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Prisoner of War (1954)

Approved | | Drama, War | 4 May 1954 (USA)
During the Korean War, an American officer is tasked with infiltrating a Communist-run POW camp in order to investigate the treatment of American prisoners by the enemy.


Andrew Marton


Allen Rivkin


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ronald Reagan ... Webb Sloane
Steve Forrest ... Cpl. Joseph Robert Stanton
Dewey Martin ... Jesse Treadman
Oskar Homolka ... Col. Nikita I. Biroshilov (as Oscar Homolka)
Robert Horton ... Francis Aloysius Belney
Paul Stewart ... Capt. Jack Hodges
Harry Morgan ... Maj. O.D. Hale
Stephen Bekassy Stephen Bekassy ... Lt. Georgi M. Robovnik
Leonard Strong ... Col. Kim Doo Yi
Darryl Hickman ... Merton Tollivar
Weaver Levy Weaver Levy ... Red Guard
Rollin Moriyama Rollin Moriyama ... Capt. Lang Hyun Choi
Ike Jones Ike Jones ... Benjamin Julesberg
Clarence Lung Clarence Lung ... MVD Officer
Jerry Paris ... Axel Horstrom


An American army officer, troubled by reports of brutality, volunteers to investigate conditions inside North Korean POW camps. He parachutes behind enemy lines and infiltrates a group of G.I.s being marched to one of these camps. There, he witnesses scenes of G.I.s being brainwashed, beaten, subjected to mock executions, deprived of food and water, and tortured in a variety of ways under the supervision of a Russian colonel. While reaction to this treatment varies, the officer is heartened to learn that American soldiers are still a courageous and enduring force. Written by dinky-4

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


P.O.W.ERFUL ! See more »


Drama | War


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

4 May 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The P.O.W. Story See more »


Box Office


$569,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


MGM released a series of "lobby cards" to promote this movie. One card shows North Korean soldiers hauling American POWs out of the shallow trenches they've been forced to lie in for days. While the movie shows the POWs lying in these trenches, the scene showing them being pulled out was obviously cut before the movie's release. See more »


Col. Kim Doo Yi: The Geneva Convention is merely a tool of decadent capitalism, comrade.
See more »


Referenced in Heartburn (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

"Your Uncle Sam is a better man than their old Uncle Joe"
13 March 2015 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

The only big screen film that dealt directly with Ronald Reagan's anti- Communism was this film made post Korean War in 1954. By that time tales of North Korean atrocities were pretty widely known and at least the subject matter of Prisoner of War was generally accepted. As to how well done this film is another matter.

It's a bottom billed B picture where Ronald Reagan is given an assignment to actually infiltrate a prisoner of war camp in North Korea to see if the rumors of atrocities are true. His fellow prisoners are cross section of the American GI and as Reagan says they all have a breaking point. Toughest of the lot is Steve Forrest, easiest is Dewey Martin in their hut.

Oscar Homolka is a strutting Russian colonel is an 'advisor' to the North Korean commander. No doubt he studied the techniques of Dr. Mengele from the last war and he's experimenting on the men the way Dr. Pavlov did with lab rats. He does find out in an unexpected way just where some people's breaking points are.

With some better writing and directing and production values this could have been a classic like that other Prisoner Of War film released by Paramount the year before, Stalag 17. But MGM wasn't too heavily invested in this one as you can plainly tell by watching.

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