Tuesday, 14 March 2017

The Great Escape Review

The Great Escape

Release Date: 10th December 1963 - Australia (Sydney) (premiere)

Production Companies 
The Mirisch Company
Alpha (Uncredited)

Genre: War

Rating: PG

Runtime: 172 minutes

Budget: $3,800,000

Box Office Gross: $11,744,471

Plot Summary 
The Nazis, exasperated at the number of escapes from their prison camps by a relatively small number of Allied prisoners, relocates them to a high-security "escape proof" camp to sit out the remainder of the war. Undaunted, the prisoners plan one of the most ambitious escape attempts in the history of World War II. Based on a true story. 

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 - MacGordon 'Intelligence'
John Leyton - Willie 'Tunnel King'
Angus Lennie - Ives 'The Mole'
Nigel Stock - Cavendish 'The Surveyor'
Robert Graf - Werner 'The Ferret'
Jud Taylor - Goff

Producer/Director - John Sturges
Based on Novel "The Great Escape" -
Paul Brickhill
Writer/Producer (Uncredited) - James Clavell
Writers - W.R. Burnett and Walter Newman (Uncredited)
Executive Producer - Walter Mirisch (Uncredited)
Assistant to Producer/Second Unit Director (Uncredited) -
Robert E. Relyea
Technical Advisor - Wally Floody (Uncredited)
Art Director - Fernando Carrere
Director of Photography - Daniel L. Fapp
Film Editor - Ferris Webster
Composer - Elmer Bernstein


1964 Academy Awards
Best Film Editing - Ferris Webster (Nominated) 

Following the successful release of 1960's THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (click here), director John Sturges was able to adapt Paul Brickhill's novel of THE GREAT ESCAPE to become one of the top-grossing movies of 1963. It was based on the author's tragic experience in World War II where he was involved in a huge escape attempt devised by his fellow prisoners-of-war (POWs). It was hailed by many as one of the greatest war movies of all time and I remember seeing it on pay-tv when it was shown on the now defunct MOVIE GREATS channel. It got me with its famed motorcycle chase scene starring Steve McQueen who was the greatest actor that has ever lived. For a long time I have waited to see this milestone film again which keeps the old-fashioned edge of the seat experience. THE GREAT ESCAPE retains some historical accuracy and was shot in authentic German locations with elaborate set pieces.

The cast was made-up with notable actors like the aforementioned actor McQueen, Richard Attenborough, James Garner, Charles Bronson, James Coburn and Donald Pleasence. Each of these actors pulled through their stellar performances like McQueen who has the persona of a daredevil and likes to take risks in any of his acting roles. Coburn an American actor, surprises Australian film-goers that he can truly play a character being Aussie accented. The background music by Elmer Bernstein was simply tremendous combining the score with the film's tragedy and cleverness.

In closing, this is one of my favourite movies of all time and I feel that THE GREAT ESCAPE is comparable to the other movies in this day. For anyone else who wants to view it can purchase it online and in DVD format.

Star rating: (10/10) Best Movie Ever

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