Stalag 17

Stalag 17 (1953)

10 corrected entries

(3 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.

Factual error: When Lt. Dunbar is being interrogated in the Commandant's office you can see a map on the far wall. It is a map of Germany dictated by the Treaty of Versailles which ended World War I because it shows E. Prussia separated from Germany and does not include the annexation of Austria and Czechoslovakia. These annexations were completed before the start of World War II in '39 and certainly before late '44, early '45 when the film took place. It is highly unlikely any German officer would have this map displayed not only because it's inaccurate but because it displayed the territorial losses brought on by the humiliating defeat of World War I.

More mistakes in Stalag 17

Sefton: Sprechen sie Deutsch [Do you speak German]?
Price: No, I don't sprechen sie Deutsch.
Sefton: Maybe just one word? "Kaput"? Because you're kaput, Price.

Movie Nut

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