From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Produced and directed by Billy Wilder, it starred William Holden, Don Taylor, Robert Strauss, Neville Brand, Harvey Lembeck, and Peter Graves (Strauss and Lembeck both appeared in the original Broadway production); Wilder also cast fellow Austrian film director (and Jew) Otto Preminger in the role of the evil camp commander.
The movie was adapted by Wilder and Edwin Blum from the Broadway play by Donald Bevan and Edmund Trzcinski who were both prisoners in Stalag XVII-B. (Trzcinski appears in the film as a prisoner.) The play was directed by José Ferrer and was the Broadway debut of John Ericson as Sefton. It began its run in May 1951, continued for 472 performances and was based on the experiences of its authors, both of whom were POWs in Stalag 17B in Austria.