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The Great Escape (1963)

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2:41 | 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
2,098 ( 105)
Top Rated Movies #128 | 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:

A Glorious Saga Of The R.A.F. See more »


Certificate:

12 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German | French | Russian | Spanish

Release Date:

19 September 1963 (Netherlands) 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

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 motorcycle that Hilts (Steve McQueen) rides is a cosmetically modified Triumph TR6 Trophy. Bud Ekins, who performed the stunt, was a Triumph dealer. Triumph was McQueen's favorite motorcycle brand. The motorcycle sidecar combination that crashes into a ditch is revealed to be a Triumph motorcycle, too. These British motorcycle models were not in existence during World War II, and their appearance is anachronistic. See more »

Goofs

In an early scene after the prisoners are brought into the camp, Werner asks Hendley why an American would fight alongside Britain, who burned down the U.S. capital in 1812. While it happened during the War of 1812, the burning of Washington occurred in 1814. See more »

Quotes

[last lines of part one]
Hilts: [after Ives is killed] Sir, let me know the exact information you need. I'm going out tonight.
Bartlett: Right.
[to Danny]
Bartlett: Open up Harry. We dig. Around the clock.
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 Flash: Be My Baby (1991) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Outstanding Entertainment
11 February 2004 | by tdemosSee all my reviews

Credit should be given to the brilliant score by Elmer Bernstein. If you listen to it closely, it literally is a battle between the Allied Prisoners (flutes & woodwinds) and the Germans (tubas). The escape scenes with the little boat on the scenic german river is evocative of Wagner and his heroic Germanic Operas. The scenery of the German countryside and the Alps is breathtaking. I believe that the scriptwriters emphasized the heroism, humor, and character of the prisoners to make an uplifting statement of what is essentially a cruel and tragic story. As a child growing up in the seventies, our 7th grade glass was reading the Paul Brickhill book and we had the opportunity to meet a former (American) Stalag Luft III prisoner from that era. He had arrived at the camp after the Great Escape, but was placed on the monument detail for the 50 executed men. He said that few men seriously contemplated escape after this incident and the emphasis was on surviving the war and going home alive.


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