The Great Escape

The Great Escape

After writing the previous post about the Predator movie it got me thinking about other movies. Those with an escape theme.

This coronavirus crap has created an amazing opportunity for people to live out their great escape fantasies. Here is a light-hearted look at a few ‘escape’ themed movies, some of which have a tenuous link to this present farce.

The Great Escape:

A fantastic, if jingoistic, second world war movie and clearly the first one most people would think of. I am not advocating digging a tunnel under your floorboards of your house. But if you do please be aware of the neighbours. They are highly likely to snitch on you in this current climate. Remember; “We are all in this together.” Yeah; as if!

If you have an old motorcycle you could even try outrunning the local nazis – sorry – police. A lá Steve McQueen. Possibly best to wait for them to put up some barbed wire road-blocks first though. For authenticity.

Escape from New York

A classic dystopian movie made in 1981. Blimey! Nearly 40 years old. I remember it like it was yesterday. This John Carpenter film was supposed to be set in the (then) near future of 1997. Right now, in the year 2020, the people of New York’s Manhattan island can actually try their luck and attempt to mimic the movie’s hero, Snake Plissken (brilliantly played by Kurt Russell) They’ll need a trustworthy taxi driver who knows all the routes and a ‘pimped’ Cadillac for the final drive.

New York City is on lock-down in real life. I wonder how much longer before some of the inhabitants of Manhattan attempt to cross one of the bridges… It could be very interesting.

Midnight Express:

Based on real events. Poor Billy Hayes got careless. He tried to smuggle some blocks of marijuana resin out of Turkey in the year 1973. Hardly the crime of the century but a bad move by young Billy. Now I am not trying to excuse the smoking or smuggling of even small amounts of cannabis but this one is a little more involved.

At that time in history diplomatic relations between Turkey and USA were not the best. William Hayes quickly became a political pawn. For the heinous crime of smuggling a small amount of dope Hays received a sentence of 30 years as the Turks wanted to make an example of him.

If you think Billy Hayes was harshly treated (and he certainly was) then ask yourself what the hell is happening to whole populations right now. The planet is under house arrest. Mostly on the say so of doom-data from a “computer model” produced by a Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College, London. How the hell is that justified? Police swooping on anyone out for a walk in the park when they have previously been conspicuous in their absence for well over a decade (in the UK at least). Maybe like me, when you see that man’s name and the word ‘professor’, that’s enough. Yeah, exactly; Get a real job mate!

Papillon:

Probably this one belongs in my all-time top ten. Whenever this movie comes up I always refer to the 1973 version starring Steve McQueen as real-life Frenchman Henri Charriére – known as ‘Papillon’ for the tattoo of a butterfly on his chest. There is also a 2017 version which is supposed to be just as good. I must try and watch that. Bet it’s not on bloody Netflix though…Nope. Just checked. Typical.

The best thing about this movie (for me) is that it is set in the French equivalent of Australia. As recent as 1933 ‘Papillon’ was sentenced to life imprisonment within the penal system in French Guiana. This was the French way of hiding their prisoners as far away as possible. Amazingly it only closed in 1953.

From what I have seen of the coast of Australia that famous cliff-jumping scene near the end of the movie could have been filmed here. In fact, it took place from cliffs in Maui, Hawaii.

Escape to Victory:

Dreadful movie but a bit of a cult classic. Set in a second world war prisoner of war camp, starring Sylvester Stallone plus a host of real footballers like Bobby Moore and Pele. The allied prisoners play a game of football against the krauts  squareheads  boche Germans. While they are supposed to be showering after the game they break out through a tunnel dug by the French resistance into the changing rooms. Of course, they had just won the game despite heavy refereeing bias and constant German fouling. All in all, a corny and rather shit movie. Don’t you agree?

No obvious links to the present apart from the increasing tendency of your friendly police force to imitate the Gestapo. That will only get worse, trust me. When given powers above their IQ level it always goes to people’s heads.

Shawshank Redemption:

Surely everyone’s favourite escape film. Almost certainly the best ‘feelgood’ escape film and definitely one of my top 10 all time films (of any genre).

So much is great about this film it is hard to know where to start. There are top acting performances by Tim Robbins , Morgan Freeman and Clancey Brown to name but a few.

Perhaps the best thing about this movie is that truth and justice win in the end. Take note you hopeless politicians.

Battle Royale:

A kind of escape movie, made in Japan. Also, a kind of crazy movie. In fact, this one could become reality in the not too distant future if they try to keep up this global imprisonment farce. It follows a group of junior high-school students that are forced to fight to the death by the totalitarian government.

If you haven’t seen this movie, I can highly recommend it. But beware. It is not for the squeamish.

Final Word

If you think any of those films are far-fetched then consider this latest development. In the USA right now, there are people campaigning for the release (escape if you will) of real prisoners because of this virus thing. Really! You could never make that up. Even in the movies… Life is definitely stranger than fiction.

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