Agruably one of the greatest adventures and to me one of the movies which established my faith in the world of narrative cinema, The Great Escape is by far one of the greatest achievements in the cinematic world and will remain so for the years to come. Coming from John Struges and released in the year 1963, it still maintains a ardent fan following and with alluring word of mouth, has grown in stature as a cinematic achievement over the years. The biggest strength of this movie lies in its narrative, edge of the seat thrills and above all a very simplistic narrative which is linear in nature and would be comprehensible to one and all.
The Allied forces in the days of World War II have escaped and harrased the germans to a great extent to the germans handpick some of the best escape artists under their prison and put them all in one impenetrable camp which has the toughest of security and is watched most closely. Once in the camp the The British, The Scott and the Americans gel together to hatch an escape plan which was never thought of before and they succeed with flair. But oonce out, they face a tougher ordeal than what they had expected. What happens next forms the crux of the whole narrative.
A big plus for the movie was its meaty script which was largely built on a true story of mass escapes from Stalag Luft III in Sagan (now Żagań, Poland). It has accuired most of its material from the book of the same name by Paul Brickhill. It was a non fictional account which was brought to life in the motion picture with utmost sincearity. The charecters in the book are brought breathtakingly to life by the smashing potrayal of the ensemble cast. Let me start with Steve McQueen. He play captain Virgil Hilts, a charecter who has an insatible desire for escape and would not wait even a day before he tries his luck. He spends most of his time in isolation cells as a reward but still proves to be the most spirited as also brave. His entrouge with the motorcycle in the second haflf is a treat to watch. Richar Attenborough as the cool and calculated group Captain Rodger Bartlet is another treat to watch. His potrayal is life like and above all extremely touching. One can easily feel his angst and desparation to get back at the nazis from his words alone. His final act of escape is another high point. James Garner as Hendley is great and funny at the same time. His interactions with a German guard will bring out the smile even in everyone. He shares some intense moments with Donald Pleasanse(The Forger).
The movie is wonderfully arranged into two halves, one in which the escape is planned and the second wher the group try to get to friendlies desparately. Any one with a love for adventure or should I say entertainment will love this to the core. Give it a watch and enjoy the brilliance of the motion picture phenomena.