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Great Escape poster

Release Date: 1963-07-04 (Limited)

Genre: Action/Adventure, War

Rating: NR

Duration: 2hrs 52min


Steve McQueen ("Cooler King" Hilts), James Garner ("The Scrounger" Hendiey), Richard Attenborough ("Big X" Bart¬lett), James Donald (Senior Officer Ramsey), Charles Bronson (Danny Velinski), Donald Pleasence ("The Forger" Blythe), James Coburn ("The Manufacturer" Sedgwick), David McCallum (Ashley-Pitt), Gordon Jackson (MacDon¬ald), John Leyton (Willie), Angus Lennie ("The Mole" Ives), Nigel Stock (Cavendish), Jud Taylor (Goff), William Russell (Sorren), Robert Desmond ("The Tailor" Griffith), Tom Adams (Nimmo). Masterfully directed and written, with an infectious under¬current of wry humor, this classic WW II POW escape pic¬ture presents an all-star cast as the most hardened Allied prisoners with whom the Germans have to contend. These prisoners, who have all repeatedly attempted to get beyond the barbed wire, are brought together in a special, "escape-proof" camp. Naturally, the first thing they set about doing is planning another escape—not just any escape, but one so massive that thousands of German troops will be kept away from the front in the effort to track them down. The prime instigators include: "Big X" (Richard Attenborough), the British master planner; a Polish tunnel-digging expert (Charles Bronson); a forger of passports and papers (Donald Pleasence); and two Americans, "The Scrounger" (James Garner), in charge of assembling needed supplies, and Hilts (Steve McQueen), °The Cooler King," who has his own ideas about how to get out and who uses a baseball and mitt to wile away his days in soli-tary confinement when they fail. The prisoners ingeniously go about digging three tunnels, and though one of them is discovered, the big breakout still takes place and the film follows the principals as they try to make their way to safety—some successfully, others meeting tragic ends, but all providing great excitement. Based on a book detail-ing a real-life mass escape of Allied troops in 1942, pro¬ducer-director John Sturges' film is involving throughout, due mainly to the universally excellent performances of its stellar cast. Also notable is Elmer Bemstein's exhilarating score, which is perfectly suited to the film's nonstop ten¬sion. A hit with the critics and at the box office, THE GREAT ESCAPE is for many the great "escape" film.

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