The Great Escape (1963) is one of the great films from the early nineteen sixties. Directed by John Sturges, the movie stars Steve McQueen, James Garner, and Richard Attenborough among an incredible cast. The movie (based on the novel) tells the tale of a mass escape of British POWs during World War II.
Criterion Collection has restored and remastered The Great Escape from a new 4k transfer. That doesn’t mean we’ll get a 4k disc release though as Criterion still doesn’t do UHD BDs. However, their restored 1080p prints are usually of the highest quality and well worth the investment — even if your 4k TV does a little upscaling.
The new edition of The Great Escape also includes the uncompressed mono soundtrack along with a DTS-HD 5.1 channel option. There are previously released bonus materials such as the four-part documentary “The Great Escape,” but there is also a new interview with film critic Michael Sragow.
The Great Escape releases to Blu-ray Disc from Criterion Collection on May 12, 2020. The 1-disc edition carries an MSRP of $39.95 and sells for $27.99 on Amazon and Best Buy.
- New, restored 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
- Alternate 5.1 surround soundtrack, presented in DTS-HD Master Audio
- Two audio commentaries, one from 1991, featuring director John Sturges and composer Elmer Bernstein; the other, from 2004, featuring actors James Coburn, James Garner, and Donald Pleasence
- New interview with critic Michael Sragow
- “The Great Escape”: Heroes Underground, a four-part 2001 documentary about the real-life escape from the Stalag Luft III prisoner-of-war camp during World War II, including interviews with POWs held there
- The Real Virgil Hilts: A Man Called Jones, a 2001 program on the United States Army Air Forces pilot David Jones, the inspiration for Steve McQueen’s character in the film
- Return to “The Great Escape,” a 1993 program featuring interviews with Coburn, Garner, actors David McCallum and Jud Taylor, stuntman Bud Ekins, and McQueen’s son, Chad McQueen
- PLUS: An essay by critic Sheila O’Malley