The Great Escape (1963) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Great Escape (1963)

The Great Escape (1963)

The Great Escape



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

The Great Escape Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 the day of performance. Proceeds benefit Capital University's The Schumacher Gallery. Please join the reception after the show! Originally released on the Fourth of July in 1963, THE GREAT ESCAPE returns for its 50th anniversary in partnership with The Schumacher Gallery's exhibit: Memories of World War II: Photographs from the Archives of The Associated Press THE GREAT ESCAPE is based on a true story of Allied prisoners of war who managed to escape from an allegedly impenetrable Nazi prison camp during World War II. The prisoners, led by Richard Attenborough, as the British soldier who masterminds the plan, develop a scheme where they will leave the camp by building three separate escape tunnels. Attenborough's motley squad features Charles Bronson as a Polish trench-digging expert, James Garner as an American with a talent for theft, Donald Pleasence as a masterful forger, and Steve McQueen as an American rebel. An epic adventure film, THE GREAT ESCAPE runs nearly three hours, featuring a rousing Elmer Bernstein score and exciting action sequences -- including a notorious motorcycle chase between McQueen and the Nazis -- the likes of which had never been seen before in Hollywood productions.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: James Clavell, W.R. Burnett
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 31, 1998
United Artists


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
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


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 its gallery of memorable characters, making us deeply care about the consequences in a tense and breathtaking final act.

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.

Mike S

Super Reviewer


A classic, no doubt, but the first hour moves way too slowly and overall it comes off as kind of cartoony. I think McQueen just gets out and gets caught again too many times for it to remain excitying - even later in the film, when the stakes are finally high. Full of iconic scenes, though, and features a big-name cast, a great climax and a wild motorcycle chase.

Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

The Great Escape Quotes

– Submitted by Venkatesh S (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Francis L (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Francis L (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Francis L (3 years ago)

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