The Great Escape

release year: 1963
genre: war drama/action
viewing setting: home DVD, 10/11/10 and 8/7/09 and 3/4/02

synopsis: Dozens of the most escape-prone Allied prisoners of war are put in one camp, and of course they begin to plot their escape.

impressions: This is a thinking, character/idea-driven war movie. The entertainment comes not just from the escape attempts and such, but from the attitude and teamwork of all the good guys. The movie actually has a fairly light tone, until near the end where it gets nasty in a way. I found myself having to suspend serious disbelief as the German jailers tolerated continued escape attempts without really punishing anybody. Still, this is nearly three hours of good fun.

things to watch for: Steve McQueen's motorcycle chase in the third hour.

acting: This movie has a dozen major protagonists, including McQueen, Richard Attenborough, James Garner, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasance, and James Coburn. Almost all of these actors give memorable and entertaining performances.

final word: Worth seeing, especially if you like relatively non-violent wartime movies.

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