HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Mercy, The
Kickboxer: Retaliation
Molly Maguires, The
Party, The
Dante's Peak
Housemaid, The
Vendetta
Brimstone
Boys in the Trees
Once Were Warriors
Red Planet Mars
Blade Runner 2049
Devil's Express
Belko Experiment, The
Flashback
War of the Arrows
One-Trick Pony
Cloverfield Paradox, The
Beach Rats
In Between
Flesh Feast
Gerald's Game
Crocodile Dundee II
Baaghi
Bat People, The
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Tower
Message from the King
Street Smart
Mountain
   
 
Newest Articles
The House, Black Magic and an Oily Maniac: 3 from 70s Weird Asia
80s Meet Cute: Something Wild vs Into the Night
Interview with The Unseen Director Gary Sinyor
Wrong Forgotten: Is Troll 2 Still a Thing?
Apocalypse 80s UK: Threads and When the Wind Blows
Movie Flop to Triumphant TV Revival: Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen
Driving Force: The Golden Age of American Car Chases
Madness in his Method: Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
The Melville Mood: His Final Two Films on The Melville Collection 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 7741 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
Who's the best?
Robin Askwith
Mark Wahlberg
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
  Andrew Irvine
Ian Phillips
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: