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The Great Escape (1963)

Approved  |   |  Adventure, Drama, History  |  4 July 1963 (USA)
8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 143,164 users  
Reviews: 287 user | 103 critic

Allied P.O.W.s plan for several hundred of their number to escape from a German camp during World War II.

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(book), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Great Escape (1963)

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Top 250 #119 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Hannes Messemer ...
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Angus Lennie ...
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Robert Graf ...
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Storyline

Based on a true story, a group of allied escape artist-type prisoners-of-war (POW's) are all put in an 'escape proof' camp. Their leader decides to try to take out several hundred all at once. The first half of the film is played for comedy as the prisoners mostly outwit their jailers to dig the escape tunnel. The second half is high adventure as they use boats and trains and planes to get out of occupied Europe. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

the great adventure! the great entertainment! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

4 July 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El gran escape  »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After viewing the rushes, Steve McQueen decided his part was minor and undeveloped. He was particularly upset that his character virtually disappears from the film for about 30 minutes in the middle so he walked out demanding rewrites. John Sturges admitted the half-hour gap was likely a problem, but with the production already behind schedule due to the heavy rain, he felt he couldn't take time out to do rewrites and rescheduling. James Garner said he and James Coburn got together with McQueen to determine what his specific gripes were. Garner later said it was apparent McQueen wanted to be the hero but didn't want to be seen doing anything overtly heroic that contradicted his character's cool detachment and sardonic demeanor. At the same time, McQueen never really liked his character's calm acquiescence to his time in the cooler or the famous bit with the catcher's mitt and ball. Sturges considered writing the character out of the story altogether, but United Artists informed him they considered McQueen indispensable to the picture's success and would spring for the extra money to hire another writer, Ivan J. Moffitt, to deal with the star's demands. McQueen returned to work. See more »

Goofs

At the start of the escape sequence Capt. Hilts, the "cooler king", is wearing a dark top and white trousers and can easily be seen against the background. It seems implausible to attempt to escape through tunnel dirt in the middle of the night dressed in white. See more »

Quotes

Stratwitch: [Danny and Sedgewick are trying to sneak out with a group of Russian prisoners] Halt!
[walks over to Sedgewick]
Stratwitch: Out!
[pause]
Stratwitch: OUT!
Danny: [No, No! Comrade!] Nyet, nyet! Tovarich!
Stratwitch: Oh, he's your friend.
Danny: [Comrade!] Tovarich!
Stratwitch: And who vouches for you, Lieutenant Willenski? Come on out, Sedgewick.
Danny: [hands coat back to Russian prisoner and steps out of line] Spasiba.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Black Angels (1970) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
The greatest of escapes.
15 December 1998 | by (Netherlands) – See all my reviews

The Great Escape is THE prison escape movie. The film is rich with characters and the direction by John Sturges is great. Steve McQueen is the man and the rest of the cast are terrific. This movie is heroic and shows the bravery of men in the second world war. I escape into this movie whenever I feel really down, it's a great spirit lifter and one of the greatest films of all time.


61 of 94 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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