The Great Escape

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)

Revealing mistake: When James Coburn and Charles Bronson are pretending to be Russian prisoners and attempting to walk out of the camp, if you look in the open windows of the huts in the background (past the men leaning out the windows), in several of the huts you can see that there is nothing inside, with wooden beams/braces visible to hold up the walls.

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. (02:37:00)

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)

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Factual error: As Steve McQueen is making his 'great escape', he drives his motorcycle through a gap which a chasing motorcycle and sidecar can't squeeze through, so it crashes. Cut to a crane shot of the retreating McQueen racing into the distance. Keep your eye on the left of frame and into view, on top of a building, is a distinctly un-1940s TV aerial. It's there for a full 7 seconds.

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)

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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). (02:05:50 - 02:06:35)

Chris in Texas

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.

Other mistake: Ramsay sports on his tunic the ribbons for the Distinguished Service Order, the Military Cross, either the 1914 or 1914/15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. Unfortunately, the ribbon bar for the last three has been sewn onto his tunic upside-down - it reads, left to right as seen, VM, BWM, Star, when it should read Star, BWM, VM.

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."

Character mistake: When Werner asks Hendley why, as an American, he fights alongside Britain, he mentions that the British burned down the U.S. capital in 1812. While it happened during the War of 1812, the burning of Washington actually occurred in 1814. (00:11:10)

Cubs Fan Premium member

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Suggested correction: The question was intended to demonstrate how far out-of-touch Werner was with United States history.

Charles Austin Miller

You misunderstand. Werner's question in and of itself is not the mistake; it's merely a point of contextual reference. The mistake is him giving the incorrect date of a historical event he claims to have read about; it's hard to believe that every book that he might have read on the topic are all wrong, so he must be remembering, and thus repeating it, incorrectly.

Cubs Fan Premium member

Audio problem: The sounds of the prisoners laughing and bantering about during the 4th of July moonshine scene is obviously a looped soundtrack as the same exact sounds and volume are heard at least four times during this scene.

Scott215

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.

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

Factual error: When the SS and Gestapo are leaving Bartlett in Von Luger's office on his arrival in the camp, they all give the Nazi salute with bent arms. The correct form was a straight outstretched arm and hand: only Hitler himself was allowed to give the Hitler salute so sloppily.

tobyduckett

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Suggested correction: Absolute rubbish. And Von Luger was a Luftwaffe officer, not a die hard Nazi.

stiiggy

You need to explain why you believe this is incorrect. Do you mean they actually give proper salutes? Do you mean it isn't a mistake to show an officer give an improper salute? Do you mean the Nazi's weren't as strict on salute protocol as the mistake suggests?

BaconIsMyBFF

Von Luger's disgust of the Gestapo is shown when Big X is returned from custody. I have rendered a sloppy salute to a particular officer to make a point.

stiiggy

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

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.

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.

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Suggested correction: Totally wrong. They were always in covered trucks for that very reason. One of the first scenes in the guards rolling up the tarps so that the prisoners could get out of the trucks.

stiiggy

Colonel Von Luger: Are all American officers so ill-mannered?
Hilts: Yeah, about ninety-nine percent.

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

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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.

Answer: I am German and just watched the movie. From memory the conversation went something like this: German guard talks in English and Bartlett responded in German "English? What are you thinking?" German guard: "Oh so you're German?" Bartlett: "Yes why! Of course I am German. What is the meaning of this? Threatening me with this pistol?" German guard: "Well all right then." And they leave him alone. Although his accent would have given him away, it's a lot less strong than most English people's German, but still noticeable.

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