The Great Escape

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The Great Escape
Genre: Action
Directed By: John Sturges
Produced By: John Sturges
Based On: The Great Escape by Paul Brickhill
Starring: Steve McQueen
James Garner
Richard Attenborough
James Donald
Charles Bronson
Donald Pleasence
James Coburn
Hannes Messemer
Cinematography: Daniel L. Fapp
Distributed By: United Artists
Release Date: June 20, 1963 (premiere, London)
July 4, 1963 (United States)
Runtime: 172 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $3.8 million
Box Office: $11.7 million

The Great Escape is a 1963 American epic war, action film starring Steve McQueen, James Garner, and Richard Attenborough and featuring James Donald, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasence, James Coburn, and Hannes Messemer. It was filmed in Panavision.


In 1943, during World War II, 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.

Why It Rocks

  1. Very interesting premise of a group of prisoners trying to find a way to get out of the Nazi camp.
  2. Amazing acting from Steve McQueen.
  3. There are some emortal moments throughout the movie.
  4. The setting of the 1940s Nazi Germany is well created, especially the Nazi camp.
  5. Likable, and memorable characters, such as Captain Virgil Hilts "The Cooler King": one of three Americans in the camp, Hilts irritates guards with frequent escape attempts and an irreverent attitude, to the point that he is regularly confined in isolation in the cooler. He has a habit of bouncing a baseball against the cooler cell wall to entertain himself, as he plans an escape attempt.
  6. It has some really funny moments, such as Virgil takes the wood out of the bed, resulting a prisoner goes to bed but his bed falls down into the floor.
  7. The scene where the escapers failed to get away from the Nazis outside of the camp is the best way to avoid the anti-cinimax.
  8. Great action sequences in the third act, such as the famous motorcycle chase scene.
  9. Amazing cinematography.
  10. Great soundtrack that was performed by Elmer Bernstein.


Critical response

The film was acclaimed by critics, and audiences alike, it has a 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 48 reviews, with a 95% audiences score rating on the same site, and according to the site's consensus states: "With its impeccably slow-building story and a cast for the ages, The Great Escape is an all-time action classic.". On Metacritic, it has an 86/100 based on 16 reviews "universal acclaim". It has an 8.2/10 rating on IMDB.


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