John Sturges

The Great Escape

The Great Escape

One of the most exciting adventure tales ever told, this action epic recounts the planning, execution, and aftermath of a daring true-life escape from a German prisoner-of-war camp during World War II, in which 250 men attempted to tunnel their way to freedom. In the role that cemented his superstar status, Steve McQueen plays the motorcycle-racing daredevil who sets out to foil the Nazis, alongside an all-star cast that includes Charles Bronson, James Coburn, James Garner, and Donald Pleasence. The expert direction of John Sturges, eminently hummable Elmer Bernstein score, and rip-roaring stunts come together in what may just be the most spectacularly entertaining prison-break movie of all time, a rousing ode to the determination, camaraderie, and courage of everyday heroes.

Film Info

  • John Sturges
  • United States
  • 1963
  • 172 minutes
  • Color
  • 2.35:1
  • English
  • Spine #1027

Special Features

  • New, restored 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Alternate 5.1 surround soundtrack, with DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray
  • Two audio commentaries, one from 1991, featuring director John Sturges and composer Elmer Bernstein; the other, from 2003, featuring actors James Coburn, James Garner, and Donald Pleasence
  • New interview with critic Michael Sragow
  • “The Great Escape”: Heroes Under Ground, a four-part 2001 documentary about the real-life escape from the Stalag Luft III prisoner-of-war camp during World War II, including interviews with POWs held there
  • The Real Virgil Hilts: A Man Called Jones, a 2001 program on the United States Army Air Forces pilot David Jones, the inspiration for Steve McQueen’s character in the film
  • Return to “The Great Escape,” a 1993 program featuring interviews with Coburn, Garner, and actors David McCallum and Jud Taylor
  • Trailer
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Sheila O’Malley

New cover by Sean Phillips

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New, restored 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Alternate 5.1 surround soundtrack, with DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray
  • Two audio commentaries, one from 1991, featuring director John Sturges and composer Elmer Bernstein; the other, from 2003, featuring actors James Coburn, James Garner, and Donald Pleasence
  • New interview with critic Michael Sragow
  • “The Great Escape”: Heroes Under Ground, a four-part 2001 documentary about the real-life escape from the Stalag Luft III prisoner-of-war camp during World War II, including interviews with POWs held there
  • The Real Virgil Hilts: A Man Called Jones, a 2001 program on the United States Army Air Forces pilot David Jones, the inspiration for Steve McQueen’s character in the film
  • Return to “The Great Escape,” a 1993 program featuring interviews with Coburn, Garner, and actors David McCallum and Jud Taylor
  • Trailer
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Sheila O’Malley

New cover by Sean Phillips

The Great Escape
Cast
Steve McQueen
Hilts, “the Cooler King “
James Garner
Hendley, “the Scrounger”
Richard Attenborough
Bartlett, “Big X”
James Donald
Ramsey, “the SBO”
Charles Bronson
Danny Velinski, “Tunnel King”
Donald Pleasence
Blythe, “the Forger”
James Coburn
Sedgwick, “the Manufacturer”
Hannes Messemer
Von Luger, “the Kommandant”
David McCallum
Ashley-Pitt, “Dispersal”
Gordon Jackson
MacDonald, “Intelligence”
John Leyton
Willie, “Tunnel King”
Angus Lennie
Ives, “the Mole”
Credits
Director
John Sturges
Produced by
John Sturges
Screenplay
W. R. Burnett
Screenplay
James Clavell
Based upon the book by
Paul Brickhill
Cinematographer
Daniel L. Fapp
Music
Elmer Bernstein
Art director
Fernando Carrere
Editor
Ferris Webster
Assistant to producer
Robert E. Relyea

From The Current

The Great Escape: Not Caught
The Great Escape: Not Caught

John Sturges’s POW drama is an ode to ingenuity and cooperation that anticipated a wave of demythologizing war films.

By Sheila O’Malley