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The Great Escape

Other mistake: When Hilts and Ives are taken down to the cooler for the very first time, just after arriving at the camp, watch the wall as the door is closed by the guard behind Ives - it very obviously moves as the door slams shut.

Continuity mistake: When Roger is in the van talking to Macdonald, his face is deliberately dirty and stubbled - but when they are about to shoot him, he is clean-shaven. similarly with his bruises which seem to magically disappear by the evening of the first day.

Visible crew/equipment: Late in the film, when the two escapees are boarding a bus, there's a studio lamp on a scissor-lift in plain sight at the left side of the screen.

Continuity mistake: After Ramsay, Bartlett and MacDonald drink the American moonshine, Ramsay's collar and neck change between shots.

Visible crew/equipment: In the scene where everyone is lining up to receive the moonshine that the Americans made you can see a crew member on the left hand side. He is wearing a red baseball cap and modern clothes. He is motioning for the extras to go into the main shot to get the alcohol. (Widescreen edition).

Factual error: When McQueen steals the motorbike from the German soldiers and rides off it is clearly a Triumph, a British make, not a BMW or Zundapp which was what the German army used. More to the point it looks like a 1960s model.

The Great Escape mistake picture

Continuity mistake: In the scene involving Hilts and his baseball directly after Sedgwick and Haynes have their sham fight, Hilts drops his canvas bag with his name on it on the ground. When Goff comes to join Hilts, however, the canvas bag is nowhere to be seen. Despite the angle it would have been seen as the bag was placed down horizontally.

Character mistake: When Werner goes to see Hedley for helping finding his "lost" papers, Hedley is playing chess. The chess set is set up incorrectly. When the men are set up properly, each player has a light colored square in the right-hand corner. In the movie, the game is set up so that the light-colored square is in each player's left-hand corner. This "beginner" mistake puts the king and queen in the wrong positions.

The Great Escape mistake picture

Continuity mistake: In the scene where Roger, Mac, Danny, and Willie are trying to figure out how to dispose of the dirt from the escape tunnels, Willie's motionless hand on the tabletop jumps from the supine position to the prone position between shots.

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Character mistake: When Sedgwick is bringing the cement tunnel lid to Willy, somebody yells out "Hey Hendley" and Sedgwick answers "Hello boys". He was called by the wrong name.

Plot hole: The officers arrived in separate vehicles where they could view the countryside and the road leading to the camp, yet they later claimed to Hilts they knew nothing about the area.

Continuity mistake: When Hendley and Blythe emergency-land their plane, it dashes into a copse. Both wings are cut off by trees and stay behind, while the fuselage runs on for several meters, finally coming to a halt with the tail facing down and the cockpit up. Next shot (pilots exiting the plane), the crash site looks very different: The tail now points into the air, cockpit down. And even worse, the wings have returned to the plane, I mean they are still cut off, but now positioned neatly on both sides of the fuselage instead of all those meters behind where you'd expect them.

The Great Escape mistake picture

Continuity mistake: In the end of the movie, Hilts (Steve McQueen) is returned to the camp - he is dirty and his shirt is torn. When he enters the cooler, after being tossed his baseball glove, he is clean and his shirt is no longer torn.

Visible crew/equipment: The first time Hilts (Steve McQueen) is locked up, you can clearly see the edge of the wall, and to the left a stage hand moving.

Revealing mistake: The searchlights in the guard boxes which overlook the camp are arc lights (studio lights) and not search lights.

TrevorM

Visible crew/equipment: In the scene where the POW's are lined up outside the next day after the escape, several large movie lamps are visible on the left side (widescreen DVD version only - at 2:05:51 to 2:06:16 and again at 2:06:36 to 2:06:40).

Continuity mistake: When Henley attacks the guard at the airport, the back of his jacket gets wet from rolling around on the ground fighting the guard (there are puddles visible). Yet a few moments later, when he is walking towards the plane, his jacket is dry. (Visible in widescreen DVD version - 2:25:26 to 2:25:56).

Revealing mistake: When Hilts is first locked in the cooler he turns to verify the door is locked. Apparently the set wall was so flimsy the stage hand seen on the left was required to hold the wall as Hilts pushed the door, to prevent it from moving. The stage hand looks like the German guard without his rifle.

Factual error: The entrance to tunnel Dick is shown improperly; the trap door was on the side of the drain basin, not the bottom. This was discussed in the Brickhill book, and subsequently verified by research on the site (shown on the US television program NOVA) which found the original door and its lifting handles.

Continuity mistake: When Hendley and Blythe get into the German aircraft first, the cockpit is tiny and cramped, like you'd expect. However, when they cut to the studio-done flying scenes, it suddenly becomes much larger, nice and roomy.

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Quotes

Col. Von Luger: Group Captain Ramsey, in the past four years the Reich has been forced to spend an enormous amount of time, energy, manpower and equipment hunting down prisoner of war officers.
Group Capt. Ramsey: At least it's rather nice to know you're wanted, isn't it?

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Trivia

While Steve McQueen performed most of his own stunts, the only stunt he didn't perform was the 60 foot jump over the Austrian-Swiss border fence. The jump was performed by stuntman Bud Ekins, who later doubled for McQueen in "Bullitt."

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