John Sturges' nail-biting POW classic The Great Escape arrives on DVD with a widescreen transfer that preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1. English and French soundtracks are rendered in Dolby Digital Stereo. English, Spanish, and French subtitles are accessible. Supplemental materials include a half-hour documentary, production notes, trivia, and the original theatrical trailer. This fine package will please fans of the film and may draw some interest from people unfamiliar with it.
24-minute documentary on the making of "The Great Escape"
The film was to a fair extent a work of fiction, based on the real events but with numerous compromises made for purposes of commercial appeal, serving as a vehicle for its box-office stars. While many of its characters were fictitious and events glossed over, most were amalgams of several real characters and many were based on real people. There were no escapes by aircraft or motorcycle: the motorcycle sequence was a request from McQueen, an avid motorcyclist, who did the stunt riding himself except for the final jump (done by Bud Ekins). Nor were the recaptured prisoners executed in one place at the same time. The screenwriters significantly increased the involvement of American POWs; the real escape was by largely British and other allied personnel. A few American officers in the POW camp initially contributed towards construction of the tunnels, and worked on the early escape plans; however, American personnel were moved to a remote compound seven months before the escape, ending their involvement. As well, the film suggests the three prisoners who escaped to freedom were British, Polish, and Australian; in reality, they were Norwegian (Jens Müller & Per Bergsland) and Dutch (Bram van der Stok)
The film omits mention of the crucial role Canadians played in the construction of the tunnels and the escape itself. Of the 1,800 or so POWs in the compound, 600 were involved in preparations for the escape; 150 of these were Canadian. Wally Floody, an RCAF pilot and mining engineer who was the real-life "tunnel king", was engaged as a technical advisor for the film.
Ex-POWs asked film-makers to exclude details about the help they received from their home countries, such as maps, papers, and tools hidden in gift packages, lest it jeopardise future POW escapes. The film-makers complied.
This is among a select few movies I can watch over and over. This is a true classic - Steve McQueen, James Garner, David McCallum (Ducky on NCIS) - too many stars to name - many of which you would say, "Oh, yeah, I recognize him/her!" This is one for the collection!
I saw this film when it was first shown in the theaters in 1963 and have been a fan ever since. Great adventure story that is mostly true to the facts if you read the book "The Great Escape" the film is based on. The tunnels really did feature tracks, a rope pulled cart, and electric lights. Of course Hollywood embellished some aspects but the film is still exciting and this blu ray version represents an upgrade. I bought this to replace the standard CD version I owned and can report the colors are more vibrant and the image clarity improved. The details of the uniforms and barracks interiors really stand out. For my money the most noticeable improvement is in the sound quality. Dialog and ambient camp sounds are clearer and the wonderful opening score is really thrilling. The only down side is the extra features are not upgraded to hi def quality but that is a quibble. Overall I am happy with this purchase.
Always look in the bargain bin. You never know what treasure you will find such as this classic now in 1080p. Imprisoned during World War II in a German POW camp, a group of Allied soldiers are intent on breaking out, not only to escape, but also to draw German forces away from battle to search for fugitives. Among the prisoners determined to escape are American Captain Virgil Hilts (Steve McQueen) and British Squadron Leader Roger Bartlett (Richard Attenborough). Outwitting their captors by digging a tunnel out of the prison grounds, the soldiers find the stakes much higher when escape becomes a reality.
It is my opinion that everyone should watch this movie!! Great value and family approved.
I would recommend this to a friend
Rated 5 out of 5 stars
Another WWII classic
1963's "The Great Escape" is a Hollywood classic about a group of British and American POW's who attempt to escape from an escape-proof German stalag in 1943. Led by a remarkable cast that includes Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, and James Coburn, the film accurately depicts what life in a German POW camp was like and how badly prisoners wanted to escape from it. The movie clocks in at a little under 3 hours, but the viewer will be so engrossed in the film that it will seem much less than that. Highly recommended for WWII film buffs who want to add a classic to their collection!