The Great Escape: John Sturges makes one incredibly entertaining film, all the more impressive since the story (against all appearances) is based on historical fact. One of the factors that make this such a spectacle is the great, instantly recognizable, score by Elmer Bernstein; in particular the main theme, but all of it resonates (even if he borrows from another collaboration with Sturges, another great action score). However, it’s undeniable the film would not connect so well if not for the great cast; there are a great group of recognizable faces and they are all in top shape; Richard Attenborough and Donald Pleasence may be the ones that rise further, but there’s not a wrong note. The writing is careful enough to give most of the characters a moment of growth, even if the plot is what matters most. Beautifully done, well shot and edited; the production design of the main setting, very carefully realized.