A Foreign Affair (1948)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

This is story of a love triangle involving an American soldier, a congresswoman from Iowa and a German singer who meet in postwar Berlin.

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Directed By:
Written By: David Shaw, Richard L. Breen, Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, Robert Harari
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 29, 1998
Paramount Pictures



as Phoebe Frost

as Capt. John Pringle

as Erika von Schluetow

as Col. Rufus J. Plumme...

as Hans Otto Birgel

as Pennecott

as Griffin

as Lt. Homby

as Lieutenant Colonel

as Lt. Lee Thompson

as Gen. McAndrew

as Gen. Finney

as Military Police

as Military Police

as Adolf Hitler
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for A Foreign Affair

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Critic Reviews for A Foreign Affair

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (4)

As usual, it's more clever than meaningful, but this 1948 film is one of his most satisfactory in wit and pace.

Full Review… | August 14, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

This may not be Wilder at his best -- the story develops along fairly predictable lines, with Arthur switching her starchy uniform for a glistening evening gown -- but there are some precious set pieces.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

A dandy entertainment which has some shrewd and realistic things to say.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | November 12, 2008
Top Critic

A stinging satirical look at black marketeering in post WW II Berlin.

Full Review… | August 14, 2007
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Despite its predictable story line makes for a somewhat enjoyable satire.

Full Review… | December 7, 2005
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for A Foreign Affair


dark comedy set against the brutal backdrop of post-war berlin. jean arthur plays a stuffy american congresswoman who becomes involved with an army officer who's trying to cover up his lover's nazi past. i like that both jean and marlene were close to 50 when this was made. the script is vintage wilder if a little predictable, with shades from ninotchka to stalag 17. john lund is okay as the male lead; don't think i've ever seen him before...not wilder's best but very entertaining.

Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer


[font=Century Gothic]In "A Foreign Affair", Congresswoman Phoebe Frost, R-Iowa(Jean Arthur), is part of a congressional delegation sent to postwar Berlin to investigate the reportedly poor morale of the American soldier. Frost helps in this matter by personally delivering a birthday cake to Capt. John Pringle(John Lund) from his girlfriend back in the states. Pringle promptly trades the cake in for a mattress at an open air black market at the Brandenburg Gate. He gives the mattress along with some nylons to Erika(Marlene Dietrich), a famous nightclub singer who was once tight with some high-ranking Nazis. Pringle is now doing his best to keep her out of a labor camp...[/font]

[font=Century Gothic]"A Foreign Affair" is an entertaining comedy about the serious subject of postwar Germany, directed with style by Billy Wilder.(Only the ending does not ring true, however.) The movie is about a country trying to get back on its feet and uses Berlin's devastation to show how far it has to go. Luxury goods can only be found on the black market, where chocolate and cigarettes seem to be the main units of currency. The movie urges reconciliation with, not condemnation of, the people of Germany. And the only way to find out anything of value is to avoid the guided tour.[/font]

Walter M.

Super Reviewer


This may not be one of Wilder's major works, however, the spirit is here, and you can feel it: the German director and his fellow German leading woman have made this film from the soul. It's more about post-war Berlin, than the love-affair (mere excuse of a plot). Jean Arthur's talent saves the day when it comes to the (sometimes) poor script, and provides the comic relief, but it's Dietrich that shines all the way through- she is simply divine. She steals the whole film, of course, and the scenes where she sings at the cabaret can be inscribed on one's memory for ever. Don't miss this classic!

Anastasia Bartzoulianou

Super Reviewer

A Foreign Affair Quotes

– Submitted by monsieur r (3 years ago)

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