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

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The Great Escape -- Trailer for The Great Escape
The Great Escape -- Clip: Tunnel
The Great Escape -- Clip: Baseball

Overview

User Rating:
8.3/10   138,582 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Paul Brickhill (book)
James Clavell (screenplay) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Great Escape on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
4 July 1963 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
put a fence in front of these men...and they'll climb it... See more »
Plot:
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:
Awards:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 4 wins & 4 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
If you're going to critique the history, then know the history. See more (286 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Directed by
John Sturges 
 
Writing credits
Paul Brickhill (book)

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

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)
 
Stunts
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:
Runtime:
172 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System) | Mono
Certification:
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:Unrated | USA:Approved (PCA #20399) | West Germany:12 (f)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Donald Pleasence's character was based partly on London-born John Cordwell, later a Chicago architect and then proprietor of the Red Lion Pub on the city's N. Lincoln Avenue. Cordwell died in 1999. Stories about him and the Red Lion are told from various points of view in the collection "Tales from the Red Lion" (Chicago: Twilight Tales, 2007, ISBN 0977985623).See more »
Goofs:
Incorrectly regarded as goofs: When Roger meets the SBO for the first time, Roger is told that the prisoners wanted to "bring out the Welcoming Committee". However, Roger was specially delivered to the camp by a Gestapo/SS detachment. The SBO and other prisoners would have had no prior knowledge that Roger was arriving. Earlier on, MacDonald notices Bartlett arriving at the camp, and goes off to pass the word onto the other soldiers. Between when Bartlett is brought into Von Luger's office, and the time he goes to see Ramsey, this would have been enough time for a small, impromptu welcoming committee to have been formed.See more »
Quotes:
Goff:[Sedgewick has just descended into the tunnel entrance] Was that Sedgewick with his steamer trunk?
POW:Who else?
Goff:I wish he was back in Australia with his kangaroos.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in The Great Escape: The Reckoning (2009) (TV)See more »

FAQ

Is this movie based on a book?
Any recommendations for movies similar to "The Great Escape"?
What did Hendley mean when he asked Blythe "What are you doing here?"
See more »
68 out of 72 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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