Decision Before Dawn (1951)

Decision Before Dawn




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

With the Third Reich disintegrating, several members of the German army are defecting to the Americans and offering their services as spies. US officer Gary Merrill trusts none of these last-minute "converts", but German prisoner Oskar Werner seems to be sincere. Werner insists that by helping the Americans, he is saving Germany from destruction. Merrill sends Werner behind enemy lines for counter-espionage with an American officer (Richard Basehart), who still isn't convinced that the German … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Peter Viertel
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 23, 2006
20th Century Fox Film Corporation


as Lt. Rennick

as Col. Devlin

as Oberst Von Ecker

as SS Man Scholtz

as Fraulein Schneider

as Sgt. Watkins

as Woman Driver

as Newspaper Woman

as Wehrmacht Bus Bit

as Street Car Conductor

as Woman Attendant

as Lieutenant Gevers

as Lieutenant

as Lieutenant

as Panzer NCO

as Whining Soldier

as Rathskeller Bit

as Rathskeller Bit

as Rathskeller Bit

as Rathskeller Bit

as Bar Maid

as Truck Driver `Leschk...

as Wehrmacht Girl

as Wehrmacht Girl

as Wehrmacht Girl

as Wehrmacht Girl

as Wehrmacht Girl

as Wehrmacht Girl

as Wehrmacht Girl

as Office Reception Des...

as Hartmann

as Clerk in Schleisshei...

as Sgt. Klinger

as V. Schirmeck

as Woman in the Street

as Street Car Conductor
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Critic Reviews for Decision Before Dawn

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (1)

Werner, who served in the Axis forces during the war, gives a magnetic performance.

Full Review… | January 31, 2012
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

An outstanding production in all aspects.

Full Review… | January 31, 2012
TV Guide's Movie Guide

It's most noted for being more sympathetic to peace loving German soldiers than are most American war films.

Full Review… | April 14, 2008
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Litvak's intriguing account of U.S. Intelligence operation during the last year of WWII was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, boasting a good performance from the young Oskar Werner as a sensitive and naive German soldier-traitor.

Full Review… | January 24, 2008

The film manages to be suitably hard on the Nazi regime while providing one of the first sympathetic treatments of the German people.

Full Review… | May 2, 2006
Goatdog's Movies

Audience Reviews for Decision Before Dawn

WWII drama about a group of German P.O.W.'s who were persuaded to spy for the allied war effort. Part docu-drama, part Hollywood propaganda. Entertaining but less than substantial.

Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer


I would thought that the appetite for these types of films would have waned once the war ended but here we have another mainly propaganda type film that is mildly entertaining if not deep. Perhaps this was to rally the troops to get ready for Korea.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

A World War 2 spy movie that was nominated for Best Picture and forgotten immediately thereafter, and for mostly good reasons. In the name of full disclosure I'll admit that I was mostly distracted by other things when I was watching this. Similar to Rio Grande, I found that this had a very long build up and by the time they got to their actual mission I had sort of lost interest and started screwing around on my laptop while watching it.


Super Reviewer

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