Hilts: I haven't seen Berlin yet, from the ground or from the air, and I plan on doing both before the war is over.
Similar to Bridge on the River Kwai (although I prefer that film more so), this is a grand scale WWII film that supplies big names, fun, adventure type atmosphere, and a simplistic sort of logic that shows off an older fashioned way of making a good guys vs. bad guys film.
Based on a true story, a group of allied escape artist type prisoners of war are all put in an 'escape proof' camp. Their leader decides to try to take out several hundred all at once. The first half of the film is played for comedy as the prisoners mostly outwit their jailers to dig the escape tunnel. The second half is high adventure as they use boats and trains and planes to get out of occupied Europe.
Ramsey: Colonel Von Luger, it is the sworn duty of all officers to try to escape. If they cannot escape, then it is their sworn duty to cause the enemy to use an inordinate number of troops to guard them, and their sworn duty to harass the enemy to the best of their ability.
The cast includes James Garner, Richard Attenborough, James Coburn, Donald Pleasence, Charles Bronson, and of course Steve McQueen as the coolest rebel of them all, with time to show off his motorcycle skills. All of them do great work, and again, I'm impressed by how effective Bronson can be. (I think I pegged him wrong in his later and uglier Death Wish days)
All set to another great score by Elmer Bernstein, the film really functions well at being a fun film to sit back and enjoy do to its well natured filmmaking, never becoming too dark, but still supplying a good amount of tension and drama when needed. And of course, McQueen is pretty cool throughout.
Ramsey: Did the Gestapo give you a rough time?
Bartlett: Not nearly as rough as I now intend to give them.