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The Great Escape (1963)

Not Rated | | Adventure, Drama, History | 4 July 1963 (USA)
Allied prisoners of war 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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Top Rated Movies #127 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Robert Graf ...
Werner 'The Ferret'
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Storyline

Based on a true story, a group of allied escape artist-type prisoners-of-war (POWs) 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:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

| | | |

Release Date:

4 July 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El gran escape  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$11,744,471, 31 December 1963
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Steve McQueen reportedly rarely mingled with others away from the set, preferring to stay in the chalet he rented for himself and his family and travelling to the set each day in a chauffeur-driven limousine. See more »

Goofs

While Hilts is contemplating throwing his baseball to the "blind spot" at the fence, he backs up to the shadows at the corner of one of the prisoner's huts. when the camera cuts back to the same spot at corner of the hut, the area is no longer in shadows. See more »

Quotes

Sedgwick: It's all right. It's all right, mate. We're just having a friendly little argument.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #26.54 (2009) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Not just great, simply magnificent more like!
4 March 2008 | by See all my reviews

"Wait a minute, you aren't seriously suggesting that if I get thru the wire and case everything out there, and don't get picked up, to turn myself in and get thrown in the cooler for a couple of months so you can get the information you need"

Smart, witty and directed with adroit hands by John Sturges, The Great Escape is standing the test of time as a joyous multi cast family favourite. Based on the real accounts of allied soldiers escaping en mass from a German POW camp back in 1942, the film is involving from start to finish, due in the main to the wonderful array of characters on show. We follow them from the moment they arrive at the camp right thru to the stunning climax, and it is with great joy I say that none of the cast lets the side down, they all do great work for the astute and undervalued Sturges. A number of great set pieces allied with Elmer Bernstein's fabulous score never lets the blood settle, and in amongst the cute slices of humour is palpable tension to make this simply one of the best films of it's type, in fact one of the best films ever.

Sturges and his writers, James Clavell & W.R. Burnett, adapt from the book written by Paul Brickhill, someone who speaks from experience having been one of the prisoners of super POW camp Stalag Luft III, which of course is what The Great Escape is born from. Sturges was fascinated by the story and after trying without fail for over a decade to get it onto the screen, he finally succeeded. The success three years earlier of his star ensemble Western, The Magnificent Seven, enabled Sturges to realise his vision, the result of which is still enthralling new generations with each passing year.

The cast is made up of notable thespians and iconic heroes. Steve McQueen (enticing the American audience in one feels), Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, James Donald, Donald Pleasance, James Coburn, James Garner, David McCallum, John Leyton and Gordon Jackson. Which of course is a pretty tidy roll call, but it shouldn't be understated the input of Hannes Messemer as the Camp Commandant, Colonel Von Luger. His scenes have a humanistic quality that shows a softer side of Germany to the one ruled by a certain despot (the finale here offering up the counter opposite of the war), the writers smartly, and rightly, not tarring a nation with the same old brush.

A wonderful involving movie that puts characteristic heart in bed with its action and suspense laden plot. 10/10


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