Stalag 17

Stalag 17 (1953)

10 corrected entries

(4 votes)

Corrected entry: Even when POW's, Americans are still considered members of the military and subject to military laws and regulations. Accordingly, Lt. Dunbar would have taken command of barracks 4 as soon as he was assigned to live there. This would not have been an option but required not only by him but by Hoffy, the enlisted man and barracks commander, who would have immediately handed command to the higher ranking Dunbar. Also the Germans would not have recognized anyone but Dunbar as barracks commander by virtue of his rank.

Correction: Lt Dunbar was put in Stalag 17, barracks 4, only because he blew up a train and they could not get him to the officer's POW camp. Since he was temporary he might not have wanted real command of the barracks. The Germans ended up taking him away the first night anyway because he was a saboteur and no longer considered a POW.


Corrected entry: When the Commandant asks Lt. Dunbar for his serial number; Dunbar has to read it from his dog tag. Military members knew their serial number (which was not your social security in those days) as well as their name; I still remember mine 45 years later.

Correction: All new prisoners received a German-issued identification number, i.e., "Jerry dog-tags," when they first arrived in camp. Lt. Dunbar couldn't have been expected to know this new number when asked by the Commandant because he would have just been issued it (by the Germans) the day before.

Corrected entry: How did goofy Joey know where his wooden flute landed in the muddy puddle? One of his fellow prisoners threw it there when the commandant and his officers weren't looking.

Don Hendrick

Correction: Joey acted more like a silent observer. As such, he would have watched Animal toss the piccolo into the water, splashing on Von Scherbach's boots.

Movie Nut

Corrected entry: At the end, when Sefton has unmasked Price as the spy, he reaches into Price's coat and pulls out the black queen, stating "The one you pulled out from the corner of your bunk and put in this pocket!" When the camera was looking at Price pulling the queen out, Sefton was on his back looking in the direction of his feet, which were pointed at the wall next to the window. So he couldn't have witnessed the event.

Movie Nut

Correction: By that point Sefton knows Price is the spy. It's reasonable to assume he'd investigate and learn where the hollow queen is.

Corrected entry: At the end of the movie, Sefton escapes with Dunbar. In response to the question "I wonder why he did it?", Animal suggests that "Maybe he just wanted to steal our wire cutters." In reality, escaping prisoners would never take the wire cutters through the wire with them. They were too hard to replace. After cutting the wire, the procedure would be to hide the cutters inside the fence nearby at a prearranged spot to be retrieved later by the prisoners and then reused.

Jim Mayer

Correction: It's possible Sefton did leave them behind. It's also possible he kept them, simply because he wasn't aware he needed to leave them. After all, it as a spur of the moment decision to allow him to be the one to escape.

Corrected entry: Near the beginning of the film when two of the POW's are caught and shot trying to escape,they walk into a German machine gun nest. The machine gun is an American Browning 1919 A4, which was definitely NOT German military issue.

Correction: It's very plausible that the machine gun was captured equipment. And why not? The Germans captured our jeeps, tanks, planes, and used them against us. There is even a factual account of the Germans using one of our B-17's to "group up" with a squadron of 17's.

Corrected entry: We know the movie takes place in December of 1944 because of the reference to the Battle of the Bulge. That winter was particularly cold yet we see mud and water on the ground with remnants of snow and ice on the buildings. In addition the barracks windows are frosted over throughout the movie; this frost would melt away before ice and snow on the ground.

Correction: There isn't any reference as to where the POW camp was located; it could have been located in a milder part of Germany; Poland;etc, where the weather was not so severe. As I recall from my days in Pennsylvania, we had frosted windows and no snow;caused by the heat from inside the house colliding with the cold air outside. Also, all the POW camps that housed airmen were called Stalagluft.

Corrected entry: Inmates in German POW camps did not receive sufficient food. This was particularly true late in the war when even the German people were beginning to go hungry. Yet in this film, which took place late in the war, all the inmates appear to be well fed and even fat such as Animal. There is no logical reason for this because the prisoners are only fed soup which is shown to be so inedible it's used to wash clothes.

Correction: It is stated in the movie that almost all of the inmates trade with the Germans. Sefton has a distillery, and can even get fresh eggs.

Corrected entry: A great deal is made in the opening about the escape attempt taking place on 'the longest night of the year', meaning December 21. Yet the narrator says that the barracks were rousted out the next morning at 6 a.m. to view the bodies of the would-be escapees, and the sun is high in the sky.

Correction: The prisoners were brought out at 6 AM and forced to stand in the mud. The commandant made them wait several hours that way to punish them.

Corrected entry: During World War II American military personnel used the slang term "Kraut" to refer to Germans, and British military personnel used the term "Jerry." This film featured American POW's and no Brits yet the term "Jerry" was almost exclusively used.

Correction: It's a possibility that the U.S. POWs were members of the British RAF and they picked the term up.

Stalag 17 mistake picture

Continuity mistake: When the POWs are preparing to move Dunbar, Sefton draws his pocketknife and throws it into the table, slanted, near a square etched into the tabletop. In the following shot, the knife is farther away from the square, and it stands up straight. (01:48:15)

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More mistakes in Stalag 17

Duke: What'd you give the Krauts for that egg?
Sefton: Forty-five cigarettes. The price has gone up.
Duke: They wouldn't be the cigarettes you took us for last night?
Sefton: What was I going to do with them? I only smoke cigars.

More quotes from Stalag 17

Trivia: One of the actors in the movie was Edmund Trzcinski. He was actually an American POW in a German Stalag, and wrote a play based on his experiences there. From there, the movie was made, based on the play, and he was actually cast in a role, as himself, re-creating it for the silver screen.

Robert Cotton

More trivia for Stalag 17

Question: I've heard that, because the film was shot in sequential order, some of the actors were unaware who the spy is until the last three days of filming. When they were offered their roles, wouldn't they have received a copy of the script to read in advance to learn their lines?

Cubs Fan Premium member

Answer: The cast would have received copies of the script but with parts of the last scene omitted. They would be given the missing pages during the last days of the shoot, in which time they learn their lines, rehearse, then film the ending. Considering the time involved in filming a movie, actors do not necessarily memorize the entire script beforehand, but do so as each scene is shot. Also, it's questionable as to whether or not any of the cast did not know the ending as the movie was based on the Broadway play.

raywest Premium member

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