The Most Famous POW: Revealing Noteworthy Individuals Held in Captivity

Choose the POW you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 15, 2024 08:25
Welcome to StrawPoll, where your opinion matters! We proudly present our latest ranking – "Who is the most famous POW?" This engaging and interactive poll compiles a list of some of the most iconic and influential prisoners of war throughout history. Cast your vote for your favorite, or suggest a missing name to ensure a comprehensive and authentic ranking. Will your pick rise to the top? Dive into this captivating poll and join thousands of others in shaping the ultimate list of renowned POWs. Participate, debate, and discover the fascinating stories of these inspiring individuals who demonstrated courage and resilience in the face of adversity. The power is in your hands – vote now and make your voice heard!

Who Is the Most Famous POW?

  1. 1
    John McCain
    United States Congress · Public domain
    Senator and presidential candidate who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for over five years. He became a prominent voice for veterans' rights and POW/MIA issues.
    John McCain in other rankings
  2. 2
    Louis Zamperini
    Floatjon · CC BY-SA 3.0
    Olympic runner and World War II POW who survived brutal conditions in Japanese prison camps. His story was the basis for the book and movie "Unbroken."
    Louis Zamperini in other rankings
  3. 3
    Jeremiah Denton
    US Congress · Public domain
    Navy pilot who was shot down and captured in Vietnam. He famously blinked "torture" in Morse code during a propaganda interview, alerting the world to the mistreatment of POWs.
  4. 4
    German-American pilot who was shot down and captured during the Vietnam War. He escaped from a prison camp and made his way to safety, later becoming a successful businessman. His story was the basis for the movie "Rescue Dawn."
  5. 5
    American pilot who was held captive by the North Vietnamese for over seven years. He was one of the longest-serving POWs in the Vietnam War.
  6. 6
    Jessica Lynch
    Mamie Mae Burke · Public domain
    Army soldier who was captured during the Iraq War and later rescued by U.S. forces. Her story became a symbol of American heroism and resilience.
    Jessica Lynch in other rankings
  7. 7
    James Stockdale
    U.S. Navy File Photo · Public domain
    Navy pilot who was shot down and captured in Vietnam. He endured years of torture and solitary confinement, but refused to betray his fellow POWs or his country. He later became a vice presidential candidate.
    James Stockdale in other rankings
  8. 8
    Army soldier who was captured during the Iraq War and held prisoner for over a week. She was the first Black female POW in U.S. history.
  9. 9
    Thomas W. Norris
    AlejandraDelgado · CC BY-SA 3.0
    Navy SEAL who was captured and tortured in Vietnam, but later escaped and helped rescue another POW. He received the Medal of Honor for his heroism.
  10. 10
    Horace Greasley
    Unknown authorUnknown author · Public domain
    British soldier who escaped from a Nazi prison camp over 200 times during World War II. He famously returned to the camp each time to taunt his captors.

Missing your favorite POW?


Ranking factors for famous POW

  1. Recognition
    The level of recognition the POW has received, both during and after their captivity, can be an essential factor. This includes media coverage, public awareness, and any awards or honors received for their ordeal.
  2. Duration of captivity
    The length of time spent in captivity can contribute to the fame of a POW. Prolonged captivity may result in increased media focus and public interest in their story.
  3. Notability before captivity
    The pre-captivity reputation or status of the individual can influence their fame as a POW. If they were already well-known or accomplished in their field, their story may receive more attention.
  4. Impact of captivity
    The impact the POW's story had on a larger scale, such as raising awareness of a conflict, inspiring others, or influencing public opinion, can add to their fame.
  5. Survival and resistance
    The resilience, bravery, and survival skills demonstrated during the captivity can contribute to the level of fame a POW attains. Instances of escape attempts, resistance efforts, or acts of heroism can make their story more compelling.
  6. Historical significance
    POWs who were involved in major conflicts, historical events, or represented a particular cause or movement may be considered more famous due to the overall historical context they are linked to.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous POW. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or POW is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 184 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each POW once every 24 hours. The rank of each POW is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most famous pow

Background Information: Prisoners of war (POWs) have always been a significant part of military history. They are soldiers who have been captured by enemy forces during times of war and are held captive. Although the treatment of POWs has varied throughout history, they have always been subjected to harsh conditions and mistreatment. Despite this, many POWs have managed to survive and even become famous for their bravery and resilience. When it comes to the most famous POW, there are several contenders. Some of the most notable include John McCain, who spent over 5 years as a POW during the Vietnam War, and Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who survived 47 days on a raft in the Pacific Ocean after his plane crashed during World War II. Other famous POWs include James Stockdale, who endured 7 and a half years of captivity during the Vietnam War, and Jessica Lynch, who was captured during the Iraq War and later rescued by U.S. forces. While each of these individuals has a unique story of survival and courage, they all serve as a reminder of the sacrifices made by those who serve in the armed forces. Their experiences as POWs have not only shaped their lives but also inspired countless others to persevere in the face of adversity.

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