Directed by John Sturges. US. 1963. NR. 168 min. MGM. Digital Restoration.
John Sturges, director of many of the greatest action films of the mid-twentieth century (“The Magnificent Seven,” “Bad Day at Black Rock,” “Gunfight at The OK Corral,”), produced what many believe is his masterpiece in this classic tale of one of the largest Allied escapes from a German POW camp during WWII. With a cast that features Steve McQueen (in one of his most charismatic and "cool" roles), James Garner, Richard Attenborough, and such future action stars as Charles Bronson, James Coburn, and David McCallum, this is the ultimate prison escape movie. A lesson in bravery, planning and teamwork, made all the more enthralling by its basis in fact, “The Great Escape” is a film that will grip you from beginning to end. (People still talk about the exciting climactic motorcycle chase, with McQueen tailed by what seems to be a thousand Nazi cyclists through a barbed wire course.) Done with suspense, humor, and very effective casting, and sparked by Elmer Bernstein's exhilarating score, this ranks as one of the greatest action thrillers of all time. And it's new digital restoration brings it to new and vibrant life. Don't miss it! (Bill Roth)
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