The 1963 film is based on the Paul Brickhill book of the same name. The details are taken from an actual escape of Allied prisoners of war from Stalag Luft III. Initial audience responses were underwhelming, and prompted one reviewer to write "But for much longer than is artful or essential, The Great Escape grinds out its tormenting story without a peek beneath the surface of any man, without a real sense of human involvement. It's a strictly mechanical adventure with make-believe men." It has gone on, of course, to become a classic.