Behind The Scenes: James Garner, Steve McQueen & James Coburn On The Set Of THE GREAT ESCAPE

Director John Sturges‘ 1963 film, The Great Escape is now regarded as a classic. The adventure film was a huge release at the time and it featured an epic array of stars including –Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasence, James Coburn, David McCallum and Gordon Jackson.

The plot focuses on a group of Allied prisoners as they plan (and execute) their escape from a German camp during World War II. While The Great Escape is based on Paul Brickhill’s factual book of the same, much of the film’s events and characters were fictionalised to make it more cinematic. 

Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood features a fictional tale where Leonardo DiCaprio’s fading star Rick Dalton had been considered for the part of The Cooler King, the role played by Steve McQueen.

The Great Escape has a lot of energy and a certain amount of pathos, with each of the key actors bringing so much to their characters. The film is famed for the motorcycle chase and jump scene featuring avid thrill seeker Steve McQueen. However, McQueen wasn’t allowed to perform key the jump –  that task went to stuntman Bud Ekins. The WWII adventure also features an iconic (and hugely catchy) score from the great Elmer Bernstein

Running an epic, 2 hours and 52 minutes, The Great Escape cost around $3.8 million to produce and it grossed $11.74 million at the US box office following its release in 1963.


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