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Allied prisoners of war plan for several hundred of their number to escape from a German camp during World War II.

Director:

John Sturges

Writers:

Paul Brickhill (book), James Clavell (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
1,988 ( 221)
Top Rated Movies #142 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Steve McQueen ... Hilts 'The Cooler King'
James Garner ... Hendley 'The Scrounger'
Richard Attenborough ... Bartlett 'Big X'
James Donald ... Ramsey 'The SBO'
Charles Bronson ... Danny 'Tunnel King'
Donald Pleasence ... Blythe 'The Forger'
James Coburn ... Sedgwick 'Manufacturer'
Hannes Messemer ... Von Luger 'The Kommandant'
David McCallum ... Ashley-Pitt 'Dispersal'
Gordon Jackson ... MacDonald 'Intelligence'
John Leyton ... Willie 'Tunnel King'
Angus Lennie ... Ives 'The Mole'
Nigel Stock ... Cavendish 'The Surveyor'
Robert Graf Robert Graf ... Werner 'The Ferret'
Jud Taylor ... Goff
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Storyline

Based on a true story, a group of allied escape artist-type prisoners-of-war are all put in an "escape proof" camp. Their leader decides to try to take out several hundred all at once. The first half of the movie is played for comedy, as the prisoners mostly outwit their jailers to dig the escape tunnel. The second half is high adventure as they use planes, trains, and boats to get out of occupied Europe. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

put a fence in front of these men...and they'll climb it... See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Karl-Otto Alberty appeared in The Winds of War (1983) and War and Remembrance (1988), in two different roles. In each role, however, he appeared opposite Natalie Jastrow, played in the first mini-series by Ali MacGraw, and in the second by Jane Seymour. MacGraw had been married to Steve McQueen, while Seymour had been married to Michael Attenborough, son of Sir Richard Attenborough. See more »

Goofs

When the Americans are marching as "The Spirit of '76", they stop before the Senior Barracks Officer. The last fife note is heard after Hilts lowers the fife from his lips. See more »

Quotes

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.
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Alternate Versions

Some TV versions edit the scene in which Ives is shot and killed for trying to escape over the fence. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bloodtide (1982) See more »

User Reviews

 
Awesome warlike movie with memorable images and outstanding acting by well-known faces
1 November 2010 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

This is a splendid film about a daring breakout from inescapable Nazi concentration camp , Stalag Luft North , with all star cast and magnificently realized by John Sturges . It's partially based on facts adapted by James Clavell and W.R. Burnett from a bestselling written by Paul Brickhill . The continuous escapes have caused the Nazi staff ordered 'putting all the rotten eggs in one basket' as the prisoners are reunited into a special concentration camp . It deals with hard preparatives of a diverse group formed by rebel air officers and soldiers mounting a dangerous getaway from a barbed-wired and strongly controlled camp . The most part of the film concerns on the elaborated process of secretly digging an underground tunnel and the last one deals with spectacular breakout and effort the approx. 70 escaped prisoners throughout Germany trying to make their bid to freedom , including an impressive motorcycle pursuit in charge of iconic Steve McQueen for one of the best action sequences in years .

This exciting story contains thrills, intrigue, tension, excitement galore, entertainment and lots of fun . Suspenseful WWII epic packs exceptional plethora of prestigious actors incarnating the motley group of POWs , giving good acting and support , as a sensational Steve McQueen whose character , ¨The Cooler King¨ , remains today as attractive iconography ; Charles Bronson as digging expert but suffering claustrophobia ; Donald Pleasance as professional on forge documents but blind , James Coburn as roguish Australian and of course Richard Attenborough as Air Force Squadron leader who plans the massive breakout , furthermore , James Garner as American officer , the British Gordon Jackson and David McCallum, among others . Colorful, atmospheric cinematography shot in Bavaria,Germany, by Daniel Fapp and perfectly remastered . Excellent production design and art direction with evocative sets by Fernando Carrere. Rousing and lively soundtrack , nowadays a classic score, by Elmer Bernstein . This blockbuster is followed by inferior TV sequel with Christopher Reeve, Judd Hirsch , Ian McShane and directed Jud Taylor who played to Goff in the original version . The motion picture is magnificently directed By John Sturges , author of various classic Western as ¨Escape from Fort Bravo, Gunfight at the OK Corral, The law and Jake Wade, Magnificent seven¨ and also realized another nice wartime film as ¨ The eagle has landed ¨ . Rating : Two thumbs up , essential and indispensable watching , a real must see.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German | French | Russian | Spanish

Release Date:

4 July 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Great Escape See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$227,940
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)| Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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