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The Great Escape (1963)

Not Rated | | Adventure, Drama, History | 4 July 1963 (USA)
Trailer
2:42 | Trailer
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 »
Reviews
Popularity
1,489 ( 266)
Top Rated Movies #134 | 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 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:

Not Rated | 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:

The Great Escape See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$227,940
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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

The German characters were cast from actors out of Munich, including Hannes Messemer and Til Kiwe. Both had their own prisoner of war experiences. Messemer had been captured on the Eastern front by the Soviet Army, escaped, and walked hundreds of miles to the German border. Frick served time in an American prison camp in Arizona. He tried to escape seventeen times. See more »

Goofs

Group Captain Ramsey's bottom three service ribbons denote service during the first world war. (Correct order would be: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal). However, these three ribbons are worn backwards on his uniform throughout the film (Victory Medal, British War Medal, 1914-15 Star). See more »

Quotes

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?
See more »

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 The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 (2015) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

clearly ahead of its time..
15 November 2018 | by Arth_JoshiSee all my reviews

The Great Escape

Sturges's nail biting escape from the war, is a symphony that soars among all the best outcome that the genre has given us. Sturges means business in here, from the first frame till the curtain drops. He doesn't have any time to go waste by, he cares for the quality offered to the viewers. And the standard is kept persistent. The story called for your usual supporting characters with allotted characteristics that keeps the viewers tangled onto them. But this is no fiction, each characters might be given a signature name, but they are more to what they seem and Sturges proves that in nearly three hours that feels like seconds passing by.

The primary strength of the feature is how the makers fiddle with the geography, environment and the set pieces that every now and then elevates the momentum as the gripping screenplay enfolds onto the screen. The narration is gripping and adoptive with a fascinating structure that builds up the base with equal sincerity and mannerism. It relies a lot upon the physical sequences and yet it never grows dull for it is brimmed with tiny notions and tactics that are pure delights. McQueen stands out from the first act and still he remains of the similar palpable tone like the rest of his cast.

Garner gets a much stronger parallel role but Bronson's few compelling sequences steals the show. The cunning ways to cheat their way out and the surveillance team still figuring out their tricks, these sew saw are the best bits of the feature and they are in plethora of it; it is thoroughly entertaining. Armed with such a sharp adaptation, Sturges's execution is plausible and is worth every drop of the sweat that went into it. The Great Escape confronts the reality with a language that was clearly ahead of its time.


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