The action-packed adventure classic The Great Escape breaks onto Blu-ray for the first time ever on May 7th from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. The release celebrates The Great Escape's 50th anniversary and M&C is getting in on the celebration by highlighting some of the film's greatest moments!
The Blu-ray release is also timed with the celebration of the birthday of iconic Hollywood legend Steve McQueen who would have turned 83-years-old this year and will feature more than three hours of extras. Directed by Academy Award nominee John Sturges, catch one of AFI’s “100 Most Thrilling American Films” in an all-new masterful 4K transfer.
Based on a true story, The Great Escape is “a motion picture that entertains, captivates, thrills and stirs” (Variety). In 1943, the Germans opened a maximum security prison-of-war camp, designed to hold even the craftiest escape artists. By doing so, they unwittingly assembled the finest escape team in military history - brilliantly portrayed by Steve McQueen, James Garner, Charles Bronson, and James Coburn- who worked on what became the largest prison breakout ever attempted.
The Blu-ray comes fully loaded with over three hours of special features including commentary with Director Sturges and crew, multiple making of featurettes, the original theatrical trailer and more.
The Great Escape Blu-ray Features:
Audio Commentary by Director John Sturges, Cast & Crew
The Great Escape: Bringing Fact to Fiction
The Great Escape: Preparations for Freedom
The Great Escape: The Flight to Freedom
The Great Escape: A Standing Ovation
The Great Escape: The Untold Story
The Great Escape: The Untold Story – Additional Interviews
A Real Virgil Hilts: A Man Called Jones
Return to The Great Escape
Original Theatrical Trailer
Here are ten reasons that make The Great Escape a great film to see again and again:
10. Ives 'The Mole' (Angus Lennie) gives a loud whistle in the opening moments of the film to show all the prisoners already trying to escape. Followed by a sneer at the guard for getting caught. Not only does this set up Ives’ character, it shows the audience this is going to be a great ride.
9. Von Luger 'The Kommandant' (Hannes Messemer) tells Ramsey 'The SBO' (James Donald) the German command has put all the rotten eggs in one basket and they intend to watch the basket - thus letting the audience know we are going to be in for some great escapes.
8. The shock from the team when Bartlett 'Big X' (Richard Attenborough) tells them that they are going to be digging three tunnels and getting 250 people out of the camp. Not only are they going to be escaping, but they will be doing it with the clothes, food, and the forged papers needed to get them to safety.
7. Blythe 'The Forger' (Donald Pleasence) and Hendley 'The Scrounger' (James Garner) torment guard Werner (Robert Graf) for "losing" his wallet while he was in Hendley's room and then blackmail him to get them a camera so they can take some “snap shots” and even demand the style of shutter the camera should have. Garner owns the scene and constantly shocks his superiors in his ability to just happen upon whatever item they need – including a variety of papers and guard assignments.
6. Danny 'Tunnel King' (Charles Bronson), Sedgwick 'The Manufacturer' (James Coburn), and Willie 'Tunnel King' (John Leyton) avoid the tunnel being discovered by quick thinking in the shower. The scene deserves to be on the list simply for Colburn's cool reason for being in the shower room when questioned by a guard - "I'm watching him. I'm a lifeguard."
5. Ashley-Pitt’s (David McCallum) clever idea for getting rid of all the dirt. Simply walk it out into the yard and let the dirt out through your pants (a method that was later used in The Shawshank Redemption). Follow up scenes show the men gardening and giving each other presents from the tunnels as well as a proper squad march in front of the guards with Hendley 'The Scrounger' (James Garner) telling the men to "look sharp" as the dust spills.
4. Hendley 'The Scrounger' (James Garner) and a blind Blythe 'The Forger' (Donald Pleasence) escape by jumping from a train, stealing a plane and then being shot down. The film's second best action sequence, and it also gives The Great Escape emotional impact as Blythe blindly struggles to get away.
3. Hilts 'The Cooler King' (Steve McQueen), Hendley 'The Scrounger' (James Garner), and Goff (Jud Taylor) buying up all the camp's potatoes, turning them into moonshine (with a funny taste testing) and then celebrating the Fourth of July in style.
2. Bartlett 'Big X' (Richard Attenborough) and MacDonald 'Intelligence' (Gordon Jackson) thrilling chase after their cover is blown following the escape. Running across roof tops to the tragic end, their flight gives the film an old school spy style. The tension to the scene is aided by the price Bartlett will pay if he is captured.
1. Hilts 'The Cooler King' (Steve McQueen) and his thrilling motorcycle escape. Hilts deserves the number one spot just on the fact that from the second he is on screen, he is the reason to watch the movie. From his arrogance with Von Luger at the beginning to his multiple escape attempts, Hilts embodies everything that makes The Great Escape great.
*Images used in the article do not represent the picture quality of the Blu-ray edition.