The Great Escape Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ December 29, 2010
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.
Super Reviewer
½ April 7, 2007
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.
Super Reviewer
October 27, 2012
Exciting, action-packed film. I think this is McQueen's best performance.
Super Reviewer
August 8, 2011
John Sturges's masterwork The Great Escape is one of those essential war classics. With an all star cast of some of the most famous actors of the day, The Great Escape is one exciting film from start to finish. Based on the real life escape of POW camp Stalag Luft III in 1943, The Great Escape is an incredible, thrilling film. The Great Escape is a terrific film from start to finish that delivers the thrills. It's all star cast are wonderful and it brings the film up a notch due to so much talent involved in telling this incredible story. The Great Escape is an excellent film with terrific acting, and an incredible story. This is a film that remains as one of the best action films ever crafted. Everything about the film is expertly crafted to bring ultimate thrills. The Great Escape is one of the essential classic actions to watch. If you're a fan of Steve McQueen, then you shouldn't pass up on this. This is a film that has genuine suspense and every actor delivers on screen. I think that this is a film that respectfully portrays this remarkable true story and thought it's dramatic in the typical Hollywood fashion, it managed to convey this incredible story perfectly. The Great Escape is a phenomenal action classic that is set against the backdrop of the Second World War. A thrill ride from start to finish, The Great Escape is an action packed classic that has stood the test of time.
Super Reviewer
July 25, 2011
Allied POWs engineer an escape from a Nazi camp.
I reminded myself of the film's claim that this is a true story multiple times throughout this three-hour chronicle. First, it seemed unlikely to me that even the dumbest Nazis would chose to have a camp composed solely of escape artists, yet they said it was a true story. Second, it seemed unlikely that Hilts (Steve McQueen) could get caught trying to escape nearly twenty times without being killed either in pursuit, accidentally, or "accidentally" and all the while look like he just came out of a salon, but they said it was a true story. Finally, the man in charge of forging papers goes blind and the man in charge of digging a tunnel is claustrophobic, but they said it was a true story. Simply speaking, there is a lot in The Great Escape that will test your suspension of disbelief, and I'm altogether certain that much of the action is as sterilized as Steve McQueen's pearly white teeth. But the action sequences and much of the escape scenes are compelling and relatively well-directed.
There are a few attempts establishing relationships between the characters, but the film concerns itself much more with the mechanics of the escape than it does with the goings-on of the people engineering it. The dramatic focus then becomes similar to a procedural, a heist film.
Overall, I can't say that The Great Escape was a great film; there's too little attention paid to character. However, it is generally fun to watch if you're only looking for a diversion.
Super Reviewer
January 6, 2009
With such a large ensemble cast it's unreasonable to expect rich character development but John Sturges does a remarkable job of extracting empathetic qualities from this plethora of personalities.
Super Reviewer
½ March 8, 2011
Dime-store war porn.
Super Reviewer
March 15, 2008
Directed by John Sturges and starring Steve McQueen, James Garner and one of the most talented casts ever assembled,(in my opinion), the film does not have any weak parts and is based on a true story.
The World War II action adventure story, deals with POWs who devise an elaborate escape from a German Prisoner of War camp. "The Great Escape" will have your complete attention from start to finish and you will find yourself watching it over and over again!!
Super Reviewer
January 1, 2007
Based on the true story of a mass break out of Allied POWs from Stalag Luft North, The Great Escape is THE prisoner of war film. This particular camp is populated with an all star cast of thespians, film stars and character actors alike in a story of good old British stiff upper lips and ingenuity. The first half of the film is all about camaraderie and pulling together in adversity with plenty of knockabout humour and easy going charm; even the Camp Commandant is shown as not a bad sort as he is distanced from the Nazis represented by the SS and Gestapo. The second half is a darker affair as the escape begins in earnest and we follow each of the multinational groups of men as they try to make their way through enemy territory. All of the impressive cast pull their weight (although James Coburn once again demonstrates his astounding inability to do accents) but inevitably it's the charisma and charm of the US contingent that steals the show in the form of James Garner's smooth talking hustler and particularly the irrepressibly defiant Steve McQueen whose memorable motorcycle chase is the centrepiece of the film. A classic that the Christmas holiday would not be the same without.
Super Reviewer
December 9, 2008
If you love Mash and Hogan's Heroes, then you'll fall for this heroic film based off true events in a POW camp. What better cast can you ask for than Steve McQueen and James Garner?
Super Reviewer
½ August 13, 2010
really good flim but i found it a bit too long.
Super Reviewer
June 2, 2006
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.
Super Reviewer
August 1, 2006
Featuring strong direction, an excellent cast who give brilliant performances, a great story, memorable music, and good camera work, The Great Escape proves itself to be one of the greatest films ever made. How can you not root for these guys and their efforts to escape? This is ensemble and epic filmmaking at its very best. I can now understand all the hype surrounding this movie, and why it's so influential. If you have yet to see it, do yourself a favor and track a copy down.
Super Reviewer
March 23, 2010
An extremely entertaining and suspenseful premise that almost anyone can enjoy. It's a lot different than most war films in that it actually has zero battle scenes in it, an extremely bold move for the time. However, at not one moment are you left unsatisfied. The story is so powerful that you can't help but fall in love with the characters. Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson are among the many cast members that make this such a compelling story, without them it wouldn't nearly be as effective. It is played out on an extremely grand scale and visually stunning at times. I would definitely rank this among the best prison films of all time, right up there with Escape From Alcatraz and The Shawshank Redemption.
Mr Awesome
Super Reviewer
½ March 6, 2010
What is it about WWII P.O.W. camp films that inspires such great theme songs? Much like the whistled march from "Bridge on the River Kwai", the march in The Great Escape is equally fun, famous and memorable. Unfortunately, it's just not as good a movie as Bridge on the River Kwai. In fact, despite the big name stars, the film sometimes feels like little more than a 3-hour episode of Hogan's Heroes. What The Great Escape does have going for it (besides Steve McQueen and James Garner) is it's amazing attention to the small details, probably because of it's real-life inspiration. The men spend a great deal of the film digging tunnels and planning the escape of some 200-plus men, all in an attempt to disrupt and cause a general nuisance to the german military war effort (for the most part, they succeed), but we don't really feel too sorry for these officers who've been sent to the Luftwaffe prison: knowing what we know now about the nazi SS concentration camps, these men have it rather easy. Schindler's List, it ain't. However, if you're going to watch a slightly humorous adventure film about german prison camps, this will do just as well as any other.
Super Reviewer
December 24, 2007
A hell of a lot of fun and a very moralistic tale at the same time.
Super Reviewer
September 18, 2009
John Sturges's classic never gets boring. This might be the best of ensemble of actors in the history of film too! Christmas TV wouldn't be the same without it!
Super Reviewer
May 24, 2009
I have seen this movie since elementary school. Cute, not awful by any means.
Super Reviewer
June 1, 2008
A true classic with one of the greatest casts ever assembled. The Great Escape is almost a reunion of sorts with John Sturges reuniting Steve McQueen, Jame Coburn, and Charles Bronson from 1960's The Magnificent Seven. Through in James garner, Donald Pleasence, and Richard Attenborough and you get one of thos three hour movies that doesn't feel like a three hour movie.
The Germans have "put all their bad apples in one basket" by putting all the POW escape artists in one camp. This turns into their downfall because you have people who are practically professional escape artists all together in one spot and their ingenuity leads them to commit "the great escape".
With a cast like this you can't complain about the acting. The standout in the film is Charles Bronson, who plays the "tunnel king". Sturges directs the action confidently and the tension even on repeated viewings is almost unbearable.
As I said, this is one of those rare three hour movies that doesn't feel like three hours. You're clamoring for more when the credits start to role.
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