The Great Escaper (2023)
A 2023 biographical drama film directed by Oliver Parker, written by William Ivory, and starring Michael Caine and Glenda Jackson. The film is based on the true story of 89-year-old British World War II Royal Navy veteran Bernard Jordan.
In June 2014, Bernard “broke out” of his nursing home to attend the 70th anniversary D-Day commemorations in France. Encouraged by his wife, Rene (played by the late Glenda Jackson in her final role), he decides to make the trip under his own steam, absconding from his care home in Hove with his essentials in a blue plastic bag. The film follows Jordan’s journey as he eludes his carers, takes an overnight ferry, and ends up meeting other veterans who are also in France commemorating their friends’ bravery.
The film also follows Rene, who is dying and organising her affairs, and who supports her husband’s trip. The premise of this real-life pensioner adventure seems tailor-made for a gently comedic big-screen treatment. However, the film is unexpectedly melancholic in approach, with Caine delivering a gruffly heart-breaking performance as a man belatedly confronting crippling survivor’s guilt and the knowledge that the psychological wounds sustained in battle never fully heal.
This was the final film for both lead actors: Jackson died in June 2023, nine months after she finished filming her part, and Caine retired from acting in October 20231.
The programme starts 30 minutes after doors open and the main feature 60 minutes after doors open.
Bernard Jordan escapes from his care home to attend the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings in France.
6:30pm Saturday 27th April 2024