The Great Escape (1963) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Great Escape (1963)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: With its impeccably slow-building story and a cast for the ages, The Great Escape is an all-time action classic.

Movie Info

Based on the book by Paul Brickhill, The Great Escape is the true story of Allied prisoners plotting to break out of Nazi detention camp. Bartlett (Richard Attenborough) is the British officer who masterminds the escape. Out of 250 prisoners, only 76 manage to escape, and the number soon dwindles to two dozen. Hilts (Steve McQueen) and company must get through Nazi occupied territory, which is the premise for most of the film. McQueen rides a motorcycle through heavy gunfire in a spectacular action sequence to avoid certain death at the hands of the enemy. James Garner, Donald Pleasence, Charles Bronson and James Coburn also star in this exciting, suspenseful action adventure. Although he had appeared in other previous film, this is the one that brought superstar status to Steve McQueen. The handsome, brooding actor performed all his own stunts in the action sequences in the type of action adventure film that became McQueen's trademark.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: James Clavell, W.R. Burnett
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 31, 1998
Runtime:
United Artists

Cast

Steve McQueen
as Virgil Hilts
James Garner
as Hendley
James Donald
as Senior Officer Ramse...
Charles Bronson
as Danny Velinski
James Coburn
as Sedgwick
David McCallum
as Ashley-Pitt
Gordon Jackson
as MacDonald
Angus Lennie
as "The Mole" Ives
Nigel Stock
as Cavendish
Robert Desmond
as "The Tailor" Griffit...
Tom Adams
as Nimmo
Hannes Messemer
as Von Luger
Harry Riebauer
as Strachwitz
Til Kiwe
as Frick
Ulrich Beiger
as Preissen
George Mikell
as Dietrich
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Great Escape

Critic Reviews for The Great Escape

All Critics (45) | Top Critics (6)

This is a Boys' Own Tale, and, as boys, we wanted it, cleansed of horrors, for ourselves.

Full Review… | April 23, 2014
New Yorker
Top Critic

The Great Escape is simply great escapism.

Full Review… | February 6, 2014
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Producer-director John Sturges has fashioned a motion picture that entertains, captivates, thrills and stirs.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Variety
Top Critic

Way too flabby at 168 minutes, but once this 1963 feature gets going it's good, solid stuff.

Full Review… | March 1, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

It's a strictly mechanical adventure with make-believe men.

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

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.

ApeneckFletcher
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

½

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.

blacksheepboy
Carlos Magalh„es

Super Reviewer

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.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mikes-Movie-Reviews/281824101875153?ref=hl

CloudStrife84
Mike S

Super Reviewer

The Great Escape Quotes

"Cooler King" Hilts: What do they call a mole in Scotland?
"The Mole" Ives: A mole.
– Submitted by Venkatesh S (3 years ago)
Senior Officer Ramsey: Up the rebels.
Goff: Down the British.
– Submitted by Francis L (4 years ago)
"Cooler King" Hilts: What do they call a mole in Scotland?
"The Mole" Ives: A mole.
– Submitted by Francis L (4 years ago)
Kuhn: We have reason to believe this prisoner is the mastermind behind numerous criminal escape attempts.
Von Lugar "The Kommandant": [sarcastically] Squadron Leader Bartlett has been three months in your care! And the Gestapo has only 'reason to believe'!
– Submitted by Francis L (4 years ago)

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