Colditz castle was used by the Nazis to hold the "bad boys", (those who regularly tried to escape from other camps). At all times the guards outnumbered the prisoners and, because some political prisoners were also held there they were *very* strictly monitored. But if you put all those people in one place and they're all trying to escape, well ... Written by
Steve Crook <email@example.com>
The character portrayed by John Mills, Capt. Patrick Reid, is based on P.R. Reid, author of the novel on which the film was based. Reid, imprisoned at Colditz 1940-42 until his successful escape, also was technical consultant on the film. The German security officer, Paul Priem, also is portrayed (by Denis Shaw) under his actual name. Priem had died in 1943. All the other character names were invented for the film. See more »
Christopher Rhodes is listed as "Chistopher Rhodes" in the opening credits. See more »
There is too much noise!
[nervously, as there are Polish POWs hidden in the room]
Oh, I'm sorry. We were laughing.
Ah, laughing! Oh, I see, you have the British humor. Well, Englishmen will laugh at anything...
[Tyler smiles and nods]
... but most people laugh at nothing. Here you will not laugh for long! Here you will remain until the war is won - by Germany! There will be no escape unless you wish to die!
[Sarcastically as he is leaving the room]
Now you can laugh if you wish.
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Opening credits: "Every incident in the film you are about to see is true. With the exception of the author, Major P.R.Reid,M.B.E.,M.C., who acted as technical adviser on the film, all names have been changed and certain events have been related out of their historical context. These and only these liberties have been taken with ...." See more »
First class prisoner of war tale - with British stiff-upper-lips to the fore
Allied prisoners - that normal prison of war camps can't hold - are sent to a mountain stronghold that they are told is "escape proof."
Colditz Castle (in Germany) remains one of the most daunting and visited memorials of World War II. Looking a little like Count Dracula's castle from the outside the very sight of it must have made many a heart sink - especially those that didn't know if they were going to their deaths. Even when they found out that they weren't they still had to be vetted to see if they were not stool pigeons!
This was originally a book and in the fullness of time it would be turned in to this film, a TV series (and a very good one at that) and even a hit board game. The film has to scrap a great deal of the (excellently written) book and can only represent a few of the many plot lines. In truth the prisoners ran out of escape ideas near the end and had only one left - to build a glider to escape from the roof. The war ended before it was tested!
Anything with John Mills in is usually pretty good (ok - Who's That Girl, with Madonna falls short) and this is no exception. The prisoners realise that escape committee's are needed so escape attempts - between various nationalities - wouldn't cross one another. Everything here is based on a real incident, although some of the facts around it are fictionalised.
A good memorial to a tough place and some tough people that were prepared to risk machine guns and attack dogs to get over-the-wall to continue the war. While this type of movie always has many dramatic plus points built in, it is - still - one the top hundred British movies ever made and one of my top two hundred (made anywhere) films. There isn't a second of boredom in the whole movie.
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