"Freedom Is Just an Escape Away"
Led by Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough and James Garner, THE GREAT ESCAPE follows Allied inmates during World War II trying to escape from a new POW camp run by evil German National Socialist soldiers. Released in 1963, THE GREAT ESCAPE is classic, masterful entertainment filled with a wonderful cast, patriotism, playful comical moments, high stakes, and tremendous jeopardy and suspense. MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for young children due to instances of violence and brief foul language, smoking and drinking.
Steve McQueen stars as Hilts “The Cooler King,” an American POW, while Richard Attenborough plays Bartlett, aka “Big X,” the British leader of the POWs trying to escape the new camp, which has been designed for POWs who are experts at escape. Hilts has befriended a Scottish soldier named Ives. The two soldiers are in and out of “the cooler,” a solitary cell used to punish Allied POWs for trying to escape. When out with the rest of the gang, including Bartlett and a few other key individuals, they hatch plans try multiple ways to dig an escape route. They keep failing, however.
Everything comes to a head on the Fourth of July. The Americans take to celebrating their country’s Independence Day when Ives feels all hope is lost. Sadly, he runs to hop the barbed wire fence in the presence of armed guards and meets his end. Hilts now stands more convinced than ever to achieve his goal of gaining his freedom on the other side. However, he has no confidence in Bartlett’s plan until he notices a blindspot from the German watchtowers that might come in handy.
THE GREAT ESCAPE helped make stars of many American and British character actors and offers iconic performances by Steve McQueen and James Garner, who plays Hendley “The Scrounger,” who befriends the British soldier, Blyhe “The Forger” when he goes blind after working on hundreds of German documents for the POWs to use when they escape the camp.
THE GREAT ESCAPE is filled with patriotism, playful comical moments, high stakes, and tremendous jeopardy and suspense. It has an eerie score that fits the story’s high, and often very high, stakes and jeopardy. Several shots with beautiful scenery that mirror the style of the period in which THE GREAT ESCAPE was released. The movie also has iconic Steve McQueen moments when he rides his motorcycle. Some viewers could be uncomfortable with a few scenes where characters are in tight underground spaces (one character exhibits some panicked claustrophobia too). THE GREAT ESCAPE hinges on an almost three-hour runtime, but there’s never a dull moment.
THE GREAT ESCAPE has a very strong moral, patriotic worldview with very strong Christian, redemptive moments of sacrifice and helping others. At one point, the POWs even sing the Christian carol, “O Come All Ye Faithful” as they celebrate Christmas. Finally, it’s clear that the German National Socialist officers, including the SS, Hitler’s murderous secret police, are evil villains.
Released in 1963 during the Golden Age of Hollywood, THE GREAT ESCAPE is a movie designed for General Audiences. However, it probably would be rated PG today and thus contains brief foul language, some action violence, and smoking and drinking. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for younger children. Otherwise, the movie is essential, classic viewing for family audiences.
Led by Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough and James Garner, THE GREAT ESCAPE follows Allied inmates during World War II trying to escape from a new POW camp run by evil German National Socialist soldiers. Inspired by a true story, the Nazis keep the inmates under close watch, but the POWs still long for freedom past the camp’s walls. So, they hatch a daring plan to dig three underground tunnels and escape en masse.
THE GREAT ESCAPE is classic family entertainment. It’s filled with patriotism, playful comedy, high stakes, and tremendous jeopardy and suspense. An eerie score perfectly fits the story and its character situations and jeopardy. The movie also has iconic Steve McQueen moments when he trick rides his motorcycle. Some viewers might be uncomfortable with a few scenes where characters are stuck in tight underground spaces. A very strong moral, patriotic worldview has very strong Christian, redemptive moments promoting sacrifice and helping others. At one point, the POWs even sing a Christian carol. MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for young children due to instances of violence, brief foul language, smoking, and drinking.