Holiday movie alternatives: ‘The Great Escape’

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Editor’s note: As 2018 drew to a close, we shared our favorite car movies as an alternative to the Hallmark holiday movies that some people watch this time of year. So this year we’re adding a twist to the series, sharing the 10-favorite motorcycle movies selected in a poll of the ClassicCars.com Journal staff. The series begins today with No. 4 The Great Escape.

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Steve McQueen’s character jumps the fence in ‘The Great Escape’ | Still from movie trailer

The cast includes the likes of Richard Attenborough, James Garner, Charles Bronson, James Colburn, David McCallum, Donald Pleasence, but what you likely remember most about this 1963 film is the scene in which Steve McQueen’s character jumps a motorcycle over a barbed wire fence.

The film was based on a book of the same name by Paul Brickhill, one of the prisoners of war in Stalag Luft III.

“In 1942, the Germans have built what they consider an escape-proof P.O.W. camp, where they plan to house all the problem P.O.W.s (those that have made multiple escape attempts in the past),” reports the movie website imdb.com. 

“What the Germans don’t realize is that they’ve put all the best escape minds in one location. If they can’t escape, these P.O.W.s believe it is their military duty to make the enemy place as much effort into their confinement as possible to divert them from other war-related pursuits.

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“Royal Air Force Squadron Leader Bartlett plans not just a one or two man escape at a time like most escape attempts in the past have been, but a massive escape of two hundred fifty men through a series of tunnels. If one tunnel is found, they can focus on the others. 

“Each escapee will be provided with a complete set of forged documents and standard clothing. With their reputations preceding them, each P.O.W. is assigned a specific task in carrying out the plan.”

The movie, directed by John Sturges, was nominated for an Oscar in the best editing category and for a Golden Globe as best motion picture.

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