Parents' Guide to

The Great Escape

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

An exceptional story about teamwork.

Movie NR 1963 172 minutes
The Great Escape Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 12 parent reviews

age 10+

Good suspenseful movie for older kids.

I don't know why common sense would give this movie 8+ while movies like the Marvel's Avengers get 13+. Those blockbuster superhero movies do have intense and kinetic scenes and they do have a high body count. But that stuff is fantasy and CGI. The great escape deals with POWs, war and war crimes. The invested emotions in these human characters are greater. While there is no gore and minimal blood the deaths seem much more real. The movie itself is very good. Strong characters. Combines humor and suspense. My kids liked it. My 8 year old handled it fine but I would have been OK waiting a couple of years.
1 person found this helpful.
age 12+
The last hour of the movie is very tough to take for kids under 12. The excitement leading up to the escape from the German POW camp is now over, but the men are far from being safe. They are still in Nazi controlled Germany. One by one they keep getting recaptured and returned. The most awful part is that during the last hour, fifty of the allied men who have been recaptured (our heros up to that point), are told to go & stretch their legs and then they are machine gunned down. I have real trouble believing that the age range for this movie should be less than 12. My children are 8 and 9, and it was TOO YOUNG. They were understandably very upset. They had so many questions about war, being a prisoner of war, the camps. They had many, many questions that started with Why, many of which I had trouble explaining. The film just raised too many questions about the brutality of war that my children weren't ready to deal with yet. I think the movie is better for a child of 12+ years, who will be emotionally stronger, more mature, and better able to handle the very real disappointment of fifty unarmed prisoners being executed. A twelve year old would also be more aware of the realities of war. An eight year old is too young to see this movie, in my opinion.

This title has:

Too much violence
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (12):
Kids say (11):

As in Stalag 17 and other films about prison camp, the prisoners in this remarkable drama adapt to the direst of circumstances with differing approaches. Hilts works on his own, or with one man, while others work on a massive group escape. Two men begin to unravel under the stress, not so much a "choice" as an involuntary response. Unlike other prison camp movies, this one does not dwell on disputes between prisoners or on the deprivations, which seems almost comfortable. It is about the professionalism, courage, resourcefulness, teamwork, and loyalty of every one of the prisoners.

Like a traditional "heist" film, the story focuses on defining a problem and then solving it. They examine the restrictions imposed by their conditions, change the ones they can, and adapt to the ones they cannot. They must also adapt quickly and calmly when the plan does not go as they expected. The story gives us an exceptional example of teamwork and loyalty, and the prisoners protect each other.

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