The Great Escape
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. (00:13:35)

Continuity mistake: In the scene where Hilts is first locked in the cooler, he is eventually let out. It shows him walking out from a view that is inside the cooler, and his coat is on one arm (I forget which arm it is). Then it shows a view from outside of the cooler,of him walking out, and his jacket is on the other arm. He didn't switch it while walking, because the clip is about 2 seconds long.

Continuity mistake: In the famous scene when Steve McQueen jumps the fence, the stuntman riding the motorcycle loses control of the motorcycle shortly after landing and he obviously fell off the motorcycle. They then cut to a scene of Steve McQueen riding off.

The Great Escape mistake picture

Continuity mistake: When Hilts tests his blind spot theory at the wire and is caught by the German guards, in one shot he points at the wire with his thumb. In the very next shot, his arm is instantly resting on his hip. (00:20:00)

Cubs Fan

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: Paul Brickhill, who wrote the novel the film is based on, was a member of the X organization which planned the escape.

More trivia for The Great Escape

Question: In the scenes in which the POWs use the bags inside their trousers to distribute tunnel dirt over the compound, how do they put the pins back into the bags? It seems like a pain in the butt to have to take the bags out, just to put them back in, just to take them back out, etc.

Cubs Fan

Chosen answer: The movie is based on a true story and depicts actual events. After dispersing the dirt, the POWs simply removed the bags from their pants, reinserted the pins, and put the filled bags back inside their trousers again. Of course it was a pain, but what other options did they have? Little or none. Carrying out a secret operation in a prisoner of war camp with few resources, they worked with what they had, and made what they had work.

raywest Premium member
More questions & answers from The Great Escape

Join the mailing list

Separate from membership, this is to get updates about mistakes in recent releases. Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Check out the mistake & trivia books, on Kindle and in paperback.