Celebrating Great Films


Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Great Escape

#113 at time of writing.

This World War II action film manages to be relentlessly upbeat (largely thanks to Elmer Bernstein's classic catchy theme song); even when things go horribly wrong, the jokes roll on.

A gang of mostly British soldiers (plus Steve McQueen, inserted purely as a crowd-pleaser) organise an incredibly ambitious escape from a high-security "Stalag Luft III" prisoner-of-war camp. The true story on which this is based is so amazing that it begged to be told, and although this film deviates widely from the known facts the salient points remain.

There aren't many war films that will make you smile, get your feet tapping, or hold your attention for nearly three hours - but this manages all three with style.

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