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The Great Escape: The Most Daring Allied Prison Escape of World War II cover photo

The Great Escape: The Most Daring Allied Prison Escape of World War II 2005


Distributed by WGBH Boston, 125 Western Avenue, Boston, MA 02134; 617-300-2000
Produced by PBS
Directed by Mark Radice
DVD, color, 88 min.

College - Adult
World War II, History

Date Entered: 03/24/2005

Reviewed by Michael Fein, Coordinator of Library Services, Central Virginia Community College, Lynchburg, VA

As a young child I was enthralled watching the exciting scenes of Steve McQueen jumping over the border fence between Germany and Switzerland in the movie The Great Escape. This event seems to have never occurred, but the actual story of how some seventy-six Allied POWs escaped is almost incredulous. Now, some sixty years after the actual escape from Stalag Luft III, archaeologists using heavy equipment have uncovered the entrance to tunnel “Harry” at the overgrown site of the camp in what is now Poland. This production uses the excavation as a vehicle for telling the story of how the prisoners planned and executed this escape, which occurred on the night of March 24, 1944. Using photos, recreated events, as well as scenes from the movie we appreciate the ingenuity, resourcefulness, and dogged determination of the prisoners. The archaeologists were able to interview onsite, surviving POWs, who give special insight into the artifacts discovered and the events which transpired six decades ago. This PBS production is excellent with both sight and sound of the highest quality. The website for this production, has a multitude of supplemental materials. College and especially public libraries should consider purchasing this production.