8.2/10
207,612
336 user 101 critic

The Great Escape (1963)

Not Rated | | Adventure, Drama, History | 4 July 1963 (USA)
Trailer
2:42 | Trailer

Watch Now

With Prime Video

ON DISC
ALL
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
1,446 ( 149)
Top Rated Movies #132 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Adventure | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

After settling his differences with a Japanese P.O.W. camp commander, a British Colonel co-operates to oversee his men's construction of a railway bridge for their captors, while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it.

Director: David Lean
Stars: William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins
The Sting (1973)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Two grifters team up to pull off the ultimate con.

Director: George Roy Hill
Stars: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Robert Shaw
Certificate: GP Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A laid back Southern man is sentenced to two years in a rural prison, but refuses to conform.

Director: Stuart Rosenberg
Stars: Paul Newman, George Kennedy, Strother Martin
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Wyoming, early 1900s. Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid are the leaders of a band of outlaws. After a train robbery goes wrong they find themselves on the run with a posse hard on their heels. Their solution - escape to Bolivia.

Director: George Roy Hill
Stars: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katharine Ross
Action | Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Seven gunfighters are hired by Mexican peasants to liberate their village from oppressive bandits.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson
Ben-Hur (1959)
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

When a Jewish prince is betrayed and sent into slavery by a Roman friend, he regains his freedom and comes back for revenge.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Stephen Boyd
Adventure | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

The story of T.E. Lawrence, the English officer who successfully united and led the diverse, often warring, Arab tribes during World War I in order to fight the Turks.

Director: David Lean
Stars: Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn
Unforgiven (1992)
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Retired Old West gunslinger William Munny reluctantly takes on one last job, with the help of his old partner and a young man.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

An ex-prize fighter turned longshoreman struggles to stand up to his corrupt union bosses.

Director: Elia Kazan
Stars: Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his children against prejudice.

Director: Robert Mulligan
Stars: Gregory Peck, John Megna, Frank Overton
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

An in-depth examination of the ways in which the U.S. Vietnam War impacts and disrupts the lives of people in a small industrial town in Pennsylvania.

Director: Michael Cimino
Stars: Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, John Cazale
Platoon (1986)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A young soldier in Vietnam faces a moral crisis when confronted with the horrors of war and the duality of man.

Director: Oliver Stone
Stars: Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe
Edit

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
Edit

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:

put a fence in front of these men...and they'll climb it... See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German | French | Russian | Spanish

Release Date:

4 July 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Great Escape See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$227,940
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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The was another earlier mass escape attempt from the same compound as the "great escape". Masterminded by the same "X organisation", in June 1943 a large party of twenty-six prisoners escaped while being escorted by fake guards (prisoners disguised as Germans) being taken to another compound for delousing. All got clear of the camp, but were all recaptured. Several were also participants of the later "great escape". Two POWs, Lorne Welch and Walter Morison, attempted to steal an aircraft, but were caught before they could start the engine. It was this real event that gave inspiration to certain events in this movie. The two real officers were sent to Colditz castle and survived the war. See more »

Goofs

As the rowboat escapees, the "Tunnel Kings," near the end of their journey in a harbor, what appear to be container cranes can be seen in the background as they approach the ship and clamber onto the gangway, on both sides of the large vessel. Containerization did not begin until the mid 1950's and containership cranes were unknown in the 1940's. See more »

Quotes

Colin: Tea without milk is so uncivilised.
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 3 Men and a Little Lady (1990) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

GREAT MOVIE: MORE HISTORICALLY ACCURATE THAN SOME REALIZE...
11 January 2004 | by warrior_sarahSee all my reviews

This is a great movie which much more historically accurate than it is often given credit for. So many who say otherwise are ill-informed and obviously don't know much about the actual history of that actual escape. The depiction of what happened to the recaptured prisoners in the movie of THE GREAT ESCAPE is reasonably accurate as detailed on the historyinfilm site...specifically on the "Reprisal" page; along with being detailed in the various published accounts.

Hitler ultimately calmed down after being reasoned with by Goering, Feldmarschall Keitel, Maj-Gen Graevenitz and Maj-Gen Westhoff, and dictated that more than half the prisoners be shot and cremated. So, as depicted in the film, several of those recaptured were not executed and were indeed returned to confinement. In fact, even those executed were not "shot on the spot" for the most part, but were actually executed later after being turned over to the Gestapo; most being shot while being allowed to relieve themselves, under the guise of "trying to escape".

Furthermore, there are many accounts as to how much more humane the environment was within the camp (which even had a popular and very successful theatre, featuring prisoners who would later be name performers) than many other POW camps...and certainly nothing like the harsh conditions associated with the Concentration or Extermination camps.

To quote one source:

"It must be made clear that the German Luftwaffe [the German Air Force], who were responsible for Air Force prisoners of war, maintained a degree of professional respect for fellow flyers, and the general attitude of the camp security officers and guards should not be confused with the SS or Gestapo. The Luftwaffe treated the POWs well, despite an erratic and inconsistent supply of food.

Prisoners were handled quite fairly within the Geneva Convention, and the Kommandant, Oberst (Colonel) Friedrich-Wilhelm von Lindeiner-Wildau, was a professional and honourable soldier who won the respect of the senior prisoners."

Finally, virtually all the major engineering aspects in regards to the tunnels and the initial escape in the film are as they were actually acheived in the real escape.

It would behoove some to learn a little more actual history or do a little simple research before shooting from the hip with supposed "knowledge" of reality. THE GREAT ESCAPE certainly takes liberties in tone and character portrayal, but not in the key elements that are disparaged out of sneering ignorance.

BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI is also a great film, but took even greater liberties with the technical details of the events described than THE GREAT ESCAPE did....and offering up VON RYAN'S EXPRESS as a more realistic alternative is simply delusional and ridiculous.


183 of 229 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 336 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed