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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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Popularity: ?
Down 18% 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)
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  (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?

The medal that Colonel von Luger wears around his neck is the Pour le Merite, also known as the Blue Max. Originally a Prussian military honor, in the First World War it was automatically given to fighter pilots who shot down eight planes (later raised to sixteen). The Nazis replaced it with the Knight's Cross but it could still be worn by officers who'd won it before the Third Reich.See more »
Factual errors: When Ashley Pitt is in the tunnel, the topsoil is a sandy color and the tunnel soil is dark. In reality it was the other way around with the topsoil being gray and tunnel soil being yellow.See more »
Ramsey:Colonel Von Luger, it is the sworn duty of all officers to try to escape. If they cannot escape, then it is their sworn duty to cause the enemy to use an inordinate number of troops to guard them, and their sworn duty to harass the enemy to the best of their ability.See more »


Are any of the men still alive?
How many of the real escapees survived?
What is a "mole" escape?
See more »
148 out of 188 people found the following review useful.
Author: warrior_sarah from Stowe, Vermont

This is a great movie which much more historically accurate than it is often given credit for. So many who say otherwise are ill-informed and obviously don't know much about the actual history of that actual escape. The depiction of what happened to the recaptured prisoners in the movie of THE GREAT ESCAPE is reasonably accurate as detailed on the historyinfilm site...specifically on the "Reprisal" page; along with being detailed in the various published accounts.

Hitler ultimately calmed down after being reasoned with by Goering, Feldmarschall Keitel, Maj-Gen Graevenitz and Maj-Gen Westhoff, and dictated that more than half the prisoners be shot and cremated. So, as depicted in the film, several of those recaptured were not executed and were indeed returned to confinement. In fact, even those executed were not "shot on the spot" for the most part, but were actually executed later after being turned over to the Gestapo; most being shot while being allowed to relieve themselves, under the guise of "trying to escape".

Furthermore, there are many accounts as to how much more humane the environment was within the camp (which even had a popular and very successful theatre, featuring prisoners who would later be name performers) than many other POW camps...and certainly nothing like the harsh conditions associated with the Concentration or Extermination camps.

To quote one source:

"It must be made clear that the German Luftwaffe [the German Air Force], who were responsible for Air Force prisoners of war, maintained a degree of professional respect for fellow flyers, and the general attitude of the camp security officers and guards should not be confused with the SS or Gestapo. The Luftwaffe treated the POWs well, despite an erratic and inconsistent supply of food.

Prisoners were handled quite fairly within the Geneva Convention, and the Kommandant, Oberst (Colonel) Friedrich-Wilhelm von Lindeiner-Wildau, was a professional and honourable soldier who won the respect of the senior prisoners."

Finally, virtually all the major engineering aspects in regards to the tunnels and the initial escape in the film are as they were actually acheived in the real escape.

It would behoove some to learn a little more actual history or do a little simple research before shooting from the hip with supposed "knowledge" of reality. THE GREAT ESCAPE certainly takes liberties in tone and character portrayal, but not in the key elements that are disparaged out of sneering ignorance.

BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI is also a great film, but took even greater liberties with the technical details of the events described than THE GREAT ESCAPE did....and offering up VON RYAN'S EXPRESS as a more realistic alternative is simply delusional and ridiculous.

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