Decision Before Dawn (1951) - Rotten Tomatoes

Decision Before Dawn (1951)

Decision Before Dawn (1951)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Decision Before Dawn Photos

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 expatriate means what he says. At several critical junctures, it seems as though Werner had been lying about his mission, but at the last moment he saves Basehart's life at the cost of his own...but was this act of bravery intentional? A thoughtful World War II drama, Decision Before Dawn was filmed on location in Europe. Watch for a young and sickly-looking Klaus Kinski as an overeager defector.
Action & Adventure , Classics , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
20th Century Fox Film Corporation

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Richard Basehart
as Lt. Rennick
Gary Merrill
as Col. Devlin
O.E. Hasse
as Oberst Von Ecker
Wilfried Seyferth
as SS Man Scholtz
Helene Thimig
as Fraulein Schneider
George Tyne
as Sgt. Watkins
Loni Heuser
as Fritzi
Erich Ebert
as Freddy
Ruth Brandt
as Woman Driver
Eva Marie Andres
as Flak Girl
Aguste Hansen-Kleinmichel
as Newspaper Woman
Paul Schwed
as Wehrmacht Bus Bit
Meta Weber
as Woman
Almut Bachmann
as Street Car Conductor
Ruth Trumpp
as Woman Attendant
Harold Benedict
as Lieutenant Gevers
Egon Lippert
as Lieutenant
Gerhard Kittler
as Lieutenant
Rainier Geldern
as Panzer NCO
Klaus Kinski
as Whining Soldier
Erik Jelde
Max Herbst
Jochen Diestelmann
as Rathskeller Bit
Luitpold Kummer
as Rathskeller Bit
Heinrich Berg
as Rathskeller Bit
Dieter Wilsing
as Rathskeller Bit
Elfe Gearhart
as Bar Maid
Rudolf Heimann
as Truck Driver `Leschke'
Werner Fuetterer
as von Bulow
Lieselotte Steinweg
as Wehrmacht Girl
Elizabeth Millberg
as Wehrmacht Girl
Ulla Best
as Wehrmacht Girl
Katja Jobs
as Wehrmacht Girl
Eva Maria Hoppe
as Wehrmacht Girl
Maria Landrock
as Wehrmacht Girl
Sonja Kosta
as Wehrmacht Girl
Ernst Hoechstaetter
as Office Reception Desk
Harald Wolff
as Hartmann
Wolfgang Kuhnemann
as Clerk in Schleissheim
Walter Ladengast
as Deserter
Gerhard Steinberg
as Sgt. Klinger
Peter Lühr
as V. Schirmeck
Maria Wimmer
as Woman in the Street
Ursula Voss
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

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


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

Had a tough understanding the German actors, pretty heavy accents. Would've been better w/o the heavy voiceovers at the beginning and end. But that's what was done then. Would like to watch again.

Todd Reed
Todd Reed

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
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

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