you ... you do know that the Great Escape is based on an actual account, right?
Yes, I know, it says right at the beginning of the movie. That doesn't change the fact that the last 50 minutes were pointless and dragged on, and could have been edited.
I'm not saying to omit what happened from the story entirely, because, as you said, it's based on actual events, and it would be stupid to cut it out, you can make it accurate to the actual events without making it boring for the viewers. Like I said, they could have showed the guys all escaping, and then cut forward back to the camp with all the remaining escapees back again, it would tell us visually that they were not successful in their escape, the remaining characters could be discussing all of what happened, and it would also tell us some characters didn't make it back as well, it would be much more concise than an hour of them running from the Nazis. The first two hours of the movie, as they plan and initiate the escape plans were much more exciting and interesting than watching them run from the Nazis.
It would be like that example of visual story telling I had mentioned, the two guys who tried to dig under the fence and got caught, the scene was basically them stating they were going to do it that night, and then cutting to them being taken to the cooler, it was quick and concise, and it tells us that they weren't successful in their attempt to escape, versus showing them trying to dig their way through for 30 minutes and then being caught by the Nazis.
Speaking of stuff that needs to be edited, saw The Deer Hunter last night. Very good movie, and about the same length as The Great Escape, except this time the first hour drags on. The movie is divided into three acts, the first act is to show what the characters are like, the second act is to show their experience during the Vietnam war, and the final act is to show how the war changed them.
The problem is, the first 80 minutes or so could have been cut down to 30 or so minutes. A good 40-50 minutes of the first act is watching them all act like drunk buffoons at a wedding for one of the other characters, like the entire wedding procession. Like The Great Escape, it's pointless and doesn't really add anything, it just drags on forever, and could have been quickly summed up. We already have a good sense of what the characters are like, now they're just padding it out, and it's not holding my attention. If they cut it down to 30 or 40 minutes, they could still fit in everything without having it drag on, we could still see what the characters are like, their time at the wedding, and their time hunting one last time before shipping out to war, except it would be better paced, and more concise.
Like I said, it's still a fantastic movie, but it could use some editing.
Speaking of war movies, just saw Apocalypse Now Redux. It was pretty fantastic... Unfortunately one of the scenes added by the Redux version, once again, dragged on a bit, the dinner scene with some french guys, and it dragged towards the end in the final act. But holy shit was it still an amazing movie. And dat soundtrack.