Decision Before Dawn (1951) - Rotten Tomatoes

Decision Before Dawn1951

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.

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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
Ruth Brandt
as Woman Driver
Paul Schwed
as Wehrmacht Bus Bit
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
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'
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
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 (6) | Top Critics (2)

Movie-making at its best.

August 7, 2019 | Full Review…

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

January 31, 2012 | Full Review…

An outstanding production in all aspects.

January 31, 2012 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

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

April 14, 2008 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

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.

January 24, 2008 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

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

May 2, 2006 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

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

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

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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