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The Great Escape (1963)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama, History | 4 July 1963 (USA)
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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
2,049 ( 163)
Top Rated Movies #125 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 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 (POWs) 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 film 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 boats and trains and planes to get out of occupied Europe. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

What went into these few seconds ... The Hell...the heroism...the high adventure ... Make for the screen's great entertainment! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German | French | Russian | Spanish

Release Date:

4 July 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El gran escape See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$12,100,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

The Mirisch Company,Alpha See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)| Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Sturges' assistant Robert E. Relyea was an amateur pilot and offered to fly the plane himself for the sequence in which Hendley and Blythe commandeer a plane for their escape. In one segment he had to simulate the plane losing power and descending over a line of trees. According to Relyea, a farmer in his field saw the plane with its Nazi insignia coming in low over his head and threw his rake at it. Another time Relyea was arrested when he had to put the plane down in a field that happened to belong to a German aviation official. He also piloted the plane in the crash shot, knocking himself unconscious and being taken to the hospital where he woke up later feeling a sharp pain down his back. See more »

Goofs

When Hilts and Ives are first put in the cooler, Ives is to the right as Hilts faces the door. As Hilts talks to Ives through the bars in the door, he faces the wrong direction. See more »

Quotes

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.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Smallville: Pariah (2005) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Great Escape
27 June 2001 | by joel cohenSee all my reviews

I saw this movie for the first time as a nine year old boy on a big screen in the Bronx. I'm now in my 40's. I have seen it many times since but not on the big screen. It was meant for the big screen! It's on my top five list along with The Sand Pebbles. It's a great movie about hope and freedom and man's responsibility to his fellow man. These men are all near saints; James Garner insisting on Donald Plesence making the escape, Charles Bronson fighting his claustrophobia. Steve McQueen is the star among the stars, not merely because of his motorcycle skills but for his attempt to save a life and for bringing the game of "off the wall" to the masses. :-)


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