Watched: February 17 2019
Director: John Sturges
Starring: Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, James Donald, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasence, James Coburn, Hannes Messemer, David McCallum, Gordon Jackson, John Leyton, Angus Lennie, Nigel Stock, Robert Graf
Runtime: 2h 52min
It’s World War II and a gang of Allied prisoners of war are moved to a high security prison camp after numerous escapes.
Right away, the prisoners start plotting their next breakout, although Hilts (McQueen) and Ives (Lennie) don’t have the patience for all that planning “Big X” (Attenborough) and his crew are into. They start an almost daily bolt for freedom, constantly landing them in the cooler.
Eventually, they all join forces to attempt the most daring and intricate prison camp breakout of the war. But will they succeed?
Now, we know we say this a lot, but this movie really is unmissable. Do not be put off by its almost three hour run time – The Great Escape is funny, exciting, suspenseful, sad, and extremely engaging. We promise the time will fly by.
We loved the tradition of escape, the five escape attempts in the first three minutes, the ingenuity, the humour, the action, the motorcycle chase and the characters – especially sweet, adorable Blythe and poor Ives.
Also, bonus information for you, Sister the Youngest watched this in her early, impressionable youth and it sparked a lifelong crush on Steve McQueen. Consider yourselves warned.
What we learned: It is the sworn duty of all captured officers to attempt escape.
Next time: The Haunting (1963)