#120: The Great Escape (1963)

When and how did I watch this?

July 10th and 11th, 2016, on Amazon Instant Video.

Had I seen this film already?


What did I know about the movie before watching it?

I’d heard of it, but that’s about all.

What do I know about it now?

It’s another World War II film from an alternate perspective: another POW camp, but this time in mainland Europe — German interior, I believe.  While the premise of the film was fascinating, it was underwhelming to me.  Perhaps it was the large array of characters, some who managed to keep my attention while others, who might have been important, being completely forgettable, that made the film challenging to finish.  The elaborate scheme and post-escape aspects drew a lot of tension. Some of the cinematography and stunts appeared ahead of its time.

What are some themes in the film?

WWII, camaraderie, fear/courage, humanity

Did this affect me personally?

A scene involving several of the prisoners being gunned down was unsettling.  I enjoyed the intricacies of the elaborate escape plan and the execution.

Why is this ranked #120?

World War II is always a fascinating subject.  It’s heavily based on a true story. Several marquee actors are in the film, including a Steve McQueen in his prime. Again, the tension is executed well enough to generate interest among many viewers.

Did my wife watch/like it?

She watched about half of it and seemed to enjoy what she saw.

Would I watch it again?

Probably not.

Would I recommend it to a friend?

Most people would like this stuff.  It might seem long-winded at times, but enough “content” is there to avoid boredom.

Does it deserve to be on this list as one of the greatest films of all time?

Probably.  I feel like I’ve already seen a handful of films like it, and they could readily be exchanged with others.  It’s a fun story, filled with quirky situations, a dramatic sequence leading up to and through the escape, and then a heartbreaking final 30 minutes or so.  I can’t say it’s my favorite, but it deserves the title of being great indeed.

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