies
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    Emma Beare's 501 Must-Se…

    416
  6. This movie ranks #737 in Doubling the Canon
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    Doubling the Canon

    737
  7. This movie ranks #818 in The New York Times's Book of Movies
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    818
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