Whilst not the greatest ever war movie IMO, it still gives me a tingle thinking about it. I clearly remember the excitement of this 10 year old when it was announced it was finally going to be premiered on tv at Xmas in the late 60’s. I literally counted down the days and I was beyond excited when it finally started. Loved it ever since.
Several good documentaries on the subject;
"The Great Escape" (documentary) last aired in 2019. Contains the testimony of Jack Lyon,aged 99, who at the time was a Flight Lieutenant in the RAF.
BBC Four : Storyville, The Real Great Escape, shown in 2017, for the first time the true story of escape mastermind Roger Bushell,"Big X",is told with the help of his niece Lindy Wilson.
Great Escape:The Untold Story (2 parts,2001).
Revealed: The Great Escape (Yesterday Channel). Modern Day Engineers and Archaeologists team up with three of the survivors to recreate the story and it's secrets at the original site of Stalag Luft 111. Stolen wire was used to tap into the Camp's electricity system to light the bulbs that illuminated the 3 tunnels,"Tom,Dick & Harry". Each dug 30 feet deep and 300 yards long!
The Great Escape: Garden Rescue,with Charlie Dimmock and the Rich brothers. In this episode a Stalag Luft 111 escape tunnel is recreated featuring a magnificent ornate water feature, creative decking(stolen from the rafters of the camp huts),bedding plants and all year foliage along the trip wires,a nice sundial pointing towards home and a lovely adventure playground for recreational exercise!
Ripping Yarns, Series1 Episode 3,"Escape From Stalag Luft 112B".
Major Errol Phipps is a "legend" among prisoners of war. He has attempted over 500 escapes,200 of them before he left England,accumulating 4 black-eyes along the way. One day in June 1917,therefore,he is transferred to the most infamous prison camp:Stalag Luft 112B.
The "Escape Committee" meets only irregularly and is content to comfortably "sit around on their arses until the war is over".
So Phipps starts to construct a glider made out of toilet rolls,maps the wires and perimeters and begins digging tunnels in the flower beds. After nearly discovering the 'real tunnel' that the German guards are digging,because they want to escape too,he is put in solitary confinement.
On his release back to camp he finds that all the other prisoners have successfully escaped and that the guards are also escaping through their tunnel. The fleeing Kommandant is "accidentally" shot!
All alone in the camp Phipps now has time to complete all his escape plans. He finishes his glider, builds a giant catapult "that could fling him 200 miles across occupied Europe", starts constructing a hot air balloon "using only the little bits you peel off Elastoplast before sticking it on" and digs a tunnel system "so elaborate that it later became part of the Munich underground"!
But then tragedy strikes,peace is declared on 11th November 1918 and Major Phipps "was the only man never to have escaped from Stalag Luft 112B"!
He returns to England but dies a broken man within 3 months. 2 years after his burial,a hole is found dug from his grave to the cemetery fence: Phipps final escape was his "greatest"!