The Great Escape war movie
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The Great Escape war movie

The Great Escape (1963, United States)

Categories: POW camp movies

The Great Escape

Director: John Sturges

Czas: 172 minut

Laguages: English

war movies info
1970-01-01 / 1970-01-01

Germans gather all the Allied officers that frequently try to escape from the POW camps in one place - built from the scratch to prevent any escapes. But the Allied soldiers not only will attempt to escape, but they have plan for largest escape Germans have ever seen before.

In 1942 Germans have prepared a special POW camp for special prisoners - based on the experiences with previous escapes of the Allied prisoners of war they have selected special site near Zagan in Poland, where the soil is especially sandy and would make any attempts to dig a tunnel impossible or easy to spot by the guards. They made all the arrangements while building Stalag Luft III so the escape would be impossible and not without reason. They chose all the prisoners from other POW camps that frequently were trying to escape and put them together in Stalag Luft III, so all the most troublesome prisoners would be in a one, easy to guard, place. But instead of breaking the spirit of Allied prisoners the new camp became a challenge for them - newly transferred Squadron Leader Roger Bartlett of RAF took over the escape committee and prepared a daring plan. Instead of dealing with small escape attempts he decided to go big - he planned to free 250 of the prisoners in one night. To reach that target he ordered 3 separate tunnels to be dug, nicknamed Tom, Dick and Harry, also every man taking part in the escape be equipped with everything he will need on the other side of the fence - from civilian clothes to all the documents.

Film based on real events - the escape that took place in Stalag Luft III, where Germans kept all the troublesome Allied officers. Just like with Battle of Britain this film was also made with the "glorification of war heroes" attitude - on large scale and with many stars in the cast. While the story itself was very interesting and involving the film makers made it almost 3 hours long, which was a bit much and in some parts not really necessary. It is solid classic kept close to the real events, but at the same time it can hardly be called fast-paced war movie. Still worth to know since it is one of those movies that will keep you interested until the very end.

Our rating


Film value

7 / 10

Realism factor

4 / 5

Adventure factor

3 / 5

Historical accuracy

4 / 5

The Great Escape 1963 war movie

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The Great Escape

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Creators of The Great Escape

John Sturges movies

John Sturges


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James Clavell


W.R. Burnett movies

W.R. Burnett


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Paul Brickhill


Cast of The Great Escape

Steve McQueen movies steve-mcqueen

Steve McQueen

as Captain Virgil Hilts

James Garner movies

James Garner

as Lieutenant Bob Hendley

Richard Attenborough movies richard-attenborough

Richard Attenborough

as Squadron Leader Roger Bartlett

James Donald movies james-donald

James Donald

as Group Captain Ramsey

Charles Bronson movies charles-bronson

Charles Bronson

as Lieutenant Danny Velinski

Donald Pleasence movies donald-pleasence

Donald Pleasence

as Lieutenant Colin Blythe

James Coburn movies james-coburn

James Coburn

as Flying Officer Louis Sedgwick

Hannes Messemer movies hannes-messemer

Hannes Messemer

as Oberst von Luger

David McCallum movies david-mccallum

David McCallum

as Lieutenant Eric Ashley-Pitt

Gordon Jackson movies gordon-jackson

Gordon Jackson

as Lieutenant Andrew MacDonald

John Leyton movies john-leyton

John Leyton

as Lieutenant William Dickes

Angus Lennie movies angus-lennie

Angus Lennie

as Flight Officer Archibald Ives

Nigel Stock movies nigel-stock

Nigel Stock

as Lieutenant Dennis Cavendish

Events depicted in The Great Escape

World War II (1936-1945)

The Great Escape trivia

Escapees that made it

Only three of the escapees taking part in Great Escape were not caught by the Germans - two Norwegians, Per Bergsland and Jens MŁller, escaped to their home country through Stetin, Dutch Bram van der Stok escaped through France and reached British embassy in Madrid. Van der Stok was the only one that made it back to England and rejoined RAF.

The Great Escape quotes

Flying Officer Louis Sedgwick:
[during the escape attempt between Russian prisoners] Danny, do you speak Russian?
Lieutenant Danny Velinski:
A little, but only one sentence.
Flying Officer Louis Sedgwick:
Well, let me have it, mate.
Lieutenant Danny Velinski:
Ya vas lyublyu.
Flying Officer Louis Sedgwick:
Ya ya vas...
Lieutenant Danny Velinski:
Flying Officer Louis Sedgwick:
Lyubliu? Ya vas lyubliu. Ya vas lyublyu. Whatís it mean?
Lieutenant Danny Velinski:
I love you.
Flying Officer Louis Sedgwick:
Love you? What bloody good is that?
Lieutenant Danny Velinski:
I donít know, I wasnít going to use it myself.

Herr Kuhn:
We have reason to believe this prisoner is the mastermind behind numerous criminal escape attempts.
Oberst von Luger:
[sarcastically] Squadron Leader Bartlett has been three months in your care! And the Gestapo has only "reason to believe"!

Themes in The Great Escape

escape planAmerican prisonersBritish prisonersBritish pilots

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