Rightly revered as an all-time war movie classic, The Great Escape
finally gets a long overdue Blu-ray upgrade. And it proves to be worth the wait.
The film itself is a regularly-rewatched classic, although the version that gets played almost on loop on television never looks this good. Based on a true story, it tells the story of a group of prisoners of war, who plan an ambitious breakout from a Nazi prison camp in the midst of World War II.
It's a long, patient, gripping piece of cinema, expertly directed by John Sturges. And what really, really lifts it further is one of the best ensemble casts in the history of film. Where else would you find Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn and James Garner alongside the likes of Richard Attenborough? Furthermore, it's one of McQueen's most iconic performances, and considering the rest of his CV, that's no small feat.
The Blu-ray works hard to pull the most out of the picture quality, and while the 1080p transfer isn't reference quality, it's still very good. Furthermore, Elmer Bernstein's classic score has rarely sounded better. Backed up by an interesting package of extra features, The Great Escape Blu-ray is a fittingly strong disc for an excellent piece of cinema. --Jon Foster
In 1943, the Germans opened Stalag Luft III, a maximum-security prisoner-of-war camp designed to hold even the craftiest escape artists. In doing so, however, the Nazis unwittingly assembled the finest escape team in military history - brilliantly portrayed here by Steve McQueen, James Garner, Charles Bronson and James Coburn - who 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.