Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
USA, 1963. The Mirisch Company. Screenplay by James Clavell, W.R. Burnett, based on the book by Paul Brickhill. Cinematography by Daniel L. Fapp. Produced by John Sturges. Music by Elmer Bernstein. Production Design by Fernando Carrere. Film Editing by Ferris Webster. Academy Awards 1963. Golden Globe Awards 1963. National Board of Review Awards 1963.
A huge cast of actors is assembled for this exciting wartime adventure. Steve McQueen heads the group as an American soldier in a Nazi Prisoner-Of-War camp who decides to join in the fun when his fellow inmates, mostly British with some Americans, engineer the perfect escape. Tunnel digging, guard bribing and much revelry soon follow, and director John Sturges has a great time taking you through the whole process step by step. What he doesn’t do, however, is ever justify the film’s ridiculous length, three hours of a story that could have definitely been told well in two. All the same, it’s a good time to be had, and the many notable faces, especially James Garner, James Coburn and a marvelous Richard Attenborough, contribute much to it.