The Great Escape (1963) Script


Tor aufmachen!

Go inside.

Hurry up.

This way.

Hurry up.

Yeah, this'll do. Which one are you gonna have?

I... No, that's mine.

Allez... hup!

How far are the trees, Danny?

Over 200 feet. Yeah, I'd say 300.

Long ways to dig.

We'll get Cavendish to make a survey. I wish Big X were here.

Willie, you think X got away?

He'd have sent us word, somehow, if he had.

Gestapo, you think? Either that or he's dead.

Group Captain Ramsey? Yes.

I am Hauptfeldwebel Strachwitz. Will you accompany me, please?

I'll look after your gear, sir. Right.

Gruppenkommandeur Ramsey.

Good morning, Group Captain.

I'm Captain Posen, Von Luger's adjutant.

Since you're senior British officer, you are to be liaison between the prisoners and the colonel.

He wishes to make clear to you certain matters of...

The word is "policy"? Yes.

Thank you.


Gruppenkommandeur Ramsey.

I am Colonel Von Luger. Please sit down.

Group Captain Ramsey, in the past four years the Reich has been forced to spend an enormous amount of time, energy, manpower and equipment hunting down escaping prisoner-of-war officers.

At least it's rather nice to know you're wanted, isn't it?

For us it's not a matter for levity. There will be no escapes from this camp.

Colonel Von Luger, it is the sworn duty of all officers to try to escape.

If they can't, it is their duty to cause the enemy to use an inordinate number of troops to guard them, and their sworn duty to harass the enemy to the best of their ability.

Yes, I know.

The men under your authority have been most successful.

This man, Ashley-Pitt, for example.

Caught in the North Sea, escaped, recaptured, escaped, recaptured.

Archibald "Archie" Ives, eleven escape attempts.

Even tried to jump out of the truck coming here.

Dickes, William.

Known to have participated in digging of 11 escape tunnels.

Flight Lieutenant Willinski, four escapes.

MacDonald, nine. Hendley, the American, five.

Haynes, four. Sedgwick, seven. The list is almost endless.

One man here has made 17 attempted escapes.

Group Captain, this is close to insanity.

Quite. And it must stop!

Colonel, do you expect officers to forget their duty?


It is because we expect the opposite that we have brought you here.

This is a new camp.

It has been built to hold you and your men.

It is organized to incorporate all we have learned of security measures.

And, in me, you will not be dealing with a common jailer, but with a staff officer personally selected for the task by the Luftwaffe high command.

We have, in effect, put all our rotten eggs in one basket, and we intend to watch this basket carefully.

Very wise.

You will not be denied the usual facilities.

Sports, a library, a recreation hall...

And, for gardening, we will give you tools.

We trust you to use them for gardening.

Devote your energies to these things.

Give up your hopeless attempts to escape.

And, with intelligent cooperation, we may all sit out the war... as comfortably as possible.

What do you do here by the truck? I'm stealing tools.

For stealing tools, cooler. I was only kidding.

You're American. Yes, and you're a German.

Of course. Why do you come to Germany?

Why fight for England, your enemy? Enemy? What are you talkin' about?

In 1812 they burned your Capitol. That's propaganda.

It's in the history books. I read it.

Now go away from here. If you steal tools, cooler.

Yeah. No tools.

Hey, Virgil.

Hey, did you see the cooler?

Boy, is it ever a big one!

I think they expect a lot of business. Yeah.

Those two guys who were with us in the old camp, in hut 14, I can't find them.

You think the goons left 'em behind? I guess.

What were their names? It was Jackson and...

And Dexter. Dexter. That's right.

I'm gonna see who else I can find. I'll see you later.

Hey, Danny. Who are they?

Russian prisoners. They cut down trees.

They keep them here? No, they take them out.

Willie, cigarettes.

Danny and I have a blitz in mind. Could you put on a brief show for the goons?

Sure, man. What'll it be? An all-out go?

Choir practice? Knuckles?

Yeah. Knuckles will be fine. Give him the coat.

What are you doing with my coat, mate? What? It's mine!

Are you pushing me? That's mine, you son of a...



Stop it! Stop this nonsense!

It's all right, mate. We're just having a friendly little argument.

No more fighting. No more! All right.

Back in your huts. Yes, sir.

You, too!

Get away! Get back in your huts!

Go on!

Hey, Hilts. Looks like there's only one other American in the whole camp.

Some guy named Hendley in the RAF Eagle squadron.

Hey, you got something goin' already? Shh!

See the way the goons got those towers placed?

There's a blind spot through the middle.

A blind spot?

A guy could stand at that wire and not be seen by either tower.

They'd never see me, especially at night.

You're crazy.

You think so? Let's find out right now.

Now, the next step's a little tricky.

You're not goin' out there? Not while they're lookin', I'm not.

I think I'll take a little walk.

Abteilung marsch!


Danny, you speak Russian? Only one sentence.

- Let me have it, mate. Ja vas lublu.

- Ja vas... Lublu.

Lublu? Ja vas lublu.

Ja vas lublu.

What's it mean? I love you.

I love you? What bloody good is that?

I don't know. I wasn't going to use it myself.



- Out! Nyet, nyet. Tovarich.

Your friend, yes?


And who vouches for you, Lieutenant Willinski?

Get out, Sedgwick.



Hold it, hold it!

Your name? Ives.

Ives. Ives. Yes. Archibald Ives. Scots.

The photograph doesn't do you justice.

I'd like to see one of you under similar circumstances.

I will not take action against you now.

This is the first day here, and there has been much stupidity and carelessness... on both sides.

Hey! Get out!

Nicht schießen! Nicht schießen! Don't shoot!

You fool! To cross the wire is death!

What wire? This wire! The warning wire!

It's absolutely forbidden to cross it. You know that.

But my baseball rolled over there. How am I gonna get my baseball?

You first ask permission. OK.

Gettin' my baseball.

Stop this! Get over the wire immediately!

OK. You stay there!

Out of the way. Out.

What are you doing over here by the wire?

Like I told Max, I was trying to get my...


What were you doing by the wire? Well, like I told Max...

I was trying to cut my way through your wire, because I wanna get out.

Durchsuchen Sie ihn.

- Do you speak German? Jawohl, Herr Oberst.

- Wire cutters. Jawohl, Herr Oberst.

I have had the pleasure of knowing quite a number of British officers in this war.

And I flatter myself that we understand one another.

You are the first American officer I have met. Hilts, isn't it?

Captain Hilts, actually.

Seventeen escape attempts. Eighteen, sir.

Tunnel man, engineer. Flier.

I suppose what's called in the American army a "hotshot pilot."

Unfortunately, you were shot down anyway.

So we are both grounded for the duration of the war.

Well, you speak for yourself, Colonel.

You have other plans? I haven't seen Berlin yet.

I plan on doing so before the war's over.

Are all American officers so ill-mannered?

About 99 percent. Perhaps while you are with us, you will have a chance to learn some. Ten days isolation, Hilts.

Captain Hilts. Twenty days.


You'll still be here when I get out?


Name? Ives.

Flying Officer Ives. Cooler, 20 days.

Cooler, Ives. Pleasure.

Hilts. Yeah?

What did you do in the States? Play baseball?

No, I was in college.

Say, Ives. Aye?

How many escapes have you tried? Four over, seven under.

Tunnel man? Sure, I am that.

How tall are you, Ives? Five feet four. Why?

Just wondering.

What did you do in college? Study physical education?

Chemical engineering. Did a little bike riding, though.

Bicycles? Motorcycles.

Flat tracks, county fairs. Picked up a buck here and there.

Helped pay my tuition. I did a wee bit of racing myself.

In Scotland. Bikes?

No, horse racing. Jockey.



Are you there, Hilts?

Yeah, I'm here.

Don't you have them in the States? Jockeys?

Sure. They were the days.

Saturday nights in towns like Musselburgh and Hamilton.

You had to fight off the birds.

You know, birds.

Girls, man. Girls.

Do you not have them in the States?

Hilts? Are you there, Hilts?



You know the kind of clay and gravel we got here in the compound?

How many feet do you think you could get through in eight hours?

I could go through this dirt here like the bit on an end of an auger.

But you know it's not the digging. It's the shoring up with wood, and getting the dirt out, that's what you've to worry about.

No, it isn't, Ives. You don't have to worry about that.

How are you going to get the dirt out?

What do they call a mole in Scotland? A mole.


Well, what do you think?

I must say, it's an interesting first 20 minutes.

I'd say we made fools of ourselves.

As the sergeant out there says, this is only the first day.


Don't take too much notice. The goons may not know who he is.

I'll pass the word. I'll tell the old man.

He has arrived.

The prisoner Bartlett is discharged into your custody, Colonel Von Luger.

I suggest this prisoner be kept under the strictest security confinement permanently.

Make a note of Herr Kuhn's suggestion.

We have reason to believe he is the leader of numerous criminal escape attempts.

Squadron Leader Bartlett has been three months in your care, and the Gestapo has only "reason to believe"?

If he once more falls into our hands, he will not be so lucky.

Air-force officer prisoners are the responsibility of the Luftwaffe, not the SS... or the Gestapo.

At present, yes, Herr Oberst.

That is why he is returned, for the moment, to your care.

Of course, if the Luftwaffe is not up to the task, the prisoners will find themselves totally in our charge.

We regretfully are not so professionally understanding.

Squadron Leader Bartlett, if you escape again and be caught, you will be shot.

- Heil Hitler. Heil Hitler.

Heil Hitler.

Herr Kuhn.

Nehmen Sie dem Mann diese Dinger ab.

Eric. Hello, Roger.

They dumped you here, too. What's this one like?

Well, it's new.

Here. Let's find you a bed. Thanks.

Come in.

Hello, Roger. Hello, sir.

I'll put your bag in your room. Thanks, Eric.

How are you? As well as can be expected.

The fellows wanted to put up a welcome committee, but that's for later.

I saw Willie and Willinski with Mac. A lot of old friends here.

How long have you been here, sir? Arrived today.

New camp, expert guards, the elite.

You met the commandant?

Yes, I did.

What were the Gestapo and the SS doing with you?

They wanted to find out who helped me to the border.

Who else is here? Cavendish?

Nimmo and Sorren? Griffith, Haynes.

Blythe? Yes.

Almost the whole X organization.

Almost. They cleaned out all the other camps and dumped us in this one.

As Von Luger put it, "All the rotten eggs in one basket."

There's madness in their method.

What about Tommy Bristol? No, but there's an American, Hendley.

Is he a scrounger, blackmailer?

MacDonald says he's the best. Good.

Last of the tea until the Red Cross gets through again.

I scrounged this from Sedgwick.

Did the Gestapo give you a rough time?

Not nearly as rough as I now intend to give them.

Roger, personal revenge must be kept out of what we have to do here.

Too many lives are at stake.

What my personal feelings are is of no importance.

You appointed me Big X, and it's my duty to harass, confound and confuse the enemy to the best of my ability.

That's true. That's what I intend to do.

I'm gonna cause such a terrible stink in this Third Reich of theirs that thousands of troops'll be tied up here looking after us.


By putting more men out of this... perfect camp of theirs than have ever escaped before.

Not two or three or a dozen, but 200, 300. Scatter them all over Germany.

Think that's possible? The men are here to do it.

The goons have put every escape artist in Germany here. You said so yourself.

Have you thought of what it might cost?

I've thought of the humiliation if we just tamely submit, knuckle under and crawl.

Surely you don't advocate that, do you, sir?

I have to point out one thing to you, Roger.

No matter how unsatisfactory this camp may be, the high command have left us in the hands of the Luftwaffe, not the Gestapo and the SS.

Look, sir, you talk about the high command of the Luftwaffe, then the SS and the Gestapo.

To me they're the same. We're fighting the bloody lot.

There's only one way to put it, sir.

They are the common enemies of everyone who believes in freedom.

If they didn't approve of Hitler, why didn't they throw him out?

I have no argument with you, Roger.

As senior officer, I'm merely pointing out a pertinent fact.

When are you calling a meeting, X?


Gentlemen, no doubt you've heard the immortal words of our new commandant.

"Devote your energies to things other than escape, and sit out the war as comfortably as possible."


Well, that's exactly what we're going to do.

We're going to devote our energies to sports and gardening, all the cultural pursuits as far as they're concerned.

In fact, we're going to put the goons to sleep.

Meanwhile... we dig.

Now, even a superficial look at the compound shows us that huts 104 and five are closest to the woods.

The first tunnel goes out from 105, directly east under the cooler and the wire.

But that's over 300 feet, Roger.

Did you make a survey, Dennis? Only a temporary one, sir.

I make it just over 335 feet. Tell me when you've got an exact one.

Willie, this time we'll dig straight down 30 feet before we go horizontal.

That'll rule out any question of sound detection or probing.

All right, Roger, but... did you say the first tunnel?

I did. There'll be three.

We'll call them Tom, Dick and Harry. Tom goes out directly east from 104.

Dick goes north from the kitchen, and Harry goes out parallel to Tom from 105.

If the goons find one, we'll move into the other.

How many men do you plan to take out, Roger?

Two hundred and fifty.

There'll be no half measures this time. Identification papers for everyone.

And, Griff, we'll need outfits for the lot.

Two hundred and fifty? Mostly civilian clothes.

Yes, but...

OK, Roger.

Mac. Maps, blankets, rations, compasses for all the walkers.

Timetables for every train. Right, Roger.

Sorry I'm late, Roger. It's all right, Colin. Sit down.

We're going to tunnel. Splendid.

Willie, you and Danny'll be tunnel kings. Danny, in charge of traps.

Sedgwick, manufacturer. Griff, as I said, tailor.

Nimmo and Haynes, diversions. Mac, of course, will take care of intelligence.

Hendley. We haven't met.

Scrounger? Right.

Dennis, maps and surveys.

Colin, you'll take your usual job.

Eric, how are you gonna get rid of this dirt?

Usual places. I hadn't anticipated three tunnels, but we'll manage.

Roger, who's going to handle security for all this?

You are. I want a system of stooges covering this compound from front to back, checking every goon in and out.

I want a signal system so perfect that if ever a ferret gets within 50 feet of any of the huts in which we're working, we can shut down without a sign.

Well, I don't think there's much point in discussing any more now.

I'll meet each of you on the exercise circuit, we'll pound out the details.

Nothing else, is there, Mac? I shouldn't think so, Roger.

Hello. My name's Blythe.


For birds. I used to do a little hunting myself.

Not hunting. Watching.

A... bird watcher?

Yes, that's right. Watching them and drawing them.

I suppose you have bird watchers in the States?

Yes, we have some.


I only drank tea once, in the hospital.

Where's your kit? This is it.

The rest was confiscated in the last shakedown.

The goons didn't appreciate some of my more... personal items.

Such as.

You're the scrounger. Yes, that's right.

I'll need a camera.

What kind? A good one.

A 35mm f2.8 with a focal-plane shutter should do all right.

All right.

And film, of course. Of course.

Hendley. I need a pick. Big heavy one.

Only one? Two would be better.

I'm afraid this tea's pathetic.

I must have used these wretched leaves about 20 times.

It's not that I mind so much.

Tea without milk is so uncivilized.

Yeah. I'll get our wood.

Close up! Close up!

Close up!

Close up!

Close up!

No me sprechen the English. Close up!


Blythe, what are you doing here?

I'm in Photographic Aerial Reconnaissance Interpretation.

Went for a joyride to see for myself. It's my own silly fault.

The aircraft bought it. Got shot down. Terrifying.

No, I mean, what do you do here? Here?

I'm the forger.

Forgers are installing themselves in the recreation hut.

Sedgwick? I'm in 110.

Griffith. Well, I'd like to work in 109, Roger.

109? Right. I'll work in 107.

For now, Danny, Willie and their trap team will be in 104.

I want to take a chance on the tunnels and press ahead without any shoring-up.

We will need timber for the shafts and the entrance chambers.

Hendley figures there are 36 empty bunks.

We can tear up 15 and move the men around so the goons won't miss them.

The rest will come from strips off the wall.

Is Hendley taking care of this himself?

Not yet.

He's working on some steel for a pick that Danny needs.

Hey! What the hell is going on here?

Turn the water off! Get your hands away!

Get away!

Hey! What the hell's going on there?

Stop this nonsense!

Get away! Turn the water off!


In the stove, we keep fire burning, always.

The goons will not feel like moving it.

Good. Hendley, two tiles, they are chipped.

We need new ones. There's some in 113's washroom.

Should match perfectly. Good.

It's going to be a bit tricky, Danny.

Not when you're organized, Mac.

We're ready. Big enough?

It's perfect. Right through the middle of the foundation.

Good luck to us, Danny.

Why 17?

This is the 17th tunnel Danny's started.

All right?

It's good.

It's very good.

- Raus! Get out!

- Get out! Raus hier!

Raus! Fertig machen da hinten.

Du da hinten. Raus hier!

You're not in your hut? What are you doing here?

Mopping up.

And you? Shower. I need a wash.

I'm watching him. I'm a lifeguard.


Put on warm clothes. You might be outside all night.


No. I vote no. Look, we've put the goons to sleep exactly like you said.

But just one little thing like this and we're up the creek without a paddle.

Ives, sit down, won't you? Hello, sir.

Hello. Squadron Leader Bartlett, Captain Hilts.

Flight Lieutenant MacDonald.

I understand you two are contemplating a blitz-out.

Where'd you hear that... sir?

MacDonald. It's Mac's job to know everything that goes on.

We thought, perhaps, we might talk it over.

Why? It's only a two-man job.

Everybody in the camp is supposed to clear all escape attempts in advance with Squadron Leader Bartlett here.

We don't necessarily want to interfere.

It's just that... Well, what sort of blitz were you contemplating?

We sneak out at night to a spot I found near the wire, a blind spot.

Then we dig down, take the dirt, spread it on top so it won't make a pile, and then straight out.

Ives here is a tunnel man, so he digs in front, pushes the dirt behind him.

I stash it behind me, then we burrow through the dirt like a couple of moles.

By dawn we're under the wire, across the open space, into the woods and gone.


When do you intend to try this?

When do you intend to try it? Tonight.

Hilts, this may not be quite the right time for this sort of thing.

Look, sir, I've been in the bag nearly three years now, bloody close to being wire-happy.

It's a blitz-out for me, or forget it.

It'll work. I know it will.

Good luck.

Thank you.

Hilts, um... how do you breathe? We got a steel rod with hinges on it.

We shove it up and make air holes as we go along.

Good night, sir.

Now, why didn't anybody think of that before?

It's so stupid, it's positively brilliant.

But it'll bring every goon in the camp down on top of us.

I don't know. Perhaps we're being too clever.

If we stop all the breakouts, it may only convince the goons that we must be tunneling.

I hope it works. If it doesn't, they're going to be in the cooler for an awful long time.

Good? Danny, it's bloody beautiful.

This is the dirt from the compound.

This is from the tunnel.

Wherever we put it, they're going to spot it a mile away.

Maybe we could put it under the huts. The dirt's dark there.

It's the first place the ferrets'd look. I saw one measuring yesterday.

Maybe we could dry it to the same color.

There are 50 tons of it. I was just thinking out loud.

If you must think, for God's sake, think clearly.

Where the devil is Ashley-Pitt?

We can't destroy the dirt and we can't eat it.

The only thing left to do is camouflage it.

That's as far as my thinking takes me.

Didn't they teach you promptness in the RN?

You'll never believe it, but I think I have the solution.

The problem is somehow to get rid of this tunnel dirt over the compound.

Well, of course.

Would you mind?

Now... you fill these bags with the dirt from the tunnel.

Then, wearing them inside your trousers, you wander out into the compound where you pull these strings in your pockets.

Out come the pins.

Eric, it's good. All you have to do is kick it in.

Unless you're a fool, the ferrets won't see a thing.

It's indecently brilliant. What do you think, Roger?

We'll try it first thing tomorrow. I already have. It works.

Mac, this is what we'll do.

A little present from Tom, sir. Thank you, Nimmo.

Nice garden you've got, sir.

All right. Let's look sharp.

That looks sharp.


Please, gentlemen, continue. This is merely a routine inspection.

Good morning, Squadron Leader. Good morning, sir.

I am sorry the soil here isn't better suited to your men's purpose.

We'll manage, sir.

I must say I am surprised with the extent of this activity, Group Captain.

Pleased, of course, but surprised. Surprised, Colonel?

Fliers are gentlemen, not peasants to dig in the earth. So I am surprised.

The English are keen on gardening. Yes, but flowers. Is this not so?

You can't eat flowers, Colonel.

Good point.

I have the nasty feeling he knows exactly what we're doing.

Maybe he does. You don't really think so, do you?

If he does, we'll find out soon enough.

Morning, Bob. Andy.

Here we are. Now, let's see.

Biscuits, two packets.

Coffee, two tins.

Bovril, one jar.

Cigarettes, six packets.

Strawberry jam, Sorren's. Blackcurrant jam, Cavendish.

And marmalade, mine.

Danish butter, Von Luger's. I liberated it from his mess supplies.

Yes. And Dutch chocolate. Two bars.

That cleans out the gift food for the entire organization.

Now, the first thing we need is the new form of travel permit.

The forgers have no idea what it looks like.

I'll see what I can do.

And, of course, any other identity cards, personal papers, documents you can put your hands on.

Anyway, put 'em to work, Bob. Right.

Good luck.

Louis, where the hell is the air pump?

Patience is a virtue, Roger.

Yes, I know, but the diggers can only work when the trap's open, and this is holding us up very badly.

Is it finished? Of course.

Why isn't it in? Working on the air ducts now.

Well, when will they be finished? One or two days.

Does it work? Of course it works.

Will it give us enough air? As much as you'll need.



Have it in by tomorrow night.

Got a light? Yeah.


It's pretty, isn't it? Yes.

I'm sorry. Would you like one?

I'll smoke it later, when I'm off duty. Thank you.

You probably have a couple of roommates?

Beautiful day. Yes, but I think it might rain later.

No, no. Red sky in the morning, sailor takes warning.

Red sky at night, sailor's delight.

It was a red sky last night.

I never heard that before.

I learned it in the Boy Scouts.

You were a Boy Scout? So was I. Really?

Yes. I had 19 merit badges. I had 20.

I was working on my 20th when the government abolished scouting and sent me into the Hitler Youth instead.

Werner, you think you'll stay in the army after the war?

No. I'm not a well man.

And my teeth... Your teeth?

Yes. I could tell you stories about my teeth that would make your hair stand on end.

Our dentist here is a butcher.

But don't tell anyone I said so.

It's a soldier's right to complain. Maybe in your army, but here?

One little criticism, and... to the Russian front.

Is that so? Terrible.

That's terrible.


Why don't we go into my room?

I'd better not. If Strachwitz should see me...

I was just gonna make some coffee.

Real coffee.

Coffee, coffee, coffee.

Where is it?

Marmelade. Ist ja wunderbar.

My grandmother keeps sending me this stuff.

- Ach du lieber Gott, Schokolade. Yeah. Here. Take one.

- Von Lugers Butter. Yeah. Keep it.

Nein. I must go.

It's OK. You can keep it. We're friends.

With you in the cooler, will we be friends? I must report this.

I don't understand you. Report what?

That you and I were chatting in my room?

I must go. Here. It's OK. Look, keep it.

- I'll never be able to eat it all. Nein, ich muss jetzt weg.

I'm sorry. All right. Forget it. Forget it.

And that, I'm sure you'll all remember, is the voice of the Nelles warbler.

Let's turn our attention to this gentleman, the masked shrike.

Lanius nubicus. The butcherbird.

The shrike impales his foes on the spikes of thorn bushes.

Not a very lovable character, you see. Let's have a look at the coloring.

Uniform black above, from head to tail.

A black rump, a black crown with a bold white flash, and a white line over the eye.

The shrike lives in lightly wooded country...

Hendley. Sit down. You'll find drawing materials on the table.

The shrike lives in lightly wooded country, olive groves and gardens.

Well, Hendley, have you taken to birds, too, now?

Yeah. Stick around. You might learn something.

I have better things to do than draw birds.

The voice is a monotonous succession of scratchy, complaining notes.

Now, let's have a good look at this bird. He's got a round shape...

An Urlaubsschein. Permission to cross a frontier. Here's another one.

Which one's the forgery?

That one. That's right.

They both are.

What's holding us up now is the new form of this travel permit.

- We've no idea what they look like. Here's one.

And a military identity card.

And a...

- An Ausweis. Yeah.

Permission to be on Reich property. A ticket to Oden.

What appears to be the ferret assignments for the next week.

You get ten out of ten for this, old boy.

Thank you, sir. Take good care of that.

Where did you get this? It's on loan.

In order to get the right amount of outfits, Roger, I suggest that we work mainly from service uniforms.

I can do double-breasteds, single-breasteds, and rather nice lounge suits.

Lapels. I can do quite a lot of things with those.

I can have them deep like that, or high ones like that.

Here's one that we're working on right now.

Yes. What about buttons?

Take a look at those. Here's one that I've finished, Roger.

And... here's one that I dyed with a bottle of blue ink.

It's rather good. What's up, Roger?

The goons'd have a field day if they crashed in on this lot.

That's Sorren's department. Now, I've started working on the other materials.

This blanket.

Particularly the stripes. Marvelous.

Coats. Yes.

I've got the chaps working on these all over the compound.

Those battle dresses, I'm afraid they're a bit too short.

I'll have to get the chaps to make those into some sort of workingman’s outfits.

Blanket ticking.

Now, I've made these into rather nice little waistcoats.

Very dapper, yes. Dyed, of course. Of course.

Just take a look at this, Roger.

Now, this blanket material, we scrape this down until it's really smooth, and then dye it with boot polish.

Corduroy scrounged by Hendley. I wish we had more of this.

Where in God's name did you get these? Hendley.

Where did he get them? I asked him that.

What did he say? "Don't ask."

Let me show you some of the overcoats I've been working on.

Good morning, Hilts.

Well, if you're here to find out if I'm going out again, I am.

When? Seventeen days, 7th of July.

Dark of the moon. Correct.

Is Ives going with you? Yeah, if he wants to.

You, You know that Ives is close to cracking?


Better for him to go out in the tunnel?



It's possible for one man to get out through the wire, even get away, but there are in fact a considerable number of people besides yourself in this camp who are trying to escape.

I appreciate that.

Something's coming, I can feel it, and it's coming right around the corner at me, Squadron Leader.

My name's Roger. All right, Roger.

Yours is Virgil, isn't it?

Hilts. Just make it Hilts.

Yes, well, um... as I was saying, Hilts, we have maps of Germany, general maps, that is.

We have all the information we need for the escape routes out of Germany.

But what we do not have...

Is a clear idea of what’s 500 yards beyond those trees.

We've tried every goon in the camp. No go.

We must know the exact position of the local town.

We want to know where we hit the main roads.

Where the police stations are, where they've got their roadblocks.

And, most important of all, we've got to know how to get from here to the railway station.

No. Absolutely not. When I get through that wire, I'm not gonna be making maps for you guys.

I'm gonna be so far away, you won't hear if they're shooting at me with howitzers.

Understandable. Completely.

I mean, I'd like to help, but...

Interesting idea.

How many you taking out? Two hundred and fifty.

Two hundred and fifty?


You're crazy. You too.

Two hundred and fifty guys just walking down the road, just like that.

Well, some on the road, some by train, some cross-country.

They'll have forged papers, clothes, maps, compasses, rations.

You're gonna alert every goon in the country.

Anybody that can carry a pitchfork is gonna be out looking for you.

They're gonna swoop down and scoop you up so fast it'd make your head swim.

Yes, well, um, thanks, anyway.

If I can help on the tunnel, let me know.

That's good of you. Any time.

Wait a minute.

You aren't seriously suggesting that if I get through the wire and case everything out there and don't get picked up, to turn myself in and get thrown back in the cooler so you can get the information you need?

Yes. One has to ask some very strange things in the job I have.

We'll give you a front place. I wouldn't do that for my own mother.

I don't blame you. Well, OK, then.

It's completely understandable. Well, OK, then.

Yes, well, thanks, Hilts.


Herr Hendley, I... It's all right. Blythe's a friend.

What's the matter, Werner?

My wallet, my papers, my identity card.

Gone. I lost them. Everything.

He lost his wallet.

Do you realize what would happen if Strachwitz found this out?

The Russian front. Dear, dear.

I've looked every place, every place.

I must have lost them while I was in here.

No. Yes.

Look, I told you we were friends. We'll find them.

Thank you, Herr Hendley.


Not now. It might look a little peculiar if you and I were seen probing around at this time of night.

Look, I'll find them.

I promise you I'll find 'em if I have to tear this room apart.

Thank you. Forget it.

Werner. Yes?

There is one small favor.

A camera.

We want to take some snapshots. You know... keepsakes.

35mm with a 2.8 lens and a plane shutter.

Focal-plane shutter.

Werner, that's a focal-plane shutter.

Let me know when you got it.

He's a crazy, mixed-up kid, that Werner, but I like him.


How soon's our air pump going to be ready?

I'll have it for you tomorrow. You're badly behind schedule.

How's it coming, Danny? No good.

No good? Today, three times.


Willie, you all right? Pull!

You're gonna have to shore up the whole bloody tunnel, Roger.

All 335 feet of it. Four times today. Foom!

This way we never get through. We must have more wood.

It's a lot of timber, Roger. Can you get it?

We'll get it. We've gotta get it.

I'll put Hendley on it, and the new man we got this morning.

OK, Willie.

How's it going with the rafters up there?

Taking out one in four.

Stay with it.

Bloody singing.

I've never worked so hard in all my life. Hi, Hilts.

Say, Cavendish...

Allez... hup!

Never mind.

Here's a present from our friend, Werner.

Splendid. Simply splendid.

This should do very nicely.

Those are Ashley-Pitt's men.

He requested permission to dispose of some of his dirt in our attic.

Tom has reached just beyond that pile of wood, sir.

Harry, of course, isn't as far as that.

How much further to the trees? We make it 50 feet, sir.

Dark of the moon is the seventh... Eighth and ninth.

A day earlier in August.


There he goes again.

Why is he buying up all the potatoes in the camp?

I've been working on that, but I can't find out.

Hilts and Hendley lock themselves in every night.

Sometimes Goff's with them. Other nights he's on guard outside.

Mac, we'll close down Dick and Harry. Seal them off.

Put the entire effort into Tom, and press on into the trees.

Right, Roger.





About face!

Forward march!

What is it? They're celebrating the revolution.

It's the Fourth of July.

What the devil's this?

Gentlemen, you're invited for free drinks.

A little present from the colonials. Down the British.

Quite right, too. And a little drink to Tom.

And to getting home. Very well. We accept.

Up the rebels! Down the British!

Gentlemen, follow us.

About face!

Company... halt!

All right, let's line up down here!

All right, grab a cup!

Line it up! Here we go.

That explains what happened to the potatoes.

No harm in closing down Tom for one day, Roger.

I suppose it'll do us all good to let off a bit of steam.

There's only 14 feet to go, sir, and you can feel it throughout the whole camp.

I think that calls for a drink. Hear, hear.

Drink it up! What is this stuff, Hilts?

Moonshine. American moonshine. Moonshine.

Make my moustache grow. Cheers.

Keep it moving.

Hello, Eric. Don't spill any of that.

There you go. Down with the British.

All right, old cobber. Keep it mo...

Don't get any on your clothes. Cheers!

Don't spill any of that. Before your morning tea?

Keep it moving. Don't get any on your clothes, sir.

American moonshine. Don't smoke right after you drink it.

No smoking. No smoking while you're drinking.

Get good and stoned, my friend.

Keep it going. Keep it...

No taxation without representation.

Keep it going, boys. Keep it...

Keep it going, fellas. Enjoy yourselves.

Well, let's drink to Tom. To Tom.

In the three years, seven months and two weeks that I've been in the bag, that's the most extraordinary stuff I've ever tasted.

It's shattering. Well, I think it's rather good.

Well, with your permission, sir, I think I'll all on kive.

Call on Ives.

Cheers, Hendley!

You know what that is?

I'll tell you what it isn't.

It isn't Napoleon brandy.

How do you like it, sir?

Well, it's... To the colonies.


How are you managing over there without us? Getting along all right, are you?

We seem to be getting along all right, shir... sir.

Yes, well, it's...

It's good stuff, Hilts.

Thank you, sir.

Danny! Here's to...

Roger, goons in 105.

Who? Strachwitz.

We have to ignore it.

If we pay attention, the goons'll know the hut's important.

Here's to going home.

Come on, Danny. They've searched it a hundred times.


Anyway, I'm glad we've got you in the tunnel with us. To Tom?

Och, never mind.

You'll be walking down Argyle Street in a couple of weeks.

To Tom. You know, Sandy, I'm just beginning to realize that myself.

Why shouldn't you, man? We're nearly at the trees, boy.

We're nearly at the trees?

Herr Hauptfeldwebel! Herr Hauptfeldwebel!

Das ist es also.

Los, holen Sie die Wache!

Ich hab's doch geahnt.

My God! They've found Tom.

It's the tunnel.


- Ives! Halt! Halt!


Sir, let me know the exact information you need.

I'm going out tonight. Right.

Open up, Harry. We dig. Around the clock.

Cooler. Right.

Well, I didn't think they'd catch him so soon.

He wasn't caught.

Hilts, welcome home.


Are you all right, Danny?

Yes. All right.

All right. Bring some shovels. I'm all right.

For God's sake, you've left out a whole eagle.

That's impossible.


Four days' work up the bloody spout!

I'm sorry, Colin. It's all right, Smithy.

It's getting late. You push off to bed. I'll pack up here.

All right.

Good night, Colin. Good night, Smithy.

I can't see a bloody thing.

Hut ab.

Sehr gut. In Ordnung. Danke schön.

- Bitte schön. Herein.

Heil Hitler.

- Wie heißen Sie? Erich Stressel, aus München.

Warum sind Sie hier?

Ich habe Urlaub bekommen. Meine Mutter ist krank.

Your German's very good. Thanks, Mac. I've put in a lot of...

Watch it. That's the easiest way to trip up a suspect.

Don't fall for that old gag.

I'm sorry, Mac. OK. But remember, German always.


One, two, three, four, five.


No, it's me.

How do you like the old escape suit?

Fine, fine.


How do you like mine?

It looks splendid.

Where are you going? You'll get yourself shot.

What's the matter with you? I'm going out through that fence.

Danny, we're getting out through the tunnel. We're almost clear.

Please, Willie, let me alone.

I can't go in that tunnel anymore.

So I'm going out through the wire.

Danny, think. We're getting out, but not through the wire.

We're getting out through the tunnel. It's finished.

I go out now. No.

Danny, you go through that wire and you'll get killed.

Don't do that.


Since I was a boy, I hate... and feared little rooms, closets, caves.

Danny, you've dug 17 tunnels. Over 17 tunnels.

Because I must get out.

I hide the fear, and I dig.

But tomorrow night in the tunnel with all those men, I'm afraid maybe this time I will lose my head, and ruin the escape for everybody.

So I go now.

Danny, I'll see you through the tunnel.

I'll look after you. I'll stick with you all the way.

All right.

Good evening. Hello, Roger.

Well, how do you think we look?

Guten Abend, mein Herr. Wie geht es Ihnen?

It's as bad as all that?

Colin, I want first of all to say that without you, we would not have been ready.

That's all right. I had lots of help. Lots of very good help.

What's the matter, Roger?

You can't go.

What do you mean? I can't allow it.


You can't see your hand in front of your face.

You'd be caught before you got 10 yards.

That's ridiculous.

That's ridiculous. Never heard anything so absurd in my life.

I can see perfectly. I can see perfectly!

I can see... that pin down there.

Does that satisfy you? What pin? Where?

Colin, do you see the foot of the door?

Yes, of course.

Put the pin down there, will you?

All right.

All right. Come on. Come on. Sit down.

Sit down. It was a good try.

I hate these last-minute letdowns, but I've only just been told.

It's too risky for you.

Don't you think that's Colin's decision?

No, I don't. Come on, Roger.

We all know the score here. Well, at least... most of us do.

Your idea of this escape is to start another front, to foul up the Germans behind the lines. All right, that's fine.

But once we get past that wire and have them looking all over Germany for us, that mission is accomplished.

Afterwards, we have some ideas of our own.

You mean getting home?

Back to your family? That's right.

Do you really believe I haven't thought about that, too?

I'm sure you have.

I know Colin has.

And, Roger, I have, too.

We think we can make it all the way.

Not Colin. He'd be an appalling hazard to the escape. That must be my decision.

Let's talk about hazard. Let's talk about you.

You're the biggest hazard we have. The Gestapo has you marked.

No one has said you can't go.

That's true.

I have thought about the Gestapo.

But if you're asking me how far a commanding officer is allowed to go, or dare go, or should be permitted to play God, I can't answer you.

But I can tell you a blind man is an unnecessary hazard to himself and the whole plan, and must therefore be eliminated from the operation.

Colin's not a blind man as long as he's with me, and he's going with me.

It's all right with you, Colin?

Yes. Quite.

Very well. I'll arrange for your escape numbers to be altered accordingly.

Good night, gentlemen.

Actually... he's quite right.

He's completely right.

I really shouldn't go at all.

My eyes have been getting worse and worse lately.

I think they call it progressive myopia.

I can see things up here. Close to. I can see to work, but...

you're just a blur. I know.

Hell. We'll make it in great shape.

Colin, do you have any tea?

Yes, of course. Then let's have some.



Hi, Hilts. Hey, Mac.


Tonight. We thought they'd never let you out.

Me, too. Let's get at it.

Bartlett's waiting for you. I'll be there.

What time?

Only eight minutes now, Danny.

You OK?


Griff, down there.

Goff, there.

Smith, Foles, third on the right.

Blythe, Hendley, third on the left.

There are the lights.

Right on the tick, Danny.

Look down the tunnel, Danny. It's lovely.

It's just like Blackpool at the height of the season.

You ever been to Blackpool, Danny?

Yes. No.

I don't know.

It's time, Roger.

Bartlett, MacDonald, Ashley-Pitt.

It's all clear, sir.

All set, Roger.


Good luck.

They're coming down the shaft now, Danny.

And then they'll be coming right up the tunnel.

Willie... I can't wait. I must get out.

Danny! Danny! Danny! Danny!

What is it, Danny? What's the matter? Danny! Come here!

Roger? Danny and I'll go later. We'll take another place.

Danny, tell me what this is, and tell me quickly!

This tunnel is mine as much as anybody. I dug it. I built it.

I was buried many times. I go when I want.

Let me out. Let me out.

Take him out, Willie. Take him out.

Danny? What is it?

Danny, what's going on?

It's all right, Sedgwick. It's all right. We're going later.

Danny, it's all right. It's all right.

We can take another place in the line. It's all right.

All right, Colin. Down you go.

Sit down. Feel the top rung of the ladder with your right foot. Got it?

Down you go.

Danny cut out?

Willie took him up top. Hilts, I...

Remember, keep your head down. Right.


Psst. Bartlett.

All right?

Hold on to yourself. You're 20 feet short.

What do you mean?

Twenty feet short of the woods. The hole is in the open.

The guard is between us and the lights.

How could that happen?

What the hell difference does it make? It's happened.

Roger... Damn it, Mac! I'm trying to think!

We could postpone it.

All the documents are dated today. It's now or never.

One chance. When the guard goes to the far end, you might be able to move out.

I think I can make it to the woods, set up a signal when you're clear.

What about the towers?

They're gonna be watching the compound, not the woods.

Mac, pass the word. Send down 30 feet of rope.

Send down 30 feet of rope!

Send down 30 feet of rope.

Send down 30 feet of rope!

What? Thirty feet of rope!

What do they want that for? How should I know? Get the rope.

How's it going? Have you heard? Some kind of foul-up, I think, sir.

Haven't they moved into the tunnel yet?

I don't think so, sir.

He's over there.

Right. You go first, Eric.

I'm staying here till we get moving.

See you in Piccadilly. Scott's Bar.


Thank you.

Good luck. Right.

We're moving.

Danny, they're moving through the tunnel now. They're getting out.

When Warsaw fell, you escaped and came to England because you're a flier.

You came because you wanted to fly with us and fight the Germans.

We can get out now. We can get back to England.

If you don't go through that tunnel, everything you've done will have been for nothing, nothing!

Blythe's behind, Mac. Right.

In here, Colin. Come on.

Sit down.

You're up, Sedgwick. I'll take over.

What have you got in here? A piano? That's very funny, mate.

You won't get this thing through. I'll cope.

Was that Sedgwick with his trunk? Who else?

I wish he was home with his kangaroos.

We're 20 feet short. How the hell...?

Hilts is on the other end of that rope in the woods.

As soon as you feel a couple of tugs, off you go, but keep Colin low.

Good luck, Colin. Thanks, Mac.

What's that?

It's an air raid. God! No!

The goons'll pull the switches. We'll lose the lights in the tunnel.

Come on, Colin. We can get out when the lights go down.



It's an air raid. Searchlights are out. Come on!

Get 'em out.

- It's gonna give! Danny.

Danny. Danny, it's all right. Danny, it's the lights.

Light the lamps down there!

There's been an air raid and they've cut the lights.

Danny, it's all right. Listen to me!

Danny, look.

Come on, fellas. Move! Move! We can get dozens out in this darkness.

What the hell's going on?

You go. No. Danny.


What is this, Willie? Danny.

Is he stuck in there? He's all right.

Get him out fast.

Psst. Come on.

Come on, Danny, move.

Up you go.

Give me your bag.

We're on the rope!

You and I had better get out, or we won't have a chance of any of the trains.

It's moving. We'll just have to pass the instructions from man to man.

Right. I'll be right behind you.

Ist da jemand?

- Hast du etwas gehört? Nein.

Come on, come on.

Come on.

Hey! Don't shoot!

Don't shoot!

Get off! We're coming back!

Boy. There's a hell of a lot of shooting going on up there.

Think they've been shooting them as they came out?

We would've heard the shots before.

Pull! Wait for me.


Die Aufstellung, Herr Hauptmann.

- Sechsundsiebzig. Jawohl.

How many did he say? Seventy-six.


Seventy-six. Seventy-six.

Dismissed. Ten hut!

Half the guys who missed their trains are piled up here.

Ashley-Pitt, Roger, MacDonald, Nimmo.

Makes quite a group.

What do we do? Wait for the train.


Können Sie mich mitnehmen?

Aber gerne. Steigen Sie ein.

Danke schön.

Ihre Pässe, bitte.


- Vous êtes Français? Oui.

Moi, aussi.

- Merci bien. Merci.


- Sie reisen für eine Firma? Ja.

Für mein...

Für mein Geschäft.

- Danke. Danke.

Are the police on the train? The Gestapo are with them. Let's jump.

All right.

I'll tell you when.

I'd prefer you just to give me a firm push.

Are you all right? Yes, I'm fine.

That's quite exciting.

It isn't stopping. No, we're all right.



Wo willst du hin? Komm mal her.

Wo willst du denn hin? Zeig mal deinen Ausweis.


Alles auf den Boden.

Where were you going, Cavendish? I, I hadn't quite decided.

What information were you to collect on the way?


What sabotage directions did you receive?

What have you done with your papers?

Papers? Forged papers and identity cards.

Don't be so stupid. What did you do with them?

All I did was escape from a prison camp.

You'd do the same if you'd been locked up for three years.

I wanted to get home.

I don't think you'll see your wife again.

You've got the wrong man. I'm not even married.

You're wearing civilian clothes.

You're a spy. Spies are being shot.

This is my uniform. I had to recut it when I lost weight.

I dyed it with boot polish to cover some oil smears I picked up when I was shot down.

And you lost your insignia over the years?

That's right.

Bringen Sie ihn zu den anderen.

Look... That's all, Cavendish.

Hello, boys.


Hello, Haynes. Hello, Cavendish.

I wish I could say I was happy to see you again.

Just picked up? Yes, this morning.

There's a trainer out there I can fly.

Any sentries? Yeah, it's gonna be a problem.

Colin, when I say go, crank this clockwise.

When the engine catches, don't move, or you'll get a mouth full of propeller.


Next stop, Switzerland!

The Alps. Splendid.

Over this range, then 20 more minutes and we've got it made.

What is it? Petrol? I don't know. We're losing power.

Go that way! I'll follow.



Stop! Don't shoot! Please!

Colin... I'm sorry I fouled things up.

That's all right.

Thank you for... getting me... out.

Los, aufstehen.

Hände hoch.

Bonjour, messieurs. Comment ça va? Ça va bien?


Comme d'habitude, trois Pernod, n'est-ce pas?

Trois Pernod, Papa.

Café Suzette.


- Et voilà, messieurs, les trois Pernod. Merci.


Et trois. Et voilà de l'eau.

- Bon appétit, messieurs. Merci.

Monsieur. Téléphone pour vous.

- Téléphone pour moi? Oui, monsieur, téléphone.

Par ici.

Voilà, téléphone.





You are English?

I’m Australian.

- Dites-moi... You can speak English. I understand.

Bloody good. I'm a British officer.

I've just escaped from a prisoner-of-war camp in Germany.

I'm trying to make my way into Spain. You understand me?

- Oui. Can you help me?

I know someone who can. Bloody good.

Geheime Staatspolizei. Ihren Ausweis, bitte.

- Français? Jawohl.

- Commerçant? Mais oui. Parlez-vous français?

- Un peu. Votre accent est très bon.

Je l'ai étudié dans l'école supérieure.

Très bien. Passez.

Au revoir, monsieur. Au revoir.

Good luck. Thank you.


Zwei vom Lager sind getürmt. Engländer.


Alles einsteigen.


Halt! Halt!

Stehen bleiben! Hände hoch!

- Was soll das? You are English.


Sie drohen mir mit einer Pistole?

- Nehmen Sie die weg. Ach, Sie sind Deutscher?

- Selbstverständlich. Schon gut. Entschuldigung.

Herr Bartlett?

- Ich heiße Fröhlich. Your German is good.

And I hear also your French.

Your arms... up!


Herr Bartlett... and Herr MacDonald.

We are together again.

You are going to wish you had never put us to so much trouble.

What's troubling you, Roger? I'm just a little surprised.

I expected either a long stay or a very short trip.


I have to admit, I'm a little worried, though.

I hope to God I haven't blotted 70-odd ledgers.

Och, no, no.

We're all over 21, footloose and fancy-free.

We'd never have got as far as we did without you, Roger.

For what it's worth, I think you did a damn good job.

I think we all do. Yes.

Was ist los? Wo sind wir?

All right. You can get out now. Stretch your legs for five minutes.

It will take hours before you reach the camp.

You know, Mac, all this, the organization, tunneling, Tom and Harry, kept me alive.

And even though we...

I've never been happier.

You know, Mac...

Eleven of your men are being returned today.

Who? I do not have that information.


I am directed by a higher authority to inform you that...

50 of your officers were shot while escaping.


Their... personal effects will be returned.

How many of them were wounded?

Here are the names... of the dead.

How many of the 50 were wounded?

None. They, the higher authority... only directs me to inform you that...

that 50 men were...

I see.

Addison, John.

Alladale, Peter.

Bancroft, Edward.

Bartlett, Roger.

Cavendish, Dennis.

Eldridge, David.

Felton, William.

Fanshaw, Arthur.

- Ici? Oui, monsieur. C'est ici.

Alors, au revoir.

- Merci beaucoup, monsieur. Pas de quoi. Au revoir.

- Au revoir. Bonne chance.

I am your guide, señor.

For Spain?


Glad to see you're all safe. Thank you, sir.

How many have been brought back? You're the first.

Do you know how many got away? Not yet.

What happened to Blythe?

He didn't make it, sir.

Roger was right about that.

I'm afraid Roger didn't make it, either.

I've just posted the list. They shot... 50.

The Gestapo murdered them.

Fifty? MacDonald, Ashley-Pitt?

Yes. Danny and Willie?

No, they're not on the list.

Haynes? Yes. I'm sorry.

Roger's idea was to get back at the enemy the hardest way he could.

Mess up the works.

From what we've heard here, I think he did exactly that.

Do you think it was worth the price?

That depends on your point of view, Hendley.

Yes, sir.


He is not to be saluted. He's no longer in command.

The job just didn't work out?

You were lucky, Hilts. Lucky? Because I didn't...

How many?


It looks, after all, as if you will see Berlin before I do.


Hey, Hilts!