The Colditz Story

This article is about the 1955 film. For the 1972–1974 BBC TV series, see Colditz (TV series). For the 2005 TV film, see Colditz (2005 TV series).
The Colditz Story

Cinema release poster
Directed by Guy Hamilton
Produced by Ivan Foxwell
Written by Guy Hamilton
Ivan Foxwell
Based on The Colditz Story by Pat Reid
Starring John Mills
Eric Portman
Christopher Rhodes
Ian Carmichael
Lionel Jeffries
Music by Francis Chagrin
Cinematography Gordon Dines
Edited by Peter Mayhew
Distributed by British Lion Films
Release dates
  • 25 January 1955 (1955-01-25)
Running time
93 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget ₤136,000.[1]

The Colditz Story is a 1955 prisoner of war film starring John Mills and Eric Portman and directed by Guy Hamilton.

It is based on the book written by Pat Reid, a British army officer who was imprisoned in Oflag IV-C, Colditz Castle, in Germany during the Second World War and who was the Escape Officer for British POWs within the castle.


British, French, Dutch and Polish Prisoners of War (POWs) (and some other nationalities), who have made escape attempts but been recaptured, are sent to Oflag IV-C, a supposedly secure castle in Saxony, in the heart of Germany during the Second World War. At first the different nationalities try to initiate their own plans until the senior British officer steps in and suggests co-operation between the different contingents. At first, the coordination fails because one of the prisoners is supplying information to the German guards. After he is discovered, plans remain secret and there follows a number of escapes; some successful, some not.

The prisoners of Colditz are high-spirited and eager to needle the Germans. The escape officer of the British contingent, Patrick Reid (Mills), assists in the escape of other prisoners and finally carries out his own escape. The culmination of his escape, his successful crossing into Switzerland, is not depicted in the film however.


Production notes

The revue at the end of the film involves a parody of the song I Belong to Glasgow, and the routine of Flanagan and Allen (including Underneath the Arches).


The film was the fourth most popular movie at the British box office in 1955.[2] It made a profit of £100,000 for its producer.[3]

A BBC television series, Colditz, also based on Reid's book and crediting this film followed during 197274, and starred David McCallum, Robert Wagner, Jack Hedley and Edward Hardwicke.

See also


  1. STEPHEN W. "Noted on the British Movie Scene." New York Times 26 Apr 1959: X7
  2. "'The Dam Busters'." Times [London, England] 29 Dec. 1955: 12. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 11 July 2012.
  3. Films and Filming June 1959
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