The Great Escape

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.

4

Continuity mistake: Check out the memorable scene when Hendley and Blythe, trying to reach Switzerland in a stolen training aircraft, fly over marvellous Castle Neuschwanstein. According to Hendley, they've almost made it, just 20 minutes of flight and one mountain range left to cross. This is quite funny because the Neuschwanstein shot reveals that they're actually flying straight in the wrong direction. The camera faces south, the plane moves from right to left, meaning they're heading east, straight away from the Swiss border which is just 50 kilometers west of the famous castle.

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. (02:49:50)

1

Continuity mistake: In the scene in which the POWs are distributing the tunnel dirt over the compound, Hendley is leading a group of POWs in a soldier's march. In one shot, dirt is coming out from the bags inside their trousers, but their hands are visibly swinging back and forth; they can't be pulling the strings in their pockets to release the dirt. (00:53:50)

Cubs Fan

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.

1

Continuity mistake: When Blythe starts to lose his eye sight, he tests his eyes by closely examining the forged document. But the document he holds up is different from the document we see in the later shots.

thedoorman

Continuity mistake: In the scene where Steve McQueen is pulling wire across the road, and attaching the end to the pole to trip up the motorcycle rider you can clearly see two shadows on the ground of Steve in opposite directions due to the camera lights.

Continuity mistake: After Ramsay, Bartlett and MacDonald drink the American moonshine, Ramsay's collar and neck change between shots. (01:20:30)

Blibbetyblip
2

Continuity mistake: When Hilts and Ives are put back in the cooler after their first escape attempt, the dirt on their faces in the corridor outside their cells doesn't show up in the same places when they are actually in their cells.

Continuity mistake: Just after Ashley-Pitt has worked out how to hide the dirt, we see Ramsay raking the dirt and Bartlett and MacDonald walk out from behind a building and look at him, but in the next shot, Bartlett and MacDonald are looking at each other.

Blibbetyblip
1

Continuity mistake: When Bartlett is on the run in the town a car containing Germans pulls up near him. Bartlett stops on the pavement but in the next shot he is standing in the middle of the road. (02:31:57)

Continuity mistake: When Hilts draws his gun to shoot at the motorbikes, he steadies his gun-holding hand with his other hand, but in the next shot, he is holding his hand in a different way. (02:14:05)

Blibbetyblip
The Great Escape mistake picture

Continuity mistake: The position of the propeller crank changes between when Hendley first hands it to Colin and when Colin begins to crank it.

Continuity mistake: When Willie is disguising the tunnel by mopping the floor and the Nazi comes in and bothers them, the way that Willie is holding the mop changes between shots. (00:44:10)

Blibbetyblip

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). (02:25:25 - 02:25:55)

Chris in Texas

Continuity mistake: In the scene where Ives attempts to climb over the barbed wire fence, a long shot shows Ives in foreground and a line of men, including Hilts, in the background. In this shot, Hilts notices Ives and begins to run towards him. In the next shot, a close up of the line, we see Hilts still standing motionless, before noticing Ives and beginning to run towards him. Again.

Continuity mistake: While describing the escape process, Roger says that "Tom will run north from the 105." He is interrupted, then says, "as I said, Tom will run north from 104."

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. (00:51:10)

Cubs Fan

Continuity mistake: After Hilts is dismissed from the cooler for the second time, he tells Bartlett about his escape plan, to which Bartlett replies, "Is Ives going with you?" After he says this, his hands change position in relation to his mug. (01:04:05)

Blibbetyblip

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.

Factual error: Why is Hilts not wearing a uniform? A serving officer captured behind enemy lines in civilian clothing risked being shot as a spy. If a prisoner's uniform was too worn or damaged to wear, it was routine for the German authorities to replace it - a P.O.W. in civilian clothes is an obvious escape risk. He is wearing a pair of tan chinos, a cut off sloppy Joe sweatshirt, both ridiculously anachronistic - Sixties hipster fashions - and nowhere even close to a World War 2 uniform. He is also wearing Army Type III Service boots - something that would never have been issued to a fighter pilot.

Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

Suggested correction: The character of Hilts was based (in part) on the life of a British OSS agent who managed to pass as pilot by stealing a flight jacket (revealed in the DVD). We can only assume that since the Germans believed the camp was escape-proof, it didn't matter what Hilts was wearing, since he wouldn't be going anywhere.

Cobblers. Hilts is wearing casual clothing typical of the time the film was shot, not when it was set. No prisoner of war would be dressed the way he was. The posting is correct.

I've always assumed that the actor, Steve McQueen, insisted on the outfit so he would look hip per his image. He had a reputation for being a prima donna on set.

More mistakes in The Great Escape

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?

More quotes from The Great Escape

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."

More trivia for The Great Escape

Question: At the scene where Bartlett is running away from the pursuing Germans in the town, a car stops him. Bartlett says something in a foreign language to the German who steps out the car which makes the Germans drive away. Could someone please tell me what is said in the Bartlett/German conversation and what language does Bartlett speak in.

Answer: It's German, although I can't quite make it all out. The Germans tell him to stop (sounds like one says "hey you" in English). He asks what this is all about and, in English, the soldier accuses him of being English. Bartlett acts offended at the idea, and at being threatened with a pistol. The soldier then asks if he's German, he says something in the affirmative, and the soldiers apologize as they climb back in the car.

More questions & answers from The Great Escape

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