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The Great Escape (1963)
Action,Adventure,Drama,History,Thriller,War
English
"A Glorious Saga Of The R.A.F. "
Several hundred Allied POWs plan a mass escape from a German POW camp.
Donald Pleasence Flight Lt. Colin Blythe "The Forger"
Charles Bronson Flight Lt. Danny Velinski "The Tunnel King"
James Donald Group Capt. Ramsey "The SBO"
Richard Attenborough Squadron Leader Roger Bartlett "Big X"
James Garner Flight Lt. Hendley "The Scrounger"
Steve McQueen Capt. Hilts "The Cooler King"
James Coburn Flying Officer Louis Sedgwick "The Manufacturer"
Hannes Messemer Col. von Luger
David McCallum Lt. Cmdr. Eric Ashley-Pitt "Dispersal"
Gordon Jackson Flight Lt. Sandy MacDonald "Intelligence"
John Leyton Flight Lt. William Dickes "The Tunneler"
Angus Lennie Flying Officer Archibald Ives "The Mole"
Nigel Stock Flight Lt. Denys Cavendish "The Surveyor"
Robert Graf Werner 'The Ferret'
Jud Taylor Goff
Hans Reiser Herr Kuhn
Harry Riebauer German Sgt. Strachwitz
William Russell Sorren
Robert Freitag Capt. Posen
Ulrich Beiger Preissen
George Mikell Lt. Dietrich
Lawrence Montaigne Haynes ('Diversions')
Robert Desmond Griffith 'Tailor'
Til Kiwe Frick
Heinz Weiss Kramer
Tom Adams Dai Nimmo ('Diversions')
Karl-Otto Alberty Steinach
Producer: John Sturges,James Clavell
Writer: Paul Brickhill,James Clavell
GREAT MOVIE: MORE HISTORICALLY ACCURATE THAN SOME REALIZE...
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.


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User credit 1:1001 movies you must see before you die
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Movie
Imdb rating: 8.4
Musician: Elmer Bernstein
Running time: 172 min
Technical
Subtitles: Svenska
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Last modified: 2008-01-06 01:24:59