21 user 10 critic

The McKenzie Break (1970)

PG | | Action, Drama, War | April 1971 (UK)
During WW2, German POWs in Britain plot to escape from their prison camp in Scotland.


Lamont Johnson


William W. Norton (screenplay) (as William Norton), Sidney Shelley (novel)
1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Brian Keith ... Capt. Jack Connor
Helmut Griem ... Kapitän zur See Willi Schluetter
Ian Hendry ... Maj. Perry
Jack Watson ... Gen. Kerr
Patrick O'Connell Patrick O'Connell ... Sgt. Maj. Cox
Horst Janson ... Lt. Neuchl
Alexander Allerson ... Lt. Wolff
John Abineri ... Capt. Kranz
Constantine Gregory ... Lt. Hall (as Constantin De Goguel)
Tom Kempinski Tom Kempinski ... Lt. Schmidt
Eric Allan Eric Allan ... Lt. Hochbauer
Caroline Mortimer Caroline Mortimer ... A.T.S. Sgt. Bell
Mary Larkin ... Cpl. Jean Watt
Gregg Palmer ... Lt. Berger
Michael Sheard ... Ingenieur-Offizier Unger


In the closing days of World War II, German prisoners riot in a POW Camp in Scotland. Fearful of a mass escape attempt, the British Army sends in an unorthodox Irish Captain in hopes of discovering exactly what is going on. The Irishman at once comes into conflict with the senior prisoner, a U-Boat commander, and the two must match wits, knowing that only one will emerge victorious. Written by Anthony Hughes <husnock31@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


CAPTAIN CONNOR. Fun-loving,sex-loving killer. Hated in London. That's why they gave him this lousy job: Get Willi and the U-Boat that's double-parked in the bay. See more »


Action | Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for violence, language and brief sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Lead actor of this movie Brian Keith as well as many of the supporting cast were television acting veterans. See more »


The Jeep used is a civilian CJ 3B model, first introduced in 1953. See more »


[last lines]
Captain Jack Connor: Willi, looks like we're both in the shithouse.
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SYMPHONY NO.3 E-FLAT MAJOR, OP.55 -- 1st & 2nd Movements
Music by Ludwig van Beethoven
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User Reviews

WWII story about a plot by German POWs to escape from Scottish concentration camp
11 March 2011 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Awesome , tense warlike movie with memorable images and outstanding acting by some well-known faces . This is a splendid film that succeeds largely because of particularly nice interpretations , it deals with a daring breakout from inescapable Scottish concentration camp carried out by Nazi officers incarnated by a good star cast and magnificently realized by Lamont Johnson . It's partially based on facts adapted by William Norton from a bestselling written by Sidney Shelley titled ¨The Bowmanville break¨ . The continuous escapes have caused the British staff ordered 'putting all the rotten eggs in one basket' as the officer prisoners are reunited into a special concentration camp called McKenzie , being commanded by a hard-drinking Major Perry (Ian Hendry) who efforts to stifle riots of the wily Nazis . Irish Intelligence captain named Connor (Brian Keith) , a special troubleshooter , is sent by General Kerr (Jack Watson ) to Scotland for resolving conflicts in the problematic camp . Connor suspects astute captain Schlueter (Helmut Griem) of being the mastermind behind the scheme about a mass escape and he is supposed to stop the action . It deals with hard preparatives of a diverse group formed by Doenitz's U-boat officers and Luffwaffe 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. twenty and some escaped prisoners throughout Scotland trying to make their bid to freedom .

This exciting story contains thrills, intrigue, tension, excitement galore, entertainment and lots of fun . Suspenseful WWII drama about a concentration camp from a German point of sight , it packs exceptional plethora of prestigious actors as British as German incarnating the motley group of POWs , all of them giving good acting and support , as Helmut Griem as U-boat Squadron leader who plans the massive breakout as Ian Hendry as serious Major and of course a sensational Brian Keith whose character , an arrogant Intelligence officer is sent to foil the getaway attempts . The picture belongs to a genre that has given classics as ¨The great escape¨, ¨Stalag 17¨, ¨Escape from Colditz¨, ¨Escape from Sorbibor¨ and many others . Colorful, atmospheric cinematography by Michael Reed , Hammer Production's usual ; it is shot in Ardmore Studios, Herbert Road, Bray, County Wicklow,Ireland ,Santa Monica, California, USA ,Turkey and photography being perfectly remastered . Excellent production design and art direction with evocative sets from concentration camp and barbwire . Rousing and lively soundtrack by Riz Ortalani . This well executed motion picture is well directed by Lamont Johnson . Rating : Two thumbs up , essential and indispensable watching , a real must see for its strong characterizations and interesting issues .

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Ireland | UK


English | German

Release Date:

April 1971 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Escape See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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