Elmer Bernstein: The Great Escape

Elmer Bernstein strikes again with another iconic soundtrack that is today as ubiquitous as his theme for The Magnificent Seven.

Elmer Bernstein composer film

Bernstein happily lived off the royalties from the Great Escape (1963). It is one of the most memorable and catchy of all film themes, and Bernstein would probably have been bemused at its appearance at England football matches, where it has been a fixture since the mid-1990s.

His jaunty, triumphant, catchy and extremely hummable theme is the perfect accompaniment to this second world war film, in which Steve McQueen, James Garner and Richard Attenborough mastermind a mass escape from a German prisoner of war camp. 

Video: Great Escape theme

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Elmer Bernstein Composer Elmer Bernstein

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