Thursday, February 29, 2024


Written by William Ivory

Directed by Oliver Palmer

Transmission Films

In cinemas from March 7


Previewed by Len Power


“The Great Escaper” is a sensitive and touching drama based on a true story.  In 2014, pensioner, Bernard Jordan, escaped from his care home in Hove, England to attend an event in France marking the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day landings. The story of his escape made the national news at the time.

Michael Caine gives a finely detailed performance as Bernard, a man whose quiet, unassuming manner hides a steely determination underneath. The details of his escape are amusing, but his playing of a scene where he meets with German veterans attending the same event in France is subtle and electrifying. When he visits the grave of a comrade who died on D-Day, his quiet but emotional performance is devastating.

Michael Caine and Glenda Jackson

Glenda Jackson plays his wife, Irene, who battles with the care home staff, and covers for Bernard’s absence.  She brings a fierce intensity to the part, but also shows that there is a warmly human person underneath.

John Stride gives fine support as an aged fellow veteran, Arthur, who befriends Bernard during his journey. He’s another performer who has had a long career in British films.

John Stride and Michael Caine

It’s the emotional story of two elderly people, played by Caine and Jackson, that is at the heart of the film and the director, Oliver Palmer, wisely focuses on it.  Towards the end of the film, when Irene and Bernard are re-united, the remarkable skill of these two veteran actors is displayed in an intense scene that is quietly sensitive. You’ll remember this scene long after the film is finished.

Glenda Jackson died after making this film and Michael Caine announced his retirement. It’s a memorable film for these two superb performers to go out on.


Len Power's reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 in the ‘Arts Cafe’ and ‘Arts About’ programs and published in his blog 'Just Power Writing' at