The Great Escape (1963) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: 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 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. Runtime: 172 mins Release Date: 03 Jul 1963
This must be my favorite movie of all times. Having seen it for the first time,in I guess 1987,a BBC Christmas broadcast,I was captivated by this brilliant piece of work. In the years after,I probably have seen it a "million" times,owning it on VHS and DVD,and still watching,whenever it is broadcast,in the original language. Why is it so great? This is a movie that keeps you locked to the screen,because it has everything a great movie should have. A great story,a good length,tension,it is a WW2 movie and the actors give top performances.Not just Steve McQueen,although his <more>
performance is brilliant,but also James Garner,James Coburn,Richard Attenborough,Charles Bronson and in this film,one of the greatest roles Donald Pleasance,playing the forger. It isn't historically accurate,please read the book by Paul Brickhill,but that doesn't matter a bit. This film gives you an image of POW camp,the prisoners and their guards,the Germans are also played brilliantly by German actors. I will not repeat the story here,but I can tell you,this film will capture you,all the characters are portrayed brilliantly by the actors. There is excitement,humor,tension,drama and emotion. See it,you will not regret it.
The Great Escape is a classic war movie with plenty happening in it. It just so happens that it is my all time favourite having seen it 60 times since it first was released. Steve McQueen , as Hilts, was the driving force behind this movie. He seemed to tie everything together between the American and British prisoners especially in the scene where they were celebrating the 4th of July with the drums and good ole fashioned American moonshine. The Great Escape contains one of the most famous movie scenes of all times when McQueen has half of the German army chasing after him while riding his <more>
motorcycle trying to jump the barb wire fence to get to Switzerland. All in all, The Great Escape had a cast of actors that was so strong that it was a wonder they got this movie made in the first place with all of the egos involved. James Garner, Charles Bronson, Angus Lennie, James Coburn, etc.were absolutely awesome.
The Great Escape is THE prison escape movie. The film is rich with characters and the direction by John Sturges is great. Steve McQueen is the man and the rest of the cast are terrific. This movie is heroic and shows the bravery of men in the second world war. I escape into this movie whenever I feel really down, it's a great spirit lifter and one of the greatest films of all time.
A genuine timeless classic. (by KEVMC)
During World War Two the Germans build a new prison camp, Stalag Luft III, for the express purpose of housing many of their most troublesome captured Allied airmen. However, all this serves to do is to pool the resources of some of the most ingenious escape artists in captivity and fill them with a resolve to engineer a mass breakout from the camp. Based largely on real events, this film has assumed classic status over the years and its easy to understand why. Quite simply, it excells in many departments. Director John Sturges was at the height of his creative powers and he keeps a firm grip <more>
on the proceedings. Although the film runs close to three hours it never feels sluggish, while at the same time winding up the tension gradually and developing the characters. The production design is first rate, to the point where Donald Pleasance who had been a P.O.W. felt quite intimidated by the vast set on his arrival. Daniel Fapp's beautiful photography shows this and the picturesque German locations off to full effect. Put these virtues together with a good script, inspired casting and a classic score by Elmer Bernstein, and you have an object lesson in how to create an intelligent and exciting big budget adventure film. On the subject of the cast; Much is made of Steve McQueen's role. While I am a huge McQueen fan, I feel that some of the other performances are equal to, if not better than his. Richard Attenborough, James Garner, Donald Pleasance, Charles Bronson and Gordon Jackson are all excellent. Good too are James Coburn, James Donald, David McCallum and Hannes Messemer as the sympathetic Commandant. This is one of those films that I can happily watch time and time again. In September of this year a new print was screened at the NFT in London as part of an 'Attenborough at 80' season. It was a pleasure to see this on the big screen at last. For the most part the print was in very good condition. The DVD was one of the first that I ever bought some three and a half years ago, and I watched its inevitable Christmas screening on BBC2 last night. I just never tire of it. In these days of brainless, poorly executed action fodder, its a joy to behold something that hits its targets so precisely.
A vast, multi-star war epic with great score by Elmer Bernstein... (by Nazi_Fighter_David)
'The Great Escape' had the advantage of a fine source, and a fine script... Each actor realizes his potential in a very detailed manner, giving a feeling lost in the actual cinema...Sturges is careful with the pace in the first half, allowing the escape plans develop slowly... Humor, excitement and human drama are wonderfully blended, and smartly underscored by Elmer Bernstein's memorable background music... The film opens with several truckloads of Allied officers, mostly pilots, being transferred to a new German maximum-security prison camp at Sagan... The Camp <more>
'Kommandant', Von Luger Hannes Messemer , tells Captain Ramsey James Donald , 'We have, in effect, put all our rotten eggs in one basket, and we intend to watch this basket carefully.'But since all the British and American officers in his charge are men who have made several attempts to escape from other prison camps, Von Luger knows his words are meaningless... The master planner is 'Big X,' Roger Bartlett Richard Attenborough , who has just endured three months of Gestapo/SS torture, and plans to strike back, getting as many men as possible out of the camp, in order to 'harass, confuse and confound the enemy' behind the lines...He announces a terrific plan for a mass break-out of 250 men and schemes three simultaneous tunnels Tom, Dick, and Harry... The plan, so precise, proceeds in an orderly fashion, with a great deal of attention placed on caution and ruse to deflect German attentions... The captives involve themselves in much surface activity, which masks the underground work... Hilts Steve McQuenn , the 'Cooler King,' leads the Germans on a memorable motorcycle chase through back roads and across the fields right up to the Swiss frontier...Hendley James Garner , the 'Scrounger' is a charming thief whose particular gift is the misappropriation of all the required supplies for an escape...Blythe Donald Pleasance has the talents of a 'Forger', and makes visas and passports... He suggests in one scene: ' Tea without milk is so uncivilized.'Danny Velinski Charles Bronson is the experienced Polish-American 'Tunnel-King.' Louis Sedgwick James Coburn is the 'Manufacturer' of bellows-operated ventilation...Ashley-Pitt David McCallum is the 'Dispersal' with his ingenious methods of getting rid of the dirt generated by the tunneling activities... Andy McDonald Gordon Jackson is 'Intelligence,' the officer who develops a fantastic security system to protect the compounds from the German "Ferrets." Archibald Ives Angus Lennie is the 'Mole,' whose fragile mind has been taxed by several years in the camps, repeated failed escape attempts, and time in the cooler...Dennis Cavendish Nigel Stock is the 'Surveyor' who miscalculates the distance to the trees...Guard Werner Robert Graf is the 'Ferret' who affirms to Hendley: 'I could tell you stories about my teeth that would make your hair stand on end.' 'The Great Escape' is a pretty good motion picture where the toll of freedom is precious, and the movie's ending provokes deep and serious meditation... It graphically shows what enterprising men can accomplish under the most unusual circumstances... It has a great cast, and is beautifully made...
There are few adventure stories as great as this. The movie never flags - it uses its wonderfully large cast to perfect effect - everyone will have his favorite characters - the colors, the music, the sense of a wonderful adventure is just magnetic.It is interesting to think of how VERY different this movie could have been in different screenwriters and directors' hands. It is easy to imagine a very dark movie about an escape plan for 250 spoiled so that it involved only 76, and of the 76, 60 massacred and only a very few escaping - a story of frustration, of man's hopes destroyed, of <more>
the darkness of life. It would be interesting to see such a version - perhaps something like The Piano or Schindler's List.Instead somehow, the movie makes the viewer feel GREAT - vibrant, happy, enthusiastic, excited! It's remarkable that this story could be made to do this - I think much is due to the energy of a large group working with such dedication and teamwork, much is due to the wonderful music, much is due to the very attractiveness of the actors themselves.For me, there is something terribly appealing about the David McCallum character, Ashley-Pitt - his sacrifice to save the leader and thus the entire operation , his looks, his manner. And something very touching about the Garner-Pleasance characters operating in tandem. Attenborough is himself properly subdued, authoritative, commanding - and Jackson is an excellent sidekick.I've always liked James Donald very much in everything - particularly as the conscience of The Bridge on the river Kwai - he's in the same form here.If you have heard the term, the "Anglosphere" in recent years, one can see a vivid illustration of it here - the Australian-American-English-Scottish team working perfectly - with the same sense of values to be pursued and preserved, the same sense of humor, dedication.This is just wonderful for anyone - but perhaps particularly for men since there aren't any women in it at all!
Film Has Slowed With Age, But Still Merits Praise (by ccthemovieman-1)
Although I still like this film - and proudly own it on disc - I have to admit it was a disappointment seeing it after a long period of time had elapsed between viewings. When I saw this in the theater in 1963, I thought it was spectacular. Later, when it came out on VHS, I thought thought it was good but the longer the years go by, the slower this film gets and it doesn't have the hold on me it once did. Part of that is that movies are faster- moving nowadays.It just takes too long two hours! before the "great escape" finally takes place! I loved the last 50 minutes. That, <more>
still, was fascinating as much as it ever was, even though it's never been a happy one. It's still good stuff.The first two hours of this 172-minute movie turn out to be more of characterizations that anything else, although it details what went into making the escape from this German prison camp possible. Some of that is interesting, such as Chales Bronson's claustrophobia and Donald Pleasance's eyesight deterioration, etc.With stars like Steve McQueen, James Garner, James Coburn, Richard Attenborough, Bronson, Pleasance and James Donald you will get some characters you'll remember for a long time: especially, I found, McQueen's and Bronson's.Now that it is out on a special two-disc DVD which gives it a decent picture there was an earlier DVD that wasn't much better than the VHS and some features, it should climb back up the ladder on my rating of it. Regardless, this will always be considered on the best of the World War II movies.
Spoilers herein.Films are like people in the respect that some are leaders but most followers. That's because most movies are not about life, but about previous movies. This film established not only a genre I chose to resee it after `Chicken Run' but played a role in inventing a society. I'm of the belief that culture invents some art that in turn reinvents the culture. More about that in a minute.What's so special about this is that it places the American rebel with his motorcycle in mainstream American society. Before, the beatnik or `bohemian' was unamerican, <more>
nonmainstream. This film invents memories of the war for the generation after the war -- it takes an essentially British story and uses it as background to establish a new vision of the American rebel. This rebel is centrally American, heroic even. Independent of sex.There are four forces in this film. The evil Gestapo with the majority of Germans, but the film glosses that ; the two forces of the British and German Air Force stuck in a duel of gallantry from a prior generation; and then the McQueen force. All at once, we have the cockiness and independence of Brando and Dean transformed into a patriotic center, into something directed, seemingly casually, against intrinsic evil.I saw an advance screening of this in most peculiar circumstances. I was a cadet in a midwestern military academy whose commandant was the senior American officer at the POW camp during the planning of the escape. Americans were moved shortly before, and the reason is an interesting story in itself. We 850 mostly sons of republicans mostly hawks, all white were given a vision of necessary disturbance, of a strange patriot that we couldn't internalize. Only a couple months later JFK was murdered. The Cooler King was one key image we used with our brethren nationwide to reinvent ourselves. Check it out. This contributed to a national identity that actually lived for a while. Never plan to win, just make your own statement.Attenborough knows something about manipulating the British image for American consumption. His `Ghandi' is a masterpiece of posture. Talent. Sturges' camera is quiet, still, non-modern, so that you lose awareness that this is a film. This stance is dated -- wouldn't work today, and makes things feel as of a different era. Attenborough's camera sweeps see his short episode -- the Indian sequence -- in `Close Encounters.' Attenborough's acting style here indeed his role too mirrors that. It is a fulcrum of everything, a subliminal sweep under Sturges' stillness.Check out the score by Bernstein. If you take out just a little of the march tempo, you have Williams' copy for Indiana Jones. Indy echoed the tone for a by that time narcissistic notion of rebellion: mystical forces of evil accommodated by selfish acquisition and pathetic self-deprecation -- the Reagan American. Williams intended to quote Bernstein to make this point, I think.If you haven't seen it yet, look for the Cooler guard. His hesitation at the end is priceless, indicating that every soul is malleable. It is why the film wasn't made for eight years, bombed when it came out, but is now in the IMDB top 100.
one of the finest war movies of them all (by TheNorthernMonkee)
SPOILERS In Britain today, there are films in the mainstream which are considered iconic. Often due to a sense of pride Michael Caine in "The Italian Job" for example , these films remind us of our heritage. One such film is "The Great Escape". Containing some of the finest American and British actors of their generation, this film captured the spirit of patriotism from the Second World War and would adorn the walls of teenagers for years.In a German Prisoner Of War Camp, escape is in the minds of all the captives. Led by Squadron Leader Roger Bartlett Sir Richard <more>
Attenborough , plans are underway to dig a tunnel through to the outside. Now the likes of Attenborough, James Garner, Charles Bronson, James Coburn and Steve McQueen will dig for their freedom.Led by McQueen and Attenborough, the cast of this film smacks of talent. There is no way to get past how good some of the performances are. Sir Attenborough in particular plays the role to perfection as a man with a mission and the lives of so many men in his hands.This film also contains one of the most famous soundtracks ever known. A tune which would be used by England Football Fans years later, it inspires patriotism the instant it begins.It's very difficult to explain what makes "The Great Escape" so good. Whilst overlong towards the end, it never ceases to entertain and it remains satisfying and enjoyable throughout. Despite the fact that Steve McQueen somehow manages to possess a leading headline, the film remains predominantly British, and it remains a joy to watch.