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The Great Escape (1963) Poster

Quotes

[repeated line]

Colin: Splendid!

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Sedgwick: Danny, do you speak Russian?

Danny: A little, but only one sentence.

Sedgwick: Well, let me have it, mate.

Danny: Ya vas lyublyu.

Sedgwick: Ya ya vas...

Danny: Lyublyu.

Sedgwick: Lyubliu? Ya vas lyubliu. Ya vas lyublyu. What's it mean?

Danny: I love you.

Sedgwick: Love you. What bloody good is that?

Danny: I don't know, I wasn't going to use it myself.

Von Luger: Are all American officers so ill-mannered?

Hilts: Yeah, about 99 percent.

Von Luger: Then perhaps while you are with us you will have a chance to learn some. Ten days isolation, Hilts.

Hilts: CAPTAIN Hilts.

Von Luger: Twenty days.

Hilts: Right. Oh, uh, you'll still be here when I get out?

Von Luger: [visibly annoyed] Cooler!

Hilts: [tasting the moonshine, speaks in a raspy voice] Wow!

Hendley: [tasting the moonshine, speaks in a hoarse tone] Wow!

Goff: [tasting the moonshine, is wracked with coughing and weakly says while still coughing] ... wow...

Hilts: I haven't seen Berlin yet, from the ground or from the air, and I plan on doing both before the war is over.

Hilts: How many you taking out?

Bartlett: Two hundred and fifty.

Hilts: Two hundred and fifty?

Bartlett: Yeh.

Hilts: You're crazy. You oughta be locked up. You, too. Two hundred and fifty guys just walkin' down the road, just like that?

Hilts: Wait a minute. You aren't seriously suggesting that if I get through the wire... and case everything out there... and don't get picked up... to turn myself in and get thrown back in the cooler for a couple of months so you can get the information you need?

Bartlett: Yes.

Bartlett: What about the goon towers?

Hilts: That's a chance you're gonna have to take. But they're gonna be watching the compound, not the woods.

[last lines of part one]

Hilts: [after Ives is killed] Sir, let me know the exact information you need. I'm going out tonight.

Bartlett: Right.

[to Danny]

Bartlett: Open up Harry. We dig. Around the clock.

Bartlett: Gentlemen, no doubt you've heard the immortal words of our new commandant: devote your energies to things other than escape, and sit out the war as comfortably as possible.

Sedgwick: [derisively] Ha!

Bartlett: Well, that's exactly what we're going to do. We're going to devote our energies to sports and gardening, all the cultural pursuits as far as they're concerned. In fact, we're going to put the goons to sleep. Meanwhile, we dig. Now, even a superficial look at the compound shows us that Huts 104 and 5 are closest to the woods. The first tunnel goes out from 105, directly east under the vorlager, the cooler, and the wire.

Willie: But that's over three hundred feet, Roger!

Bartlett: Did you make a survey, Dennis?

Cavendish: Only a temporary one, sir. I make it just over three hundred and thirty-five feet.

Bartlett: Let me know when you've got an exact one. Willie, this time we'll dig straight down thirty feet before we go horizontal. That'll rule out any question of sound detection or probing.

Willie: All right, Roger. But did you say "the first tunnel"?

Bartlett: I did. There will be three. We'll call them Tom, Dick, and Harry. Tom, as I said, goes out directly east from 104. Dick goes north from the kitchen, and Harry goes out parallel to Tom from 105. If the goons find one, we'll move into the other.

MacDonald: How many men do you plan to take out, Roger?

Bartlett: Two hundred and fifty.

[Shocked stares]

Bartlett: There will be no half-measures this time, gentlemen. There will be identification papers and documents for everyone. And Griff, we'll need outfits for the lot.

Griffith: Two hundred and fifty?

Bartlett: Mostly civilian clothes.

Griffith: Yes, but, um... okay, Roger.

Bartlett: Mac. Maps, blankets, rations, compasses for all the walkers, and timetables for every train.

MacDonald: Right, Roger.

[Blythe enters]

Colin: Sorry I'm late, Roger.

Bartlett: It's all right, Colin. Sit down. We're going to tunnel.

Colin: Splendid.

Bartlett: Willie, you and Danny will be tunnel kings. Danny, you'll be in charge of traps, and I'll work out the exact location with you tomorrow.

Danny: Good.

Bartlett: Sedgwick, manufacturer. Griffith, I said, tailor. Nimmo and Hayes, diversions. Mac, of course, will take care of intelligence. Hendley? We haven't met. Scrounger?

Colin: Thank you for getting me out.

Bartlett: One has to ask some very strange things in the job I have.

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Colin: Afraid this tea's pathetic. Must have used these wretched leaves about twenty times. It's not that I mind so much. Tea without milk is so uncivilized.

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Hilts: I'm going... out.

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MacDonald: Oh my God, they found Tom.

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

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Von Luger: It looks, after all, as if you will see Berlin before I do.

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Bartlett: Hilts, how do you breathe?

Hilts: Oh, we got a steel rod with hinges on it. We'll shove it up and make air holes as we go along.

[to Ramsey]

Hilts: G'night, sir.

[Walks out]

MacDonald: Why didn't anyone think of that before? It's so stupid, it's positively brilliant!

[face falls]

MacDonald: Oh, but it'll bring every goon in the camp down on top of us!

Bartlett: I don't know. Perhaps we're being too clever. If we stop all the breakouts, it will only convince the goons we must be tunneling.

Ramsey: I hope it works. If it doesn't, those two will be in the cooler for an awfully long time.

[cut to Hilts and Ives being escorted back to the cooler covered in dirt]

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Bartlett: [of the Americans' vodka] In the three years, seven months and two weeks that I've been in the bag, that's the most extraordinary stuff I've ever tasted. It's shattering!

MacDonald: Well, I think it's rather good... Well, with your permission, sir, I think I'll all on kives. Er, call on Ives.

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Hilts: Hold on to yourself, Bartlett. You're twenty feet short.

Bartlett: What do you mean, twenty feet short?

Hilts: You're twenty feet short of the woods. The hole is right here in open. The guard is between us and the lights.

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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.

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Stratwitch: What are you doing over here by the wire?

Hilts: Well, like I told Max here, I was trying to get my...

German Soldier: [Voice] Achtung!

[Von Luger enters]

Von Luger: What were you doing by the wire?

Hilts: Well, like I told Max... I was trying to cut my way through your wire because I want to get out.

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Ramsey: Roger's idea was to get back at the enemy the hardest way he could, mess up the works. From what we've heard here, I think he did exactly that.

Hendley: Do you think it was worth the price?

Ramsey: Depends on your point of view, Hendley.

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Stratwitch: I will not take action against you, now. This is the first day here and there has been much stupidity and carelessness... on both sides!

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Hendley: Come on, Roger. We all know the score here, at least... most of us do. Your idea of this escape is to... start another front, to foul up the Germans behind the lines. All right, that's fine, that's fine. But once we get passed that barbed wire, once we have them looking all over Germany for us, that mission is accomplished. Afterwards, we have some ideas of our own.

Bartlett: You mean getting home? Back to your family and children?

Hendley: That's right.

Bartlett: Good God, man. Do you really believe I haven't thought about that, too?

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Bartlett: Not Colin. He'd be an appalling hazard to the whole escape. That must be my decision.

Hendley: You want to talk about hazards? Let talk about hazards. Lets talk about you. You're the biggest hazard we have. The Gestapo has you marked. No one has said you can't go.

Bartlett: That's true, and I have thought about the Gestapo. But if you're asking me how a far a commanding officer is allowed to go, or dare go, or should be permitted to play God, I can't answer you.

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Colin: Tea?

Hendley: I only drank tea once - in a hospital.

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Stratwitch: Your name?

Ives: Ives.

[Strachwitz looks through his prisoner profiles]

Stratwitch: Ives... Ives... Oh, yes. Archibald Ives. Scot. The photograph doesn't do justice.

Ives: I'd like to see one of you under similar circumstances.

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[the German camp commandant explains why so many incorrigible Allied prisoners were placed in the place Stalag]

Von Luger: We have in effect put all our rotten eggs in one basket. And we intend to watch this basket carefully.

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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!

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[on some materials he's using for escape clothes]

Bartlett: Where in God's name did you get these?

Griffith: Hendley.

Bartlett: Well, where did he get them?

Griffith: Well, I asked him that.

Bartlett: What did he say?

Griffith: "Don't ask."

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Bartlett: Virgil, isn't it?

Hilts: Hilts. Just make it Hilts.

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Stratwitch: [Danny and Sedgewick are trying to sneak out with a group of Russian prisoners] Halt!

[walks over to Sedgewick]

Stratwitch: Out!

[pause]

Stratwitch: OUT!

Danny: [No, No! Comrade!] Nyet, nyet! Tovarich!

Stratwitch: Oh, he's your friend.

Danny: [Comrade!] Tovarich!

Stratwitch: And who vouches for you, Lieutenant Willenski? Come on out, Sedgewick.

Danny: [hands coat back to Russian prisoner and steps out of line] Spasiba.

[thanks]

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Ashley-Pitt: [watching Hilts be brought back into camp] I didn't think he'd get caught so soon.

Bartlett: He wasn't caught.

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Colin: I can't see a bloody thing!

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Hendley: Colin's not a blind man as long as he's with me. And he's going with me!

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Colin: You know, he's right. he's right. I really shouldn't go. My eyes have been getting worse and worse. I think they call it progressive Myopia. I can see things up here.

[looks at pin]

Colin: yes I can see it well, but, you're just a blur.

Hendley: I know. Ah, Hell, we'll make it in great shape. Colin, do you have any tea?

Colin: Yes, of course.

Hendley: Let's have some.

Colin: Splendid.

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[gathering wood to shore up the tunnels, Hilts removes the wooden slats from bunk beds in the sleeping area of the prisoner barracks, holding a stack of them, and walks carefully out into the hallway]

Cavendish: [passes Hilts in the hallway on his way to his bunk bed] Five gold rings. Four calling birds - bloody singing, I've never worked so hard in all my life. Hi, Hilts!

Hilts: [turns and tries to warn him] Say, Cavendish...

Cavendish: Four calling birds, three French hens, two turtledoves, and a partridge in a pear - Alley-oop!

[Cavendish climbs to the top bunk, and vaults onto the unsupported mattress, which collapses under his weight through the bed frame, as well as the two beneath it. Hilts approaches the doorway and sees Cavendish on the floor]

Hilts: Never mind.

[Leaves]

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Bartlett: It's possible for one man to get out through the wire, even get away, but there are in fact a considerable number of people besides yourself in this camp who are trying to escape.

Hilts: I appreciate that.

[pauses, looks at Bartlett]

Hilts: Something's coming. I can feel it, and it's coming right around the corner at me, Squadron Leader!

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Sorren: Roger, who's going to handle security for this lot?

Bartlett: You are.

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Herr Kuhn: We have reason to believe this prisoner is the mastermind behind numerous criminal escape attempts.

Von Luger: [sarcastically] Squadron Leader Bartlett has been three months in your care! And the Gestapo has only "reason to believe"!

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Herr Kuhn: [to Bartlett] Squadron Leader Bartlett, if you escape again, and are captured, you will be SHOT!

Herr Kuhn: [to Von Luger] Heil Hitler!

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Steinach: Herr Bartlett-!

[Bartlett turns around and says something in German]

Steinach: Your German is good. And I hear, also, your French. Your arms...

[pulls a gun]

Steinach: UP!

[Bartlett surrenders]

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[the Gestapo have captured Bartlett and MacDonald]

Preissen: Ah, Herr Bartlett. And Herr MacDonald. We are together again. You're going to wish you had never put us to so much trouble!

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Cavendish: [Hilts has just taken some boards out of all the beds and Denys walks in after singing] 5 golds rings, 4 calling birds, bloody singing, hi Hilts.

Hilts: Denys, wait...

Cavendish: 3 french hens, 2 turtle doves and a partridge, alley-oop!

[jumps on to bed and falls through all three]

Hilts: [sees that Denys has fallen through bed] Never mind.

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[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.

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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.

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Ramsey: [in the first meeting with Von Luger is informed of the large amount of resources being used to guard the prisoners] Well, it's rather nice to know that you're wanted.

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Ramsey: [after hearing complaints about the plethora of escapes] Colonel, do you expect officers to forget their duty?

Von Luger: [reluctantly] No. It is precisely because we expect the opposite that you are here.

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Hilts: What do they call a mole in Scotland?

Ives: A mole.

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Danny: Oh, Hendley. I need a pick. Big, heavy one.

Hendley: Only one?

Danny: Two would be better.

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Danny: Willie, since I was a boy, I hate and fear little rooms, closets, caves.

Willie: But Danny, you've dug seventeen tunnels. Over seventeen!

Danny: Because I must get out! I hide the fear, and I dig. Tomorrow night in the tunnel with all those men... I'm afraid maybe this time I will lose my head and ruin the escape for everybody.

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Ramsey: Did the Gestapo give you a rough time?

Bartlett: Not nearly as rough as I now intend to give them.

Ramsey: Roger, personal revenge must be kept out of what we have to do here. Too many lives are at stake.

Bartlett: [scoffing] What my personal feelings are is of no importance. You appointed me Big X. And it's my duty to harass, confound, and confuse the enemy to the best of my ability.

Ramsey: That's true.

Bartlett: Well, that's what I intend to do. I'm going to cause such a terrible stink in this... Third Reich of theirs, that thousands of troops that could well be employed at the front will be tied up here looking after us.

Ramsey: How?

Bartlett: By putting more men out of this... "perfect" camp of theirs than have ever escaped before. Oh, not blitzing out two or three or a dozen, but two hundred, three hundred. Scatter them all over Germany.

Ramsey: Do you think that's possible?

Bartlett: Well, the men are here to do it. The goons have put every escape artist in Germany in this camp. You said so yourself.

Ramsey: Have you thought of what it might cost?

Bartlett: I've thought of the humiliation if we just... tamely submit. Knuckle under and crawl. Surely, you don't advocate that, do you, sir?

Ramsey: I have to point out one thing to you, Roger. No matter how unsatisfactory this camp may be, the High Command have still left us in the hands of the Luftwaffe. Not the Gestapo and the SS.

Bartlett: Look, sir, you talk about the High Command and the Luftwaffe, and then you talk about the Gestapo and the SS. To me, they're the same! We're fighting the bloody lot! There's only one way to put it, sir: they are the common enemies of everyone who believes in freedom. If the High Command didn't approve of Hitler, then why didn't they throw him out?

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Willie: [arriving at Stalag Luft III] How far are the trees, Danny?

Danny: Over... two hundred feet.

Willie: Yeah, I'd say three hundred.

Danny: Long ways to dig.

Willie: We'll get Cavendish to make a survey. I wish Big X were here.

Danny: Willy, you think X got away?

Willie: Well, he'd have sent us word somehow if he had.

Danny: Gestapo, you think?

Willie: Either that or he's dead.

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Hendley: Right.

Bartlett: Dennis, maps and surveys. Colin, you'll take your usual job. Eric, have you thought how you're going to get rid of this dirt?

Ashley-Pitt: Yes, I have. The usual places. I hadn't anticipated three tunnels, but we'll manage.

Sorren: Roger, who's going to handle security for all this?

Bartlett: You are. I want a system of stooges covering this compound from front to back, checking every goon in and out. I want a signal system so perfect that if ever a ferret gets within fifty feet of any of the huts in which we're working, we can shut down without a sign.

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Willie: This is the dirt from the compound.

Danny: This is from the tunnel.

[Mac takes a handful of tunnel dirt and sprinkles it onto the mound from the compound]

MacDonald: Wherever we put it, they're going to spot it a mile away.

Willie: Well, maybe we could put it under the huts. The dirt's dark there.

MacDonald: Nah. No, it's the first place the ferrets would look. I saw one measuring the height under a hut yesterday.

Willie: Well, maybe we could dry it out the same color.

Danny: We'll have fifty tons of it.

Willie: Well, I was just thinking out loud.

Bartlett: If you must think, for God's sake, think clearly. Where the devil is Ashley-Pitt?

MacDonald: We can't destroy the dirt, and we can't eat it. The only thing left to do is... camouflage it. That's as far as my thinking takes me.

[Ashley-Pitt enters]

Bartlett: Didn't they teach you promptness in the R.N.?

Ashley-Pitt: You'll never believe it, but I think I have the solution. The problem is somehow to get rid of this tunnel dirt over the compound.

Bartlett: Well, of course.

Ashley-Pitt: Would you mind?

[Eric hands Danny and Willie a blanket, which they set on the floor, while Eric gets his contraption ready]

Ashley-Pitt: Now... you fill these bags with the dirt from the tunnel. Then, wearing them *inside* your trousers, you wander out into the compound, where you pull these strings in your pockets. Out come the pins...

[Eric pulls the pins out to demonstrate]

Danny: Eric, it's good.

Ashley-Pitt: All you have to do is... kick it in. Unless you're a complete fool, the ferrets will never see a thing.

MacDonald: It's indecently brilliant. What do you think, Roger?

Bartlett: We'll try it first thing tomorrow.

Ashley-Pitt: I already have. It works.

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Sedgwick: [On his reason for standing by the shower] I'm watching him. I'm a lifeguard.

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Ramsey: Up the rebels.

Goff: Down the British.

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Hilts: [tasting their moonshine] Wow!

Hendley: Wow!

Goff: [starts coughing uncontrollably] Wow!

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See also

Trivia | Goofs | Crazy Credits | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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