Set in a German POW Camp for enlisted American airmen, a spy is discovered to be living in one of the prison barracks after an escape attempt fails resulting in the deaths of two inmates. The prisoners at once suspect Sefton, an unscrupulous inside dealer who trades almost anything with the Germans for extra privileges. After Sefton is beaten up, he himself determines to find the real spy and the result is a mixture of intrigue and betrayal leading to a surprise ending. —IMDb
Originally planning to become a lawyer, Billy Wilder abandoned that career in favor of working as a reporter for a Viennese newspaper, using this experience to move to Berlin, where he worked for the city’s largest tabloid. He broke into films as a screenwriter in 1929, and wrote scripts for many German films until Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933. Wilder immediately realized his Jewish ancestry would cause problems, so he emigrated to Paris, then the US. Although he spoke no English when he arrived in Hollywood, Wilder was a fast learner, and thanks to contacts such as Peter Lorre (with whom he shared an apartment), he was able to break into American films. His partnership with Charles Brackett started in 1938 and the team was responsible for writing some of Hollywood’s classic comedies, including Ninotchka (1939) and Ball of Fire (1941). The partnership expanded into a producer-director one in 1942, with Brackett producing, and the two turned out such classics… read more
Billy Wilder puts the right amount of comedy and drama to make what could be a depressing POW movie, into an almost feel good! Great cast and writing. William Holden was worthy of his Oscar, but also worthy of a Sunset Blvd. Oscar as well!
Maybe it's because I began this at about 11:15 pm after a very long day, but I didn't love Stalag 17 like everyone said I would. I mean, I like it. It's funny, and very smart. William Holden is a BAMF. But it just didn't work for me. I think the main thing was Holden's voiceover. It just irked me, and it's used so often that it throws the whole film off.
Billy Wilder was coming off the box office flop of ‘Ace In The Hole’, one of his most cynical diatribes against the American dream, but was not yet ready to flick the switch to lighter Lubitsch style… read review
William Holden earned an Oscar at last for his performance in this classic dramatic-comedy of prisoners of war. Legend has it that Holden flung his Academy Award backstage after his victory speech… read review