HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
Iron Fury
Ride in the Whirlwind
Deathstalker II
Cloak and Dagger
Honeyland
Love Ban, The
Western Stars
League of Gentlemen, The
Higher Power
Shinsengumi
IT Chapter Two
Rich Kids
Arena
Glory Guys, The
Serial Killer's Guide to Life, A
Lovers and Other Strangers
Shiny Shrimps, The
Good Woman is Hard to Find, A
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Doctor at Sea
Spear
Death Cheaters
Wild Rose
Streetwalkin'
Mystify: Michael Hutchence
Devil's Playground, The
Cleanin' Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters
Hustlers
Mega Time Squad
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Souvenir, The
Birds of Passage
Ma
Woman at War
   
 
Newest Articles
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
   
 
  Great Escape, The Now Get Out Of ThatBuy this film here.
Year: 1963
Director: John Sturges
Stars: Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Donald Pleasence, James Donald, Gordon Jackson, Hannes Messemer, John Leyton, David McCallum, Angus Lennie, Nigel Stock, William Russell
Genre: War
Rating:  7 (from 7 votes)
Review: World War Two: the Nazis have built a high-security prisoner of war camp to house the men who have escaped repeatedly. But those Allied officers believe that it is their duty to escape - not simply to get away, but to cause as much trouble as possible for the enemy, and it's not long before a daring plan is drawn up...

This staple of holiday television was written by James Clavell and W.R. Burnett, based on the book by Paul Brickhill. Although the story seems far fetched, it is actually based on true events, which may become hard to believe when you see the Herculean efforts the captured forces put into securing their freedom, from building secret tunnels to blackmailing cameras out of guards.

Steve McQueen is top billed, and his cocky, rebellious presence is certainly one of the film's strengths. But its main virtue is the ensemble cast, all of whom are just as adept at the serious scenes as they are in the contrasting lighter moments. James Garner is the scrounger, a charming rogue who can get just about anything; a touching relationship develops between him and Donald Pleasence, who despite being an expert forger is going blind. Charles Bronson alternates between tough determination and panic attacks; James Coburn is the easygoing Australian (at least, that accent is supposed to be Australian); and Richard Attenborough holds it all together as the mastermind behind the whole thing.

What develops is a battle of wits between prisoners and guards. The Nazis are largely unlikeable, although the Luftwaffe who run the camp are shown to be preferable to the formidable SS or Gestapo, whose deadly influence falls over the story and leads to the downbeat ending, which ponders if the whole escapade was worth it, before settling on a "victory in defeat" tone to finish with.

We never forget the claustrophobic nature of the camp - the cells are cramped and even outside barbed wire fences are in just about every shot. It's a long film which spends over half of its running time in the confined spaces of the prison, so when our heroes finally get out in the last hour, the freedom of the rolling landscape is strongly felt. But it's also deceptive, as the search intensifies. This final hour contains many of the classic scenes, from the "Thank you" bit to McQueen's famous motorbike chase.

Even if the prisoners' ingenuity stretches credibility (you may be reminded of the Ripping Yarns episode where P.O.W. Michael Palin constructs a plane out of toilet rolls), The Great Escape succeeds because it never loses sight of the inspiring adventure of the indomitable human spirit that it tells. Even if you don't normally like war stories, you should be won over by this one. Trivia question: do you remember who gets away? Memorable music by Elmer Bernstein.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 8605 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: