Babbie Crotty

Babbie Crotty

Modified & Updated: 08 Sep 2023


Stalag 17, a classic American war film released in 1953, is a gripping tale set during World War II that takes place in a German prisoner-of-war camp. Directed by the legendary Billy Wilder, this movie has become a timeless piece of cinema, captivating audiences with its thrilling storyline and exceptional performances. Stalag 17 follows the journey of a group of American soldiers who are imprisoned in the camp and suspect that there may be a spy in their midst. As they navigate the challenges of captivity, tensions rise, suspicion mounts, and alliances are tested. In this article, we will delve into 35 fascinating facts about Stalag 17, offering a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film and shedding light on some lesser-known details that even avid movie enthusiasts may not be aware of. So, let’s embark on this cinematic journey and explore the world of Stalag 17!

Table of Contents

The movie Stalag 17 is a 1953 war film directed by Billy Wilder.

Stalag 17 is a classic war film that was released in Directed by the renowned filmmaker Billy Wilder, the movie is set in a German prisoner of war camp during World War II.

The screenplay for Stalag 17 was based on a play of the same name.

The screenplay for Stalag 17 was adapted from a Broadway play written by Donald Bevan and Edmund Trzcinski. The play was based on their own experiences as prisoners of war during the war.

The film stars William Holden in the lead role.

William Holden portrays the character of Sergeant J.J. Sefton, a cynical and self-serving prisoner who becomes the target of suspicion when a fellow prisoner is killed.

Stalag 17 received critical acclaim upon its release.

Upon its release, Stalag 17 received widespread critical acclaim for its realistic portrayal of life in a prisoner of war camp. The film was praised for its sharp dialogue, well-developed characters, and powerful performances.

The movie won the Academy Award for Best Actor.

William Holden’s outstanding performance in Stalag 17 earned him the Academy Award for Best Actor. His portrayal of Sergeant J.J. Sefton remains one of his most memorable roles.

Stalag 17 is known for its dark humor.

The film masterfully blends drama and comedy, using dark humor to explore the themes of survival, loyalty, and betrayal. This unique approach has made Stalag 17 a standout in the war film genre.

The movie was shot entirely on a single set.

To create the realistic atmosphere of a prisoner of war camp, the entire film was shot on a meticulously designed set. This allowed the filmmakers to control every aspect of the environment and enhance the sense of confinement experienced by the characters.

Stalag 17 inspired other films and TV shows.

The success of Stalag 17 paved the way for other films and TV shows set in prisoner of war camps. Its influence can be seen in projects like Hogan’s Heroes, The Great Escape, and The Bridge on the River Kwai.

The movie was praised for its ensemble cast.

Stalag 17 features a talented ensemble cast, with each actor delivering a memorable performance. The chemistry among the actors adds depth and authenticity to the relationships portrayed on screen.

The film explores the concept of loyalty.

Stalag 17 examines the complexities of loyalty in a wartime setting. The characters are faced with difficult choices, testing their allegiance to their fellow prisoners and their own survival instincts.

Stalag 17 was a box office success.

The film was not only critically acclaimed but also performed well at the box office, becoming one of the highest-grossing movies of Its commercial success further solidified its place in cinematic history.

The movie highlights the camaraderie among prisoners of war.

Stalag 17 showcases the strong bonds that form among the prisoners of war as they navigate the challenges of captivity. The theme of friendship and support is a recurring motif throughout the film.

The script underwent revisions to add humor.

To balance the serious and dramatic elements, the script for Stalag 17 was revised to include more humor. This decision helped to create a more engaging and entertaining viewing experience.

Stalag 17 remains a beloved classic.

Decades after its release, Stalag 17 continues to be celebrated as a classic war film. Its enduring popularity is a testament to its timeless themes and compelling storytelling.

The movie explores the theme of suspicion and betrayal.

Central to the plot of Stalag 17 is the theme of suspicion and betrayal. The characters grapple with trust issues and must navigate a web of deceit to uncover the truth.

The film captures the harsh realities of war.

Stalag 17 doesn’t shy away from portraying the hardships and sacrifices endured by prisoners of war. The stark and realistic depiction of life in the camp adds depth to the narrative.

The movie features memorable supporting characters.

Alongside William Holden’s iconic performance, Stalag 17 introduces a memorable roster of supporting characters that contribute to the overall richness of the story.

Stalag 17 is based on real-life experiences.

The screenplay for Stalag 17 draws inspiration from the real-life experiences of the playwrights, Bevan and Trzcinski, who were prisoners of war themselves. This authenticity adds an extra layer of depth to the storytelling.

The film tackles themes of resilience and hope.

Despite the grim circumstances, Stalag 17 conveys a message of resilience and hope. The characters find strength in their determination to survive and maintain their sense of humanity.

The movie has a twist ending.

Stalag 17 is renowned for its unexpected twist ending, which adds an element of suspense and keeps the audience on the edge of their seats.

Some scenes were improvised by the actors.

To enhance the naturalistic feel of the film, some scenes in Stalag 17 were improvised by the talented cast members. This spontaneity adds authenticity to their performances.

Stalag 17 was a critical and commercial success in its time.

Upon its release, Stalag 17 received positive reviews from both critics and audiences. Its success at the box office solidified its place as one of the most memorable war films of the era.

The movie endures as a testament to the human spirit.

Stalag 17 explores the resilience, camaraderie, and determination of the human spirit in the face of adversity, making it a timeless and inspiring film.

Stalag 17 is considered one of the best war films ever made.

Many film critics and historians consider Stalag 17 to be one of the greatest war films ever made. Its artful blend of drama, humor, and social commentary sets it apart from other movies in the genre.

The film raises ethical questions.

Stalag 17 raises thought-provoking ethical questions about morality, loyalty, and the choices individuals make in extreme circumstances.

The movie’s success led to a Broadway revival of the play.

Following the success of the film, the play Stalag 17 was revived on Broadway, attracting a new generation of theatergoers interested in experiencing the story in live performances.

Stalag 17 showcases Billy Wilder’s versatility as a director.

Billy Wilder, already known for his diverse filmography, demonstrated his versatility once again with Stalag The film showcases his ability to tackle different genres while maintaining his unique storytelling style.

The movie was a turning point for William Holden’s career.

Stalag 17 marked a turning point in William Holden’s career, solidifying his position as a leading actor in Hollywood. His nuanced performance earned him critical acclaim and led to more challenging roles in the future.

The film’s score was composed by Franz Waxman.

The haunting and evocative score of Stalag 17 was composed by the legendary Franz Waxman. His music heightens the tension and emotion of the film, adding to its overall impact.

Stalag 17 tackles the topic of espionage.

Amidst the backdrop of war, Stalag 17 delves into the world of espionage and the risks associated with gathering intelligence. The film successfully incorporates elements of intrigue and suspense.

The movie was a critical success upon its release.

When Stalag 17 was first released, it received widespread critical acclaim for its intelligent and engaging storytelling. Critics praised its exploration of the human condition in wartime.

Stalag 17 was nominated for three Academy Awards.

In addition to William Holden’s win for Best Actor, Stalag 17 received nominations for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay at the Academy Awards.

The film is known for its memorable dialogue.

Stalag 17 is renowned for its sharp and memorable dialogue, filled with quotable lines that have become ingrained in cinematic history.

The movie remains relevant today.

The themes explored in Stalag 17 – loyalty, survival, and the human spirit – continue to resonate with audiences today, ensuring the film’s enduring relevance.

Stalag 17 is a must-watch for fans of war films.

Whether you’re a fan of war films or simply appreciate a well-crafted story, Stalag 17 deserves a place on your watchlist. Its compelling narrative, strong performances, and thought-provoking themes make it a true cinematic gem.


Stalag 17 is a classic war film that has captivated audiences for decades. With its gripping storyline, memorable characters, and powerful performances, it continues to be a beloved movie among fans of the genre. From its origins as a Broadway play to its successful adaptation onto the big screen, Stalag 17 has left an indelible mark on cinema history. Whether you are a fan of war movies or simply appreciate great storytelling, Stalag 17 is definitely worth watching.


Q: Who directed Stalag 17?

A: Stalag 17 was directed by Billy Wilder, who also co-wrote the screenplay based on the play by Donald Bevan and Edmund Trzcinski.

Q: When was Stalag 17 released?

A: Stalag 17 was released on July 1, 1953.

Q: What is the plot of Stalag 17?

A: The movie revolves around a group of American POWs held in a German prison camp during World War II. Suspicions arise that there may be a traitor among them, leading to suspense and intrigue as they try to uncover the identity of the informant.

Q: Who are the main actors in Stalag 17?

A: The film features a talented cast, including William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger, and Robert Strauss.

Q: Has Stalag 17 won any awards?

A: Yes, Stalag 17 won the Academy Award for Best Actor for William Holden’s performance.

Q: Is Stalag 17 based on a true story?

A: No, Stalag 17 is a work of fiction, although it borrows elements from real-life experiences of prisoners of war during World War II.

Q: What is the runtime of Stalag 17?

A: The movie has a runtime of approximately 2 hours and 1 minute.

Q: Is Stalag 17 available on streaming platforms?

A: Stalag 17 is often available for streaming on various platforms such as Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu.

Q: Does Stalag 17 have a happy ending?

A: Without giving away any spoilers, Stalag 17 has a satisfying conclusion that leaves audiences with a sense of closure.

Q: Is Stalag 17 suitable for all audiences?

A: Stalag 17 is generally suitable for mature audiences due to its war theme and some intense scenes. It is recommended to check the film’s rating and content advisory before watching.