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The Great Escape
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The Great Escape (1963) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 165 | slideshow) Videos (see all 4)
The Great Escape -- In the role that made him a superstar, Steve McQueen leads an all star cast in this "stunning" (The Film Daily) epic adventure about a group of Allied POWs that attempts one of the largest and most daring breakouts in history
The Great Escape -- Trailer for The Great Escape
The Great Escape -- Clip: Tunnel
The Great Escape -- Clip: Baseball


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8.3/10   153,519 votes »
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Up 3% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Paul Brickhill (book)
James Clavell (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for The Great Escape on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
4 July 1963 (USA) See more »
put a fence in front of these men...and they'll climb it... See more »
Allied P.O.W.s plan for several hundred of their number to escape from a German camp during World War II. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 4 wins & 5 nominations See more »
(402 articles)
User Reviews:
If you're going to critique the history, then know the history. See more (290 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Directed by
John Sturges 
Writing credits
Paul Brickhill (book)

James Clavell (screenplay) and
W.R. Burnett (screenplay)

Produced by
John Sturges .... producer
James Clavell .... producer (uncredited)
Walter Mirisch .... executive producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Elmer Bernstein 
Cinematography by
Daniel L. Fapp (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Ferris Webster 
Art Direction by
Fernando Carrere 
Set Decoration by
Kurt Ripberger 
Makeup Department
Emile LaVigne .... makeup artist
Jay Sebring .... hair designer: Steve McQueen, James Garner (uncredited)
Production Management
Allen K. Wood .... production supervisor
Hubert Fröhlich .... production manager (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jack N. Reddish .... assistant director
John Flynn .... assistant director (uncredited)
Robert E. Relyea .... second unit director (uncredited)
Art Department
Frank Agnone .... property
Sound Department
Wayne Fury .... sound effects editor
Special Effects by
A. Paul Pollard .... special effects (as Paul Pollard)
Bud Ekins .... stunt double: Steve McQueen, motorcycle jump (uncredited)
Tim Gibbs .... stunts (uncredited)
Chuck Hayward .... stunts (uncredited)
Roy Jenson .... stunts (uncredited)
Robert E. Relyea .... stunt pilot (uncredited)
Roy N. Sickner .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Lothar Winkler .... still photographer (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Bert Henrikson .... wardrobe
Editorial Department
Don Tomlinson .... assistant film editor
Music Department
Richard Carruth .... music editor
Jack Hayes .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Leo Shuken .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Other crew
John Franco .... script supervisor
Robert E. Relyea .... assistant to producer
Wally Floody .... technical advisor (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
172 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System) | Mono
Australia:PG | Australia:G (original rating) | Brazil:12 | Canada:PG (Ontario) | Finland:K-16 | Iceland:12 | Japan:G (2009) | Netherlands:12 | Netherlands:14 (orginal rating) | New Zealand:PG | Norway:16 | Portugal:M/12 | Singapore:PG | South Korea:12 | Sweden:15 | UK:U (passed with cuts) | UK:PG (tv rating) | UK:PG (video rating) (1986) (1993) (2002) (2013) | USA:Approved (PCA #20399) | West Germany:12 (f)

Did You Know?

Three of the actors, Steve McQueen, James Coburn and Charles Bronson starred together in the movie The Magnificent Seven (1960), also directed by John Sturges and scored by Elmer Bernstein.See more »
Factual errors: The film shows almost everything happening in the summer months. In reality, the actual escape occurred in March, 1944 while there was still significant snow on the ground. Most of the escapees who were trying to walk across country were forced by the deep snow to leave the fields and go on to the roads and into the hands of the patrols.See more »
Sorren:What the hell have you got in there, a piano?
Sedgewick:Oh, that's very funny, mate.
Sorren:Sedgewick, you won't get this thing through.
Sedgewick:[pulling his trunk into the tunnel] I'll cope!
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Boo, Zino & the Snurks (2004)See more »


Is this a true story?
Is this movie based on a book?
How does the movie end?
See more »
80 out of 85 people found the following review useful.
If you're going to critique the history, then know the history., 31 January 2003
Author: FABabe from Rochester NY

I find it difficult to believe that some reviewers' negative reactions to this film are based on their (misguided) beliefs that none of this could possibly have happened. Comments like these make it crystal clear that what some people don't know about history is appalling. If you are going to judge a film based on historical fact, it helps if you know what it is.

It is well-documented what amazing technical feats the POW's were able to accomplish in the stalags. There was even an entire section of the British Secret Service dedicated to coming up with all sorts of clever ways to send these captured men the tools they needed to facilitate their escape attempts, i.e., sandwiching maps between the split sides of a record album (yes, the Germans allowed the prisoners to have records in the camps) or compasses in pens. At Colditz Castle, one of the more forbidding stalags, (actually an offlag since is was for officers only), many, many tunnels were dug and disguises created. One man actually created a German sergeant's uniform totally from scratch, donned a moustache and created an overall impersonation so realistic, it fooled two out of three sets of sentries. Some of the POW's built and concealed an entire glider that would have carried two men off the roof and over the wall! The only reason it didn't fly was because the prison was liberated before they got the chance! The Colditz experience is well documented. There are many books written about that particular prison complete with photographs, including one by a German officer confirming these amazing escapes and attempts. The reviewers who doubt what can be done when necessity is truly the mother of invention should look for them and learn something.

As for the prisoners not being in jumpsuits, as suggested by one reviewer as one reason to question the authenticity of the film? Ludicrous, POW's wore what they were captured in. The German military (different from the Gestapo and the SS) considered them soldiers and allowed them to keep their badges of rank.

As for the film itself, it is long, but absorbing. There are historical flaws (as there are in all movies), but several of the former POW's participated in the filming process, keeping it, for the most part, very authentic. As for the emphasis on Americans, it's true they were not among the escapees per se, but several did assist in the effort before they were transferred out, as mentioned by a previous reviewer. However, you must remember that the movie was made for an American audience in 1963, long before international distribution revenue became so important to a studio's bottom line. They needed American stars who would appeal to an American audience. Who knows, perhaps if they were to remake it today, the cast would be all British and German, but I doubt it (see "Hart's War" where not only the plot, but all the British and Canadian characters that were in the book, disappeared).

All in all, "The Great Escape" is an entertaining movie telling a fascinating story of what ordinary men can achieve in adverse circumstances. It's well worth the time.

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