In 1943, the Germans opened Stalag Luft North, a maximum-security prisoner-of-war camp, designed tohold even the craftiest escape artists. In doing so, however, the Nazis unwittingly assembled the finest escape team in mil... more »itary historybrilliantly portrayed here by Steve McQueen, James Garner, Charles Bronson and James Coburnwho worked on what became the largest prison breakout ever attempted. One of the most ingenious and suspenseful adventure films of all time, The Great Escape is a masterful collaboration between director John Sturges (The Magnificent Seven), screenwriters James Clavell (Shogun) and W.R. Burnett (Little Caesar), and composer Elmer Bernstein. Based on a true story, The Great Escape is epic entertainment that "entertains,captivates, thrills and stirs" (Variety).« less
Michel D. (michelann) from WALNUT GROVE, MO Reviewed on 9/27/2017...
One of the all time great movies, The Great Escape is filled with stars, action, and lots of beautiful scenery. Steve McQueen, amazing all time action star works well with James Garner as well as Charles Bronson to create a memorable story of survival. Don't miss it!
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Sandra P. from ASHEBORO, NC Reviewed on 8/16/2016...
This DVD, is one of the best true story moovies I have ever saw. I was enthralled with emotion, as I feel so much compassion for anyone mistreated in WW2. I gurantee you , you will love this movie..if you love it when the good guys get one over on the stinkin Nazis. I rate it as high as it will go!! I also have the book, I'm pretty sure at least that I have it.
Debra B. from SKOKIE, IL Reviewed on 2/22/2014...
This is one of the best war movies of all time! It's my absolute favorite. You get into the feeling and the charecters almost immediately and the actors are the greatest! I have watched it many times.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Where Was This Film On The AFI List?
Michael K. Beusch | San Mateo, California United States | 04/28/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Great Escape certainly didn't get its due when it was released -- it wasn't even nominated for Best Picture, Director or any of the Acting awards. In fact, it was only nominated for Film Editing! It seems, however, that the film doesn't even get its proper due today as it was not on the American Film Institute's 100 Greatest Film list despite its large following.The Great Escape is certainly one of the most memorable films I've ever seen. The cast includes the late great Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough (Director of Gandhi), Charles Bronson, James Coburn, James Donald (Bridge on the River Kwai), Donald Pleasance and David McCallum (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.). McQueen's performance is riveting and makes the viewer miss him all the more. Garner, who actually was a "Scrounger" during the Korean War, is terrific. It's also particularly nice to see a performance as a good guy from Pleasance and as a human being by Bronson (sorry, but Bronson truly wasted his talent in the Death Wish movies). And in an era when studios tried to substitute backlot sets for on location filming, the POW camp, which was built on location in Germany, looks completely authentic and makes the audience sympathize with the prisoners' plight even more. The DVD heightens the experience by presenting the film letterboxed in clear, vibrant colors. In addition, the DVD edition includes a documentary on both the real story and the making of the film. This film is a classic and the DVD edition does it great justice and makes you realize what a mistake the AFI made by excluding it from its list.Here's to "the fifty.""
Rip Roaring Entertainment That Holds The Test Of Time
Michael K. Beusch | 01/11/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw The Great Escape in the fall of 1963 when I was 8 years old. In my hometown during those days moviegoing was a family affair-- wear nice slacks and shirt etc. Seeing this grand movie with the macho stars on a big screen with booming sound made quite an impression on me. Steve McQueen was simply the "King Of Cool" and he became my favorite film star. This movie has transcended generations -- my 18 year old son recently viewed it and he was totally engrossed in this fantastic true story of men seeking freedom under the most desperate circumstances. He agreed with me that "they don't make em like they used to" and that most of the films today can't hold a candle to The Great Escape.The DVD is superb -- the color and picture quality is first rate -- looks just like when I saw it in the fall of 1963 at the old Capitol Theatre in Rome, NY. The featurette on the making of The Great Escape is a nice feature that I never saw before."
Good performances, very interesting and entertaining
Craig MACKINNON | Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada | 09/18/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the all-time classic war movies. The story of how the Nazis put "all the bad eggs in one basket": they built a special camp in which they incarcerated the Allied pilots shot down over occupied Europe who had made escape attempts from other camps. Filmed on location in Germany (although the real-life camp was in Poland), the film has an authentic feel, with quaint German cottages and the foothills of the Alps rising in the background. Add in the plethora of nationalities (there are American, English, Scottish, Polish, Aussie, and Canadian prisoners among the inmates, all with authentic accents), the well-researched uniforms and camp layout, and some great cinematography, and you have a classic WWII film that stands the test of time.The performances are outstanding. Notable examples are James Gardner as a scounger and Charles Bronson (virtually unrecognisable) as the tunnelling expert. The big name (at the time) is, of course, Steve McQueen, here his usual brash self, fleeing a German squad on a merry motorcycle chase in one of the movie's most famous scenes. More interesting for me, however, is the care the actors, directors, and screenwriters took to set up the escape - we are brought through the division of labour in the camp, the problems that must be overcome (such as incompatible dirt colours), and the clautrophobia of digging. (This seems to be proof that 10 screenwriters can occasionally produce a good movie, in spite of Roger Ebert's "law" that quality of a screenplay is inversely proportional to the number of people working on it.) Finally, the musical score is rousing, sombre, or lighthearted when called for. It might be a little overbearing, but no more so than in The Empire Strikes Back, for instance.The DVD quality is low, hence the 4-star rating I'm giving to the movie in this format. The picture quality is okay - clear and crisp, but the sound is not particularly good. Why is it that video is always cleaned up so much better than sound? There are few extras on the DVD, but the "Making of" featurette contains a lot of information in its 24 minutes. For example, James Garner reveals how he was a scrounger in real life for his unit in Korea, the cinematographer talks about scouting locations, building sets, etc. One of the most useful featurettes I've seen."
This is The Great Escape Edition to Own
M | Lighthouse Pt, FL United States | 10/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have rented this film several times. Unfortunately the rental companies such as Netflix don't always have this great latest edition. There will never be another film such as The Great Escape. It would be a mistake to even try. Actually shot in Germany with an international cast. A cast of stars such as never have been seen in one motion picture. Especially of interest to me was the extras. Many of the cast members have passed away since this edition was put out That there words are on this DVD is a much appreciated plus..
Almost as interesting as the film is the commentary and exras. Being a long time fan of David MCCallum (now on CBS network NCIS), I was especially interested in his comments. Absolutely fascinating.
Maybe the motor cycle scene was put in for entertainment purposes. Wasn't it a great moment! Did you know Steve McQueen played his own part and several of the Nazi's on motorcycles.
Finally the Great Escape is based on a true story. This will tell you the reality from the fiction.
This is the edition to buy! They shouldn't remake it. They couldn't possibly make one as great as this!
Good Film from the Excellent Paul Brickhill Book
gobirds2 | New England | 11/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Great Escape" is director John Sturges' brilliant film presentation of the absorbing Paul Brickhill Book. John Sturges effectively retells the story from the script by James Clavell and W.R. Burnett, which is a condensation of events and people taken from the book. The film deals with the lives and efforts of the Allied POW's to escape from a German prison camp. We do not see John Sturges take any side in this film. Only near the end of the film does he begin to make a political statement on Nazism and its effect on traditional German military ethics and the lives of the captured Allies. Sturges' focus is more on the men caught in war and its effects on them. We see the men rely on dormant qualities they never knew existed until they put on a uniform and were captured and held in foreign territory. We see men going to extreme lengths to escape because of their inborn right to be free. This is represented by Steve McQueen's character Hilts otherwise known as the "Cooler King," Charles Bronson as Danny and Angus Lennie as Ives the "The Mole." We see other men going to equal lengths to escape and cause havoc behind enemy lines by diverting German troops from the front to recapture them. This is the main purpose of the escape and Richard Attenborough as the "Big X" orchestrates the overall plan. He calls upon every expertise of the prisoners to reach this one goal. He calls upon tailors, forgers, scroungers, tinkers, and engineers, just about anyone capable of getting the job done. These are portrayed by James Garner, Donald Pleasence, James Coburn, David McCallum, John Leyton, Gordon Jackson, Tom Adams, Nigel Stock and others.For years this was considered a great World War II action adventure film, but John Sturges' reaches far above that mundane distinction. His style and ease of direction glosses over his own profound statements that he makes in this film. For example, James Garner cleverly befriends a German guard for the sole purpose of stealing his wallet so he can extort a 35-mm. camera and film from the guard. On the surface the audience is very amused at Garner's sly tactics, after all the Germans are the bad guys. However, subconsciously Sturges gave us enough personal information about the guard that we almost feel sympathy for him. This is reinforced by Sturges' choice of James Garner, one of the most likable actors in Hollywood, to perpetrate the deception on the unknowing guard. How can a nice guy like James Garner do this? As it works out Sturges lets the guard redeem himself. It is this guard that discovers the first tunnel when he spills some coffee on the floor and it disappears through the cracks. Now you the viewer are faced with a moral dilemma. Do I still feel sympathy for the guard? Do I still think that James Garner is a scoundrel? Or do I think that in war I have to do what is necessary? Garner's character did what he had to do and so did the guard. Editor Ferris Webster did an excellent job of putting this complex story together giving it coherence and drive yet never sacrificing any of the wonderful characterizations that is the backbone of this film. Daniel Fapp's cinematography brilliantly gives us a feeling of claustrophobia while in the prison camp. Once the escape begins he gives us panoramas of landscapes which have a dual symbolism. On one emotional hand we are free and the far-off horizons elusively symbolize that freedom. On the other rational hand we know that we are still not free and the vastness of those landscapes only strengthens the reality that ultimate escape and freedom is improbable for the majority of the escapees. Composer Elmer Bernstein also has more to say than meets the ear. This film contains one of his two most recognizable themes in cinema history (The Magnificent Seven being the other) but that is an understatement. His main title theme is as much a tribute to the prisoners in this story as it is to all men who must overcome the odds through their own perseverance and unwillingness to bend to defeat to whatever noble end they strive for. Bernstein's complex score complements the theme by giving us passages and statements on the diversity of the individuals as well as their singular overall objective. Once "on the road" the music reaches exhilarating proportions unlike that of traditional action Hollywood scoring. Bernstein wants to put the audience through the same suspense and anticipation that the escapees feel and then unleashes our pent up emotions in a crescendo of rousing orchestrations that has us cheering them on. This was the same brilliant technique he employed in "The Magnificent Seven." I don't think many people give Elmer Berstein the credit for being the musical innovator that he was back in that period in his career."