“A GLORIOUS SAGA OF THE R.A.F.”
The Great Escape is an American World War II epic film based on an escape by British Commonwealth prisoners of war from a German POW camp during World War II, starring Steve McQueen, James Garner, and Richard Attenborough, filmed in Panavision. Other stars in the film include Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasence, James Coburn, David McCallum, and Gordon Jackson.
The film is based on Paul Brickhill’s 1950 book of the same name, a non-fiction first-hand account of the mass escape from Stalag Luft III in Sagan (now Żagań, Poland), in the province of Lower Silesia, Nazi Germany. The characters are based on real men, and in some cases are composites of several men. However, many details of the actual escape attempt were changed for the film, and the role of American personnel in both the planning and the escape was largely fabricated. The Great Escape was made by the Mirisch Company, released by United Artists, and produced and directed by John Sturges.
The film had its Royal World Premiere at the Odeon Leicester Square in London’s West End on 20 June 1963.