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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   150,748 votes »
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Up 10% 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 »
User Reviews:
A genuine timeless classic. See more (291 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?

Early on in the production, John Sturges began receiving memos from distributor United Artists requesting female roles in the picture. One even suggested having the dying Ashley-Pitt cradled in the lap of a beautiful girl in a low-cut blouse. The studio wanted to cast this bit by having a Miss Prison Camp contest in Munich. Sturges would have none of it.See more »
Factual errors: Group Captain Ramsey's bottom three service ribbons denote service during the first world war. (Correct order would be: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal). However, these three ribbons are worn backwards on his uniform throughout the film (Victory Medal, British War Medal, 1914-15 Star).See more »
[first title card]
Title Card:This is a true story. Although the characters are composites of real men, and time and place have been compressed, every detail of the escape is the way it really happened.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in "Red Dwarf: Queeg (#2.5)" (1988)See more »


Any recommendations for movies similar to "The Great Escape"?
Is this a true story?
What did Hendley mean when he asked Blythe "What are you doing here?"
See more »
90 out of 116 people found the following review useful.
A genuine timeless classic., 28 December 2003
Author: KEVMC from Rugby, UK.

During World War Two the Germans build a new prison camp, Stalag Luft III, for the express purpose of housing many of their most troublesome captured Allied airmen. However, all this serves to do is to pool the resources of some of the most ingenious escape artists in captivity and fill them with a resolve to engineer a mass breakout from the camp.

Based largely on real events, this film has assumed classic status over the years and its easy to understand why. Quite simply, it excells in many departments. Director John Sturges was at the height of his creative powers and he keeps a firm grip on the proceedings. Although the film runs close to three hours it never feels sluggish, while at the same time winding up the tension gradually and developing the characters. The production design is first rate, to the point where Donald Pleasance (who had been a P.O.W.) felt quite intimidated by the vast set on his arrival. Daniel Fapp's beautiful photography shows this and the picturesque German locations off to full effect. Put these virtues together with a good script, inspired casting and a classic score by Elmer Bernstein, and you have an object lesson in how to create an intelligent and exciting big budget adventure film.

On the subject of the cast; Much is made of Steve McQueen's role. While I am a huge McQueen fan, I feel that some of the other performances are equal to, if not better than his. Richard Attenborough, James Garner, Donald Pleasance, Charles Bronson and Gordon Jackson are all excellent. Good too are James Coburn, James Donald, David McCallum and Hannes Messemer as the sympathetic Commandant.

This is one of those films that I can happily watch time and time again. In September of this year a new print was screened at the NFT in London as part of an 'Attenborough at 80' season. It was a pleasure to see this on the big screen at last. For the most part the print was in very good condition. The DVD was one of the first that I ever bought some three and a half years ago, and I watched its inevitable Christmas screening on BBC2 last night. I just never tire of it. In these days of brainless, poorly executed action fodder, its a joy to behold something that hits its targets so precisely.

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Great Escape (1963)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Is this the worst Australian accent ever? kneecapboy
Why didn't they wait for another chance to escape later on? Strongnoah
One of the best escape movies ever. bicentennialmanforever
Paul Royle 17 January 1914 - 23 August 2015 doug65oh
I just noticed that... darcila86
Did the Cooler kings dodgy punch make Blythe go blind? old-skool101
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