Ok, to make things straight. I'm not a great fan of war movies. Or, to make it more clear, I haven't been a big fan of them, until I've seen two wonderful movies with a war theme in one month. The first one was Dirty Dozen and the second was this jewel, one of the best movies I've ever seen, with a fabulous group of actors who make an outstanding and one the most memorable movie casts ever. What can you even expect when you have Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, James Garner and many more in one movie? Fantastic 172 minutes of pure fun, laughs, tears and excellent screen writing.
I wouldn't even call this one a war movie, although it's set in a war camp during World War II. I would rather call it a drama with a war theme and numerous unforgettable and funny scenes I've seen in a movie for a long time.
The plot is pretty simple. A group of most persistent war fighters meet in a German camp and start to make a plan to flee from this one, too, after many failed attempts to escape from some other camps. Most of them have tried more than five escapes, but always without success. But this time things seem to be more promising. Creme de la creme is here. After some more attempts to escape from this one, too, the group decides to gather their strengths and make the greatest escape ever. Lead by Roger Bartlett, a.k.a. Big X (Richard Attenborough), the group consist of Captain Hilts or "The Cooler King" (Steve McQueen) who spends most of his days there in a "cooler", being punished for his attempts to escape and way of communicating with the
guards, "The Scrounger" (James Garner), "The Tunnel King" (Charles Bronson), who keeps an interesting secret, "The Manufacturer" (James Coburn), with his hilarious Aussie accent and "The Forger" (Donald Pleasance), who is one of the most memorable character here and many more "members", who are all very important for the execution of their escape. It would last too long to enumerate all of their unforgettable lines and great scenes and I suggest everyone to watch this movie and experience their adventure with them.
I don't remember when I have watched such a beautiful movie. It has everything, it's a strong drama with a wonderful story, amazing characters, masterfully played by all the actors, more funny elements than many comedies I've seen and one of the most tragic ends, too. You get attached to all of them that you start to feel all their emotions, you get involved in their adventure and you are kept on your seat until the end, when you finally realise that this is in fact a true story, which must end this way.
A must see for everyone, a story which convinced me not to have prejudice against any movie genre and made me watch more movies I would never consider watching before. It seems I've grown up :)