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."

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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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Trivia: The motorcycle used by Steve McQueen is the same motorcycle Henry Winkler used on "Happy Days."

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Trivia: Steve McQueen, James Coburn, and Charles Bronson previously starred together in another John Sturges movie, "The Magnificent Seven."

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Trivia: In the scene following Hilts' theft of a German motorcyle, he rolls into a German town, where he is stopped by a police officer; the officer says something to Hilts, who then kicks him away and rides off. He was asked for identification papers he didn't have.

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Trivia: Jill Ireland was married to David McCallum at the time this film was made. She later married Charles Bronson.

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Trivia: Donald Pleasance is the only actor to appear in both this film and the 1988 TV movie "The Great Escape II: The Untold Story"; here he plays one of the would be great escapees, and in the sequel, he played a member of the S.S.

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Trivia: Donald Pleasence was an RAF pilot and a genuine POW. His plane was shot down, and he was interned in a German camp. In an interview about The Great Escape he said that the film's producers weren't interested in hearing his suggestions about making the camp scenes more realistic, so "I simply learned to shut my mouth."

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Trivia: The actual camp site, which can still be visited, is in Zagan, Poland, which was, during the war, part of the Greater Reich.

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Trivia: David McCallum, whose character is killed at the railway station while trying to escape, says that his daughter Sophie has never been able to watch this movie, "Because she cannot stand the thought of seeing her father shot."

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Trivia: According to the DVD liner notes, audience members at the preview screening were so affected by the claustrophobic scenes in the escape tunnels, many, if not all, of them were still gripping their armrests when the film ended.

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Trivia: The actor Steve McQueen was no stranger to "cooler life"; he had a criminal record as a youth and while in the US Marines spent 41 days in the brig.

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Trivia: While it is implied the camp commandant was arrested for allowing the escape to happen, he was actually arrested for his involvement in a black market operation.

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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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Mistakes

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.

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