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Film poster
Directed by Roy Del Ruth
Produced by Edward Chodorov
Written by Edward Chodorov
Based on Fellow Prisoners
1930 story
by Philip Gibbs
Starring Leslie Howard
Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
Music by Bernhard Kaun
Cinematography Barney McGill
Edited by William Holmes
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Release date
  • August 19, 1933 (1933-08-19)
Running time
69-72 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Captured! is a 1933 American pre-Code film about World War I prisoners of war in a German camp. It stars Leslie Howard and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and was based on the short story "Fellow Prisoners" by Sir Philip Gibbs.


British Captain Fred Allison (Leslie Howard) bids farewell to his new wife, Monica (Margaret Lindsay), whom he has only known for six days, and sets out for the war. He ends up a prisoner of war (POW), tortured by the fact that his wife has not written to him since the early days of his two year captivity.

When a fellow inmate shoots a guard, the prisoners make an impromptu unsuccessful dash for freedom, resulting in much bloodshed on both sides. As punishment, they are locked in a crowded cell for about a month. Finally, a new commandant, Oberst Carl Ehrlich (Paul Lukas), takes charge of the camp. Allison persuades Ehrlich (a fellow Oxford alumnus) to rescind the punishment.

One day, a fresh batch of POWs arrives. Allison is delighted to find his oldest and best friend among them, Royal Flying Corps Lieutenant Jack "Dig" Digby (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.). For some reason though, Dig is not as pleased to see him. However, Allison attributes that to their situation. Dig is determined to escape, regardless of the consequences to his fellow prisoners. He does manage to break free, stealing an airplane from the nearby airfield.

The Germans find his coat near the dead body of Elsa (Joyce Coad), a woman who delivered fresh food to the camp. Ehrlich writes to the Allies, demanding Dig's return to stand trial for rape and murder. Allison refuses to cooperate, until he recognizes the handwriting on a letter found in the coat. When he reads it, he discovers that Monica and Dig have been carrying on an affair for the last six months. Allison then adds his signature to Ehrlich's request. On the strength of Allison's endorsement, the British do send Dig back.

Dig refuses to defend himself, insisting only that he knows Allison's motive for bringing him back. He is found guilty and sentenced to death by firing squad. The real perpetrator, Strogin (John Bleifer), writes a note confessing to the crime, then hangs himself. Allison finds the note, but instead of notifying the Germans, crumples it up. Just before Dig is to be executed, Allison's conscience makes him show the confession to Ehrlich. Afterward, Allison tells Dig he will give Monica up.

All along, Allison has been planning a mass escape. He seizes the machine gun guarding the front gate, then holds off the guards while his comrades escape. The POWs race to the airfield, overcome the aircrews there, and fly off in a squadron of bombers preparing for their nightly raid. Allison is killed by a grenade. When Ehrlich finds his body, he salutes.



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