The Great Escape (1963)

The Great Escape is based on the incredible true story of several Allied P.O.W’s who break out of an inescapable Nazi prison camp during World War II.

Headlined by action star Steve McQueen, The Great Escape features a stellar cast of actors that included James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasence, and James Coburn. 

For a movie that was hugely successful in 1963, the cast did a great job getting down and dirty in the tunnels without the help of special effects. After doing some research on the true story of these events, I learnt that McQueen did all his own stunts, and Bronson developed claustrophobia from working in the tunnels.

There were about 250 guys involved in the breakout, but not everyone could dig in the pits, so the rest were tasked with coming up with distractions to throw the guards off. One couldn’t help but laugh to see a grown man singing Christmas carols in the middle of a hot summer day while the guards walk by and shake their heads.

The Great Escape does a great job building up the main characters in the film while it digs itself to the epic finale. After they reach freedom, things go astray, which forces everyone to flee for their lives. The final 45 minutes follow the guys as they elude capture again. Things don’t work out for a handful of them, but that’s the price they were willing to pay when they got into the tunnel.

The movie has some intense drama in it and will keep you on your toes as you watch a group of guys plan their freedom. When all is said and done, this is one of the most iconic war movies to date. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t like this classic action flick. 8/10

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