35 user 11 critic

Town Without Pity (1961)

Approved | | Crime, Drama | March 1961 (Austria)
2:11 | Trailer

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Four American soldiers stationed near a German village face death in the rape of a local girl, and are defended by outside counsel Major Steve Garrett.


Manfred Gregor (novel), George Hurdalek (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kirk Douglas ... Maj. Steve Garrett
Barbara Rütting ... Inge Koerner
Christine Kaufmann ... Karin Steinhof
E.G. Marshall ... Col. Jerome Pakenham
Hans Nielsen Hans Nielsen ... Karl Steinhof
Ingrid van Bergen ... Trude
Robert Blake ... Cpl. Jim Larkin
Richard Jaeckel ... Cpl. Birdwell "Birdie" Scott
Frank Sutton ... Sgt. Chuck Snyder
Karin Hardt ... Frau Steinhof
Gerhart Lippert Gerhart Lippert ... Frank Borgmann
Mal Sondock Mal Sondock ... Pvt. Joey Haines
Alan Gifford ... Gen. Stafford
Fred Dur Fred Dur ... Gerichtsoffizier (as Fred Duerr)
Max Haufler Max Haufler ... Dr. Urban


In 1960 Germany, Army lawyer Major Steve Garrett is assigned to defend four American soldiers charged with raping 16 year-old Karin Steinhof. She was swimming in a nearby river when the four of them came across her and they were soon arrested thereafter. Maj. Garrett is anything but impressed with his clients but his job is to give them the best defense possible. He tries to obtain a plea bargain but Karin's father flatly refuses and the prosecutor, Colonel Jerome Pakenham, is seeking the death penalty. In order for the death penalty to be applied, the defense attorney must have the opportunity to thoroughly examine the victim under oath. He sympathizes with Karin and does his best to convince Karin father to keep her from testifying. When he refuses, Garrett is left will little choice but to attack her on the stand. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Story of What Four Men Did To a Girl... And What the Town Did To Them!


Crime | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »



English | German

Release Date:

March 1961 (Austria) See more »

Also Known As:

Shocker See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


Dalton Trumbo (from his autobiography) helped out Kirk Douglas by contributing to the script. See more »


The flag's canton has a field of five rows of ten stars, rather than the pattern designated by Executive Order on August 21, 1959, which would certainly have been used for a military trial. See more »


Maj. Steve Garrett: [to Frank] Don't try to prove you're a man to me. Prove it to the girl. Don't you know she loves you? Take her and leave this town, as quick as you can, and never come back!
See more »


Spoofed in Quark: The Good, the Bad, and the Ficus (1978) See more »


Town Without Pity
Music by Dimitri Tiomkin
Lyrics by Ned Washington
Sung by Gene Pitney
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Better in concept than execution.
5 March 2001 | by bobc-5See all my reviews

Four U.S soldiers at an army base in Germany are charged with a gang rape and the prosecutor is asking for the death penalty as demanded by public outrage and the girl's father, a leading citizen of the town. Although sure of their guilt, the defending lawyer is also sure that they do not deserve the death penalty. He wants to plea bargain, but he'll dig up dirt and tear the girl apart on the witness stand if that's what it takes to save the men. No person or event in the story is as innocent as it seems at first - not the girl, the town, the judicial process, or even the simple brutality of the four men.

The movie's weaknesses, unfortunately, are in the actual realization of this excellent story. The screenplay is very uneven, over-developing some of the complexities while short-changing others. The use of a voice-over is a clever way to avoid having to subtitle the German speaking scenes, but as implemented it is a clumsy shortcut to giving us information which should have been written into the action. Most unfortunate is the poor choice of music. It blatantly attempts to force its particular mood on the viewer in total discordance with the more subtle manner in which the story is presented. On the bright side, the acting is good and the main point of the story - the brutal treatment of the girl on the witness stand and by the town - is not diluted by any of these problems, making this a movie well worth watching.

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