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"Best POW Movie" Topic

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28 Oct 2015 5:19 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from Modern Discussion (1946 to 2005) board
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1,472 hits since 27 May 2015
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Old Contemptibles Supporting Member of TMP27 May 2015 7:46 p.m. PST

Captured (1959)
La Grande Illusion (1937)
Stalag 17 (1953)
The Colditz Story (1955)
A Man Escaped (1956)
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
The Great Escape (1963)
The Round-up (1966)
The Deer Hunter (1977)
Empire of the Sun (1987)
Rescue Dawn (2006)
The Human Condition I: No Greater Love (1959)
The Battle of Algiers (1966)
The Hill (1965)
A Man Escaped (1956)
Act of Violence (1948)
To End All Wars (2001)
Von Ryan's Express (1965)
The McKenzie Break (1970)
Rescue Dawn (2006)
The Ninth Day (2004)
Devils on the Doorstep (2000)
Prisoner of the Mountains (1996)
Kirimli (2014)
King Rat (1965)
1971 (2007)
Seven Beauties (1975)
Men Behind the Sun (1988)
Enclosure (1960)
Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983)
Breakout (1959)
Hart's War (2002)
The Hanoi Hilton (1987)
Missing in Action (1984)
Major Dundee (1965)
The Great Raid (2005)

Desert Fox27 May 2015 7:56 p.m. PST

WOW! That is quite the list! Many a classic!

Sundance27 May 2015 8:02 p.m. PST

Colditz Story – not bad, but the books are much better than the movie.
Hart's War – just. plain. bad.
Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence – interesting.
The Empire of the Sun – pretty good from what I remember.
Stalag 17 – very good to excellent.
Bridge on the River Kwai – good, too bad it turned out to be untrue.
My money's on The Great Escape – I remember watching it as a kid, and I still enjoy watching it.

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP27 May 2015 8:06 p.m. PST

Stalag 17

Coelacanth27 May 2015 8:12 p.m. PST

Bridge on the River Kwai – good, too bad it turned out to be untrue.

The movie was based on a novel by Pierre Boulle.


Desert Fox27 May 2015 8:39 p.m. PST

The Hill (1965)-a must see. Great acting and cinematography
The Great Escape (1963)
Stalag 17 (1953)
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian27 May 2015 8:41 p.m. PST

Von Ryan's Express was the most fun when I saw it, but that was a long, long time ago. (I read the book too.)

The Great Escape has the wonderful music, and had so many veterans involved.

Bridge on the River Kwai is a thoughtful movie, but a bit over-rated I think.

Which is the one where they sing about thoughts being free?

enfant perdus27 May 2015 8:43 p.m. PST

Two recent ones:
Unbroken (2014)
The Railway Man (2014)

Andersonville (1996 TV movie)
Escape from Sobibor (1987 TV movie)*
Victory/Escape to Victory (1981)
Three Came Home (1950)
Paradise Road (1997)
The Brylcreem Boys (1998)

*More of a Holocaust film, but the Russian POWs are a major part of it.

enfant perdus27 May 2015 8:45 p.m. PST

The Hill is a great movie but it is not a POW film. Connery and pals are military prisoners of HM the King.

R Brown27 May 2015 8:52 p.m. PST

Hogan's Heroes

Ethanjt2127 May 2015 8:57 p.m. PST

Another recent one is "The Way Back"

have it on my Netflix List, haven't watched it yet.

377CSG Supporting Member of TMP27 May 2015 9:01 p.m. PST

#1 Empire of the Sun – very sad
#2 Bridge on the River Kwai – very very sad
#3 Great Escape – not so sad
#4 Stalag 17 – sad

All POW movies are just sad but interesting.

Personal logo Grelber Supporting Member of TMP27 May 2015 9:46 p.m. PST

I've always liked Stalag 17, but I liked it even better when I learned the guy who wrote it had actually been in a German POW camp in Austria. Better still, they gave him a minor role in the movie.


John the OFM27 May 2015 9:54 p.m. PST

Stalag 17

Dark Knights And Bloody Dawns27 May 2015 10:23 p.m. PST

Although Bridge On The River Kwai is a work of fiction the story is based on the building on the Burma Railway by POWs.

The destruction of the bridge as depicted in the film is entirely fictional. In fact, two bridges were built: a temporary wooden bridge and a permanent steel/concrete bridge a few months later. Both bridges were used for two years, until they were destroyed by Allied aerial bombing. The steel bridge was repaired and is still in use today.

uglyfatbloke27 May 2015 11:56 p.m. PST

King Rat – a brilliant insight into the brutality of the Japanese captivity, written by a man who suffered under it.
Can we include a TV series? If so, the superb 'Tenko', which may not have been shown in the US, but is well worth your while if you can get hold of it.

Demosthenes Of Athens28 May 2015 2:02 a.m. PST

If we can include TV series there is also
"The Cowra Breakout" about Japanese PoWs in Australia.
Directed by Phillip Noyce (Dead Calm, Clear and Present Danger, Bone Collector, The Quiet American) and other directors.

Martin Rapier28 May 2015 2:26 a.m. PST

Ooh yes, Tenko, along with the TV version of 'Colditz'.

Personally I think Empire of the Sun is a fabulous film, really captures the essence of the book, but given that our hero (Ballard junior) is an interned civilian child, not sure it is a pure POW film.

Amongst the pure POW films the top ones would be the obvious ones:

The Great Escape
Bridge on the River Kwai
and who can forget one of the greatest of them all 'Hannibal Brooks'.

You forgot 'Escape to Victory' on the list, although it is pretty dire.

My parents next door neighbour escaped from German POW camps twice (made it back to Blighty on the second attempt). My grandfather was captured by the Japanese though, and not so fortunate.

Some Chicken28 May 2015 3:34 a.m. PST

No mention of The Wooden Horse? What were you guys doing on Saturday afternoons in the 1960s??

Mike O28 May 2015 4:05 a.m. PST

How about "The One That Got Away" (1957) with Hardy Krόger as the German pilot POW, Franz von Werra?


cosmicbank28 May 2015 4:38 a.m. PST

Elsa of the ss?

Bezmozgu728 May 2015 4:48 a.m. PST

Stalag 17

tuscaloosa28 May 2015 5:04 a.m. PST

"The movie was based on a novel by Pierre Boulle."

Who also wrote "Planet of the Apes".

Major Mike28 May 2015 5:04 a.m. PST

Decision Before Dawn. Starts out with Germans getting captured and being sent to a POW holding facility. A great movie with a cast of thousands and filmed on location in France and Germany soon after the end of the War.

Sundance28 May 2015 5:31 a.m. PST

When the book Bridge on the River Kwai was released, it was IIRC, pushed as the author's memoirs of being a Japanese prisoner in WWII.

Rich Bliss28 May 2015 5:47 a.m. PST

The Great Escape


skinkmasterreturns28 May 2015 6:15 a.m. PST

Stalag 17.For some reason I think of William Holden whenever I fry eggs.

Old Contemptibles Supporting Member of TMP28 May 2015 6:59 a.m. PST

Wasn't there a movie about a German POW in Canada who escaped to the then neutral U.S.?

Terrement28 May 2015 7:26 a.m. PST


Who asked this joker28 May 2015 8:30 a.m. PST

Great Escape. Like there is a choice! wink

Frederick the not so great28 May 2015 10:17 a.m. PST

The Great Raid

Patrick Sexton Supporting Member of TMP28 May 2015 10:53 a.m. PST

Stalag 17 and The Great Escape followed by The Deer Hunter.

T Corret Supporting Member of TMP28 May 2015 11:12 a.m. PST

A Town called Alice was good.

Nikator28 May 2015 11:14 a.m. PST

Lotsa great movies here! While I like Stalag 17 and many of the others listed, IMHO the best movies are;

(1) Grand Illusion- a classic that will really explain WWI and the difference between the Great War and WWII to you. Jean Renoir at his best.

(2) Seven Beauties – Another classic. Ever wonder why the italians wound up hating their German allies? Watch and wonder no longer. "To pee is to live. The more you pee, the more you live". Words to live by.

(3) The Bridge on the River Kwai- Great story, great movie, tells a number of truths about the war, colonialism, and human nature, even if the story is fiction.

panzerCDR28 May 2015 11:36 a.m. PST

"Great Escape. Like there is a choice!"


Although Stalag 17 and Bridge Over the River Kwai are strong contenders.

Who asked this joker28 May 2015 11:48 a.m. PST

Although Stalag 17 and Bridge Over the River Kwai are strong contenders.

Yep! Both classics!

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP28 May 2015 12:21 p.m. PST

"King Rat" is the best I recall.

donlowry28 May 2015 3:15 p.m. PST

The Great Escape -- no contest.

Rod I Robertson28 May 2015 5:53 p.m. PST

The Blockhouse was a very depressing POW film which left an impression on me since I saw it in 1974.
Cheers and good gaming.
Rod Robertson.

its only a flesh wound28 May 2015 9:36 p.m. PST

Stalag 17

creativeguy29 May 2015 2:23 p.m. PST

Laugh at me if you will but I liked Victory (1981)

darthfozzywig Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2015 7:15 p.m. PST

Victory wasn't bad, actually.

The Great Escape is my favorite (the Mrs lives that one, too), but there are lots of great films mentioned.

If we include TV, then I'll throw in "The Prisoner" as a really cool/weird/groovy Cold War POW story. For all the cool/weird/grooviness, it's an interesting storyline of not knowing who can be trusted on any side.

darthfozzywig Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2015 7:17 p.m. PST

Loves. I meant the Mrs *loves* the Great Escape.

Granted, being married to me might make her identify with POWs, so there's that…

Gennorm30 May 2015 2:17 a.m. PST

The Great Escape. If anyone wants to argue otherwise I say "Good luck"!

mashrewba30 May 2015 9:22 a.m. PST

Shame we don't wont to identify the worst POW film of all time because the discussion would start and end with this!! Actualy this could be the worst film of all time , period.

Demosthenes Of Athens30 May 2015 6:12 p.m. PST

> Wasn't there a movie about a German POW in Canada who escaped to the then neutral U.S.?

The film is the 1941 British film "49th Parallel"


Old Contemptibles Supporting Member of TMP30 May 2015 10:58 p.m. PST

I don't think that is the film. If I remember correctly, it was about a young German Soldier who escaped and crossed the border and ended up in Minnesota or some snowy upper mid-western state.

He ends up I think, hiding in a barn and a girl who lives on that farm befriended him and brought him food and drink. They eventually became romantically involved. It was made sometime in the late 60s in color. That is all I remember.

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