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The Great Escape (2-Disc Collector's Set) (1963)

Steve McQueen , James Garner , John Sturges  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (606 customer reviews)

List Price: $19.98
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Product Details

  • Actors: Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasence
  • Directors: John Sturges
  • Writers: James Clavell, Paul Brickhill, W.R. Burnett
  • Producers: John Sturges, James Clavell, Walter Mirisch
  • Format: Anamorphic, Collector's Edition, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: May 18, 2004
  • Run Time: 172 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (606 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001GF2EM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,446 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Great Escape (2-Disc Collector's Set)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New high-definition transfer
  • New English 5.1 audio
  • "The Great Escape: The Untold Story" featurette
  • "The Real Virgil Hilts: A Man Called Jones" documentary
  • Five featurettes: Return to The Great Escape, Preparations for Freedom, A Standing Ovation, Bringing Fact to Fiction, The Flight to Freedom
  • Trivia track
  • Photo gallery

Editorial Reviews

Additional Features

It took three years to release the special edition of this seminal war adventure. The remastered 5.1 Dolby sound and picture make it the best presentation on the home market, although there is room for improvement. The vast extras are pieces made over the years, and because they are from different sources, look for lots of overlaps and the same clips. The four-part History Channel show from 2001 does an excellent job of separating the facts and reality of the film (the verdict: the set-up is spot-on, the escape escapades are Hollywood magic). Showtime's "Return to The Great Escape" (1993) gives us the same, but at least it interviews some of the cast. The hour-long docudrama "The Untold Story" (2001) interviews real prisoners and follows the gruesome aftermath of the escape. "The Real Virgil Hilts" is an entry in "the greatest generation" sweepstakes following an American flyer, David Jones, who shares some aspects with the Steve McQueen character, but had an even more varied life. Best is the new commentary track hosted by fan/author Steven Jay Rubin. A free-wheeling oral history of the movie has reminiscences with many actors, crew, and other sources, and luckily it was made just before the affable James Coburn died. One demerit for the awful cover art. --Doug Thomas

Product Description

In 1943, the Germans opened Stalag Luft North, a maximum-security prisoner-of-war camp, designed tohold even the craftiest escape artists. In doing so, however, the Nazis unwittingly assembled the finest escape team in military historybrilliantly portrayed here by Steve McQueen, James Garner, Charles Bronson and James Coburnwho worked on what became the largest prison breakout ever attempted. One of the most ingenious and suspenseful adventure films of all time, The Great Escape is a masterful collaboration between director John Sturges (The Magnificent Seven), screenwriters James Clavell (Shogun) and W.R. Burnett (Little Caesar), and composer Elmer Bernstein. Based on a true story, The Great Escape is epic entertainment that "entertains,captivates, thrills and stirs" (Variety).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
172 of 185 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where Was This Film On The AFI List? April 28, 2000
Format:DVD
The Great Escape certainly didn't get its due when it was released -- it wasn't even nominated for Best Picture, Director or any of the Acting awards. In fact, it was only nominated for Film Editing! It seems, however, that the film doesn't even get its proper due today as it was not on the American Film Institute's 100 Greatest Film list despite its large following.
The Great Escape is certainly one of the most memorable films I've ever seen. The cast includes the late great Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough (Director of Gandhi), Charles Bronson, James Coburn, James Donald (Bridge on the River Kwai), Donald Pleasance and David McCallum (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.). McQueen's performance is riveting and makes the viewer miss him all the more. Garner, who actually was a "Scrounger" during the Korean War, is terrific. It's also particularly nice to see a performance as a good guy from Pleasance and as a human being by Bronson (sorry, but Bronson truly wasted his talent in the Death Wish movies). And in an era when studios tried to substitute backlot sets for on location filming, the POW camp, which was built on location in Germany, looks completely authentic and makes the audience sympathize with the prisoners' plight even more. The DVD heightens the experience by presenting the film letterboxed in clear, vibrant colors. In addition, the DVD edition includes a documentary on both the real story and the making of the film. This film is a classic and the DVD edition does it great justice and makes you realize what a mistake the AFI made by excluding it from its list.
Here's to "the fifty."
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68 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rip Roaring Entertainment That Holds The Test Of Time January 11, 1999
By A Customer
Format:DVD
I saw The Great Escape in the fall of 1963 when I was 8 years old. In my hometown during those days moviegoing was a family affair-- wear nice slacks and shirt etc. Seeing this grand movie with the macho stars on a big screen with booming sound made quite an impression on me. Steve McQueen was simply the "King Of Cool" and he became my favorite film star.
This movie has transcended generations -- my 18 year old son recently viewed it and he was totally engrossed in this fantastic true story of men seeking freedom under the most desperate circumstances. He agreed with me that "they don't make em like they used to" and that most of the films today can't hold a candle to The Great Escape.
The DVD is superb -- the color and picture quality is first rate -- looks just like when I saw it in the fall of 1963 at the old Capitol Theatre in Rome, NY. The featurette on the making of The Great Escape is a nice feature that I never saw before.
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73 of 79 people found the following review helpful
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
I received my Blu Ray copy of this classic film today, May 6, one day before the actual release day of May 7. Thank you, amazon!

I'd also mention that I pre-ordered this BD with Amazon's price guarantee. I noticed that the BD was put on sale yesterday morning at amazon for only $9.99, which was less than the $14.99 I had paid on pre-order. I assumed I would get the lower price, but when my BD shipped last night, it was at the higher price. I dashed off an e-mail to amazon's customer service last night, and by this morning, I had a response AND a credit of $6.71 toward my Visa card to give me the lower price of $9.99! Thank you AGAIN, amazon! Now, THAT'S customer service!

Props to amazon duly noted, on to the review:

I've now watched the BD of the film twice, and I find myself largely in agreement with the review that is up at Bluray.com. The soundtrack sounds very good, especially for a 50-year-old film. The music comes through powerfully, especially the bass end, which is smooth, not boomy. Dialogue is crisp and clear, which makes for a nice listening experience.

That's the good.

The bad - unfortunately - has to do with the picture quality. The opening credit shot is really excellent, and it got my hopes up that Fox had done a good job of cleaning up the film and sharpening the picture. Things continue in fine fettle as we reach the prison camp, with the opening scenes at the camp looking sharp. The initial scene of Hilts and Ives (The Mole) in the cooler looks good as well - I had forgotten about their extended dialogue in this opening scene in the cooler (is this scene sometimes cut when shown on TV?).

As the film progresses, the picture quality varies, most often being not much better than that which was on the DVD.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars GREAT ESCAPE - TRANSFER, A MODEST IMPROVEMENT! May 18, 2004
By Nix Pix
Format:DVD
"The Great Escape" is a WWII story about a group of POW's trying to escape from a German concentration camp. It stars Steve McQueen is Virgil Hilts, a American prisoner who delights in tormenting his Nazi captors with the prospect that one day he will successfully escape from their strong hold. Of course, his attempts result in his being placed in solitary confinement throughout the film. But escape plans really get underway when Big X (Richard Attenborough)plans to dig three escape tunnels under the camp. Although this plan of action is successful at temporarily outsmarting the Nazis, but with a victory that is short lived, the outstanding sequence in the film remains McQueen's electric cross-country chase on a motorcycle. James Garder, Donald Pleasance, James Coburn and Charles Bronson round out the stellar cast.
THE TRANSFER: : Time has not been kind to the film elements. Although this 2-disc special edition DVD is anamorphically enhanced for widescreen televisions, thereby improving the over all resolution of the image, colors remain pasty and dated throughout most of the film. Flesh tones are either an unnatural looking orange or overly pink. Outdoor scenes often suffer from a muddy color scheme in which greens, browns, blacks and grays become undistiguished and filtered through a sort of milky haze. As a result, definition and fine details often suffer. There is considerable film grain present during the outdoor scenes as well as some age related artifacts. Edge enhancement is present in some of the wire and mesh detailing of the camp. Blacks are not very deep or solid. Whites are rather grayish for the most part. Truly, this is a just barely middle of the road visual presentation. The audio has been remixed to 5.1 but the dialogue remains hollow and strident sounding.
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