The Great Escape

The Great Escape film was riddled with fiction. Here's what really happened
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His report to Intelligence explained what had happened:. Above ground I crawled along holding the rope for several feet: it was tied to a tree. Sergeant Bergsland joined me; we arranged our clothes and walked to the Sagan railway station. A black RAF tie, no hat. He carried a small suitcase which had been sent from Norway. In it were Norwegian toothpaste and soap, sandwiches, and reichsmarks given to him by the Escape Committee.

Our papers stated that we were Norwegian electricians from the Arbeitslager [labor camp] in Frankfurt working in the vicinity of Sagan. The journey was uneventful. They traveled in a third-class carriage full of civilians and looked like any ordinary travelers. They had a beer in the station cafe, and while they were sipping, the first inspection took place.

A wandering German Feldwebel [sergeant] of the military police approached them. He looked at the cheerful, fresh-faced young men who spoke excellent German with a Norwegian accent, gave their papers a cursory examination, touched his cap, and departed.

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We knocked on the door. As we did so a Pole who was standing on the street approached us and asked us if we had any black-market wares for sale. We asked him if he knew any Swedish sailors. He fetched one out of the brothel. We made our identity known, talking in Swedish, and he told us that his ship was leaving that night and to meet us at hours outside the brothel.

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The Great Escape is a American epic war film starring Steve McQueen, James Garner and Richard Attenborough, and featuring James Donald, Charles . Steve McQueen in The Great Escape () Steve McQueen and director, John Sturgess, at Goldwyn Studios, Charles Bronson in The Great Escape.

The Swede was as good as his word, and was waiting for them when they returned. He led them to the docks, and told them to duck under a chain while he reported to the Control Office. He would then go aboard, wait for an all clear, and then whistle them to come aboard. They waited in vain. No signal was given. Seamen cast off the ropes and they watched the ship set sail down the channel. They could hazard a guess that he probably tried to enlist help to get them aboard, and was probably told by his friends that one was likely to end up in a Nazi concentration camp if caught.

They were now inside the docks, and they had to get out.

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The best meeting place in town was obviously the brothel, if they could get through. They decided to take a chance; the officer at Control hardly bothered to glance at their papers. But disappointingly the brothel was a no-nonsense establishment, and closed its doors at a. The area itself, however, was certainly populated by seamen; and they looked like seamen.

Small cafes were open; small, sordid hotels did business. They had a meal and paid for a room in one of the hotels. They had taken part in one of the most momentous escapes in history; they'd taken their chances and gotten away with it.

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They were already asleep as their heads fell towards the pillows, and did not wake until four o'clock the following afternoon. They arrived at the brothel at six, and met two more Swedish sailors coming out through the door.

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They were affable when the two Norwegians explained their difficulties. Four miles out near Parnitz.

About The Great Escape

The prisoners scavenged and stole materials for the operation. He seemed to tie everything together between the American and British prisoners especially in the scene where they were celebrating the 4th of July with the drums and good ole fashioned American moonshine. Luger is relieved of command of the camp for having failed to prevent the breakout. Hilts steals a motorcycle at a checkpoint, jumping a series of barbed-wire fences at the German-Swiss border to escape from German soldiers; he lands in the wire of the second fence and is recaptured. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

The Swedish sailors slouched up to the German soldier on guard, showing their papers, the two Norwegians close behind. The guard was helpful.

He stood aside to let them pass, not even asking them for papers. Safely on deck, the Swedes slapped them on the back, and said, "Not bad, eh? Now we've got to hide you because the ship doesn't sail until seven tomorrow morning, and there's bound to be a German search before we sail. When they reached Sweden they shook hands and gave a whoop for joy. Two out of 76 had reached freedom. Their hiding place was the anchor locker holding the great coiled chain. In one corner was a pile of netting and sacks. The sailors heaved it aside and formed a sort of inner nest.

But don't be snoring when the Germans arrive tomorrow morning. Usually they don't have dogs. Dogs don't like climbing up and down thin steel companion ladders.

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The feet stamped away. Half an hour later the propellers began to thrash water and they felt the ship begin to move. Their two friends came down with food and drink, and the smell of sea coming in through the hawseholes in the bow was like an elixir of freedom. When they reached Sweden they shook hands and gave a whoop for joy, for it was a small victory for them.

Then they went to find the British consulate. Bram van der Stok sat on a bench in the Breslau railway station and pretended to doze. He believed that "he travels fastest who travels alone. He bought a second-class ticket to Alkmaar, boarded the train, and at a. He dozed in two cinemas until p. He realized that the tunnel had been discovered, and the hunt was on, because his papers were carefully scrutinized on four occasions. At the frontier post his papers were examined again, but now it was easier. His Dutch was, naturally, perfect, and his papers were in order.

He traveled by train to Oldenzaal, then on to Utrecht.

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Here the Escape Committee had given him the address of an underground resistance worker. It doesn't matter how the protagonists arrive in their circumstances, what motivates them to get the hell out of them, or even if the characters aren't human see Chicken Run , I'm hooked. Though I'm not exactly sure how a psychologist might analyze this interest, I think it comes down to a mix of aversion to authority figures and institutional power structures and a heavy dose of claustrophobia.

So why, after a lifetime of counting it among my favorite films, does watching it feel increasingly self-indulgent? How does time impact the reception of films of generations before by present-day viewers, or rather, can yesterday's cinematic brilliance be today's Flopcorn? Content that they'd constructed the Axis equivalent of Alcatraz but without all the water , they began populating it with some of the most notorious escape artists among imprisoned Allied airmen.

Obviously, given the track records of the prisoners, this was hardly a stroke of genius. Many troops considered it their sworn duty to try to escape captivity; a POW on the run was an annoyance to the Nazis and a drain on resources. And if one escapee could wreak havoc on the enemy, imagine what a couple hundred could do.

Thus, in March , a plan was hatched.

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Masterminded by Royal Air Force squadron leader Roger "Big X" Bushell who inspired the character Roger Bartlett, played by Richard Attenborough , the scheme involved the construction of three tunnels over 12 months and the work of roughly men—the "X organization. Sadly, the plot was discovered midway through the escape on March 25, , but 76 men got away, three of whom eventually made it to England.

The X Organization had succeeded in bugging the crap out of the Nazis; Hitler himself was so pissed off he ordered the Gestapo to execute all 73 recaptured POWs, despite international law rendering such acts illegal.