The Great Escape (1963)
Directed by John Sturges
Starring: Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, James Coburn
A group of Allied prisoners of war with a history of escape attempts have been brought together in a new prison camp. Under the watchful eyes of their Nazi guards these prisoners are ready for their next chance. This time the prisoners have a plan to get almost 300 men out of the camp. Now Hilt (McQueen), Hendley (Garner), Danny (Bronson), Bartlett (Attenborough), and Sedgwick (Coburn) are leading the way with their unique skills. This plan is part of the sense of duty these men share, and they’ll risk it all to get it done.
It’s easy to debate the historical accuracy of any film inspired by true events. Truth or fiction aside, this is an incredibly well-made movie featuring an amazing cast. The film was directed by John Sturges (The Magnificent Seven) and taken from the novel by Paul Brickhill (Reach for the Sky). The wonderful screenplay was put together by James Clavell (Shogun) and W.R. Burnett (Wake Island). This movie saw financial success as well as critical acclaim. The Great Escape was nominated for an Oscar for Best Editing.
Editing is only a small part of the success of this movie on the technical side. The movie is visually beautiful, creating a great contrast with a very harsh story. The camera work and set design are also nicely done. With great sound and a powerful score this movie seems to have it all.
This movie features some great acting to go along with its many technical successes. Steve McQueen (Papillon), James Garner (Murphy’s Romance), Richard Attenborough (Jurassic Park), Charles Bronson (Once Upon a Time in the West), and James Coburn (Once Upon a Time in the West) come together as part of a wonderful ensemble cast. Each character has his own unique identity, making it easy to get behind them and their cause. In addition to the actors named this movie is full of great work by dozens of talented actors.
This is a powerful film that has moments of comedy, but more often comes across as sincere and dramatic. Anyone who enjoys war films or good drama will really appreciate this one. I would also recommend this movie to fans of the actors in the film. This movie features a powerful story played out on a beautiful canvas. I give this one 5 out of 5 stars.