The Great Escape (film)


United States
War / Drama
172 minutes

directed by John Sturges
with Steve McQueen, James Garner and Richard Attenborough

The Great Escape is a 1963 American World War II epic film that depicts an escape by British Commonwealth prisoners of war from a German POW camp. The film stars Steve McQueen, James Garner, and Richard Attenborough and features James Donald, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasence, James Coburn, and Hannes Messemer. It was filmed in Panavision.

The film is based on Paul Brickhill’s 1950 book of the same name, a non-fiction first-hand account of the mass escape from Stalag Luft III in Sagan (now Żagań, Poland), in the province of Lower Silesia, Nazi Germany. A heavily fictionalised version of the escape is depicted in the film. The film was based on the real events but with numerous compromises for its commercial appeal, such as including Americans among the escapees (none of whom were actually American). The characters are based on real men, and in some cases are composites of several men. However, many details of the actual escape attempt were changed for the film, and the role of American personnel in both the planning and the escape was largely fabricated. The Great Escape was made by The Mirisch Company, released by United Artists, and produced and directed by John Sturges.

The film had its Royal World Premiere at the Odeon Leicester Square in London’s West End on 20 June 1963.

Superb classic movie about a couple of Allied prisoners of war in a Nazi camp trying to escape. Each character has his own specialism and together they try to outsmart the Nazis. The plot is ingenious and the outbreak is incredibly exciting.

But the film also has a humorous undertone, which certainly creates an almost airy atmosphere in the first part. With the beautiful music that only strengthens it. And the film has brought together a number of class actors such as McQueen, Garner, Attenborough, Bronson and Pleasence. All very strong. After the outbreak there will be a long section that you can see as a cat and mouse game between the escaped Allies and the Nazis. With a dark end that strangely feels airy too.


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