The Great Escape

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.


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


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?


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.


Revealing mistake: When McQueen is jumping the fence on the motorcycle, it can clearly be seen the machine used for the jump is in fact a modern offroad model, with long travel suspension, in camouflage guise.

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.


Revealing mistake: In the scene where the goons find 'Tom', the water that is poured down the hole is not steaming, even though the water burnt his hand.

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)

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)

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Other mistake: When the three Americans invite the British to join their 4th of July celebration, Hilts plays the flute with his right hand the wrong way round on the instrument.

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.

Continuity mistake: When Hilts surveys the fence from the start and the two guard towers, he walks over to the barracks and leans against the wall with his arms folded. He is completely in the shadow of the building. The camera then cuts to a closer shot and he is completely in sunlight and out of the shadow so you can see his expressions. (00:12:01)


Continuity mistake: At the beginning, where Steve McQueen puts his bag down and approaches the fence, at first you see him put the bag down. Then, when he's near the fence and you can see behind him, the bag is no longer there.

Factual error: When Steve McQueen is returned to the POW camp he is shown wearing "modern" handcuffs and not those used during WWII.

Factual error: In the scene at the railway station, the carriages bear the 'DB' logo of the Deutsche Bundesbahn which is definitely post-war. During the war they would have carried the Deutsche Reichsbahn logo.

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


Other mistake: When Steve McQueen first comes to the camp he voluntarily gives up a pair of wire cutters. No POW would have done that. Tools of that nature were too hard to come by.

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

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Question: How come Hilts could not answer the German at the end of the movie when he said he could speak German to Colonel von Luger?

Answer: He could have only known a small amount of German, enough to answer a question or two, but not enough to carry on a full conversation. Also, the German seemed to be wanting to have a full conversation with him. He was on the run and didn't have time to talk. He was most likely being a smart ass saying he knew German.

Answer: .And, just to add to the previous answer: even if he could speak conversational German, he would likely do so with a very strong American accent (as he does when he speaks the few words to the Commandant earlier), so the guard would have picked up on that right away, anyway.

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