The Great Escape (1963)
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as Virgil Hilts
as Senior Officer Ramse...
as Danny Velinski
as "The Mole" Ives
as "The Tailor" Griffit...
as Von Luger
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Critic Reviews for The Great Escape
This is a Boys' Own Tale, and, as boys, we wanted it, cleansed of horrors, for ourselves.
Producer-director John Sturges has fashioned a motion picture that entertains, captivates, thrills and stirs.
Way too flabby at 168 minutes, but once this 1963 feature gets going it's good, solid stuff.
Worth seeing the last half hour, if nothing else, for one of the best stunt sequences in years: McQueen's motor-cycle bid for freedom.
Audience Reviews for The Great Escape
There's some WW2 movies that go for the point of view of 1) some important job that HAS to be done, and/or (it could be both) there's the ones that go for 2) the horror of war. And then there's what I call the "I remember World War 2" films wherein the war is seen through the subtle patina of nostalgia. "Those were the good old days!" This film is solidly in the second camp, as if two hours into the 20 year high school reunion some slightly inebriated few begin to wax teary-eyed about the day of the big game oh those many years ago. One very nearly roots for the bad guys.
By investing good part of its narrative in the many particulars of the great escape planning, this outstanding prison break movie increases our connection with a large gallery of memorable characters, making us deeply care about its consequences in a tense, breathtaking final act.
What a magnificent piece of classic cinema! Everything from the acting to the music is just pure artistic gold. What's even more amazing is how the details and execution of this ingenious escape from a Nazi POW camp, is all based on true events.
An even better reason to see it though, is the outstanding cast. You got Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson and a countless number of other brilliant thespians, whom are now legends of their time. Each and every one giving it their very best, which even further amplified the power of this incredible story.
With this and "Papillon" (another prison escape film starring Steve McQueen) in recent memory, I honestly regret to have waited so long with seeing these classics. They house a soul of unparalleled intelligence, and rows upon rows of beautifully written characters, which is something we rarely get in their modern equivalents.
Indeed it really opened up my eyes to a whole new treasure trove of golden oldies, which I've been happily exploring ever since. And for those that are yet to discover it, may I suggest that you relish the same opportunity.
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