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Film / The Colditz Story

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The Colditz Story is a 1955 British war film and directed by Guy Hamilton and starring John Mills and Eric Portman. It is based on the book of the same name written by Pat Reid, a British army officer who was imprisoned in Colditz Castle in Germany during World War II.

During World War II, the Germans transformed Colditz Castle into a high security POW camp to restrain Allied prisoners who had attempted to escape from other camps, and as a result, Colditz housed various nationalities who nonetheless attempted to escape the castle, among them being the British prisoners Pat Reid (Mills) and Senior British Officer Colonel Richmond (Portman).

The same book this film was based on also served as inspiration for the '70s TV series Colditz.


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This film features examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: When the Gestapo liaison asks for prisoners to work for the German Reich in exchange for privileges, one French soldier volunteers, saying he'd rather work for twenty Germans than one Frenchman. When asked his job, he replies "undertaker". Even the Kamp Kommandant laughs at this.
  • The Alcatraz: Colditz Castle, which was turned into Oflag IV-C, a high-security POW camp to restrain Allied prisoners who had attempted to escape from other camps.
  • The Big Guy: McGill is very tall, enough so that he has antagonised the guards several times.
  • Chromosome Casting: Given that it takes place in a World War II prisoner-of-war camp, it features an all-male cast.
  • Great Escape: The film is about the many attempts at escaping from the titular prisoner-of-war camp.
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  • I Have Your Wife: One of the Polish officers becomes a mole that collaborates with the guards to uncover escape plans because his family have been threatened by the Gestapo.
  • The Mole: One of the Polish officers is found to be collaborating with the guards and betraying escape plans because his family have been threatened by the Gestapo.
  • P.O.W. Camp: The titular Colditz refers to Colditz Castle, a castle that was turned into a high-security POW camp to restrain Allied prisoners who had attempted to escape from other camps.

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