Don J Whistance's

The Great Escape Locations Site




The philosophical notion of a "sense of place," unexplained "place experiences" linked psychologically to the footsteps and the spirit of The Great Escape Film, underpins The Great Escape Locations Site which sets out to discover where the scenes were filmed in the Munich, Fussen, Pfronten and Hopfen Am See areas of southern Germany and to eventually locate the stretch of land where the 'jump' took place and where Steve McQueen crashed into The Great Escape iconic 'fence'...



Operating out of the Samuel Goldwyn Studio and underwritten by United Artists, the prime objective of The Mirisch Company was to attract the best directors in town by promising them more control over the tools of production and an opportunity to share financially in the fruits of their labours.


The Great Escape project involved John Sturges' Alpha Corporation, The Mirisch Company and United Artists, with a four million dollar budget, it opened in the United States on the fourth of July, 1963 to great reviews.

Actor Steve McQueen, star of 'The Great Escape', discussing picture with film's producers, the Mirisch Brothers.

Location - Hollywood,CA, USA

Date taken - June 1963


The Great Escape Film was 50 years old on the fourth of July, 2013...

It has been decided to organise another 'tour' for all those fans interested in joining the celebration of the release of this iconic film.

Please contact me if you are interested in joining us during August 2023.

The meeting point will be at the Hotel Guglhupf where hopefully all interested parties will reside...

{A reasonable donation towards the costs of this tour would be required for this tour to take place: see below 'Donate'}






Hopefully, this informative website will provide you with

great enjoyment.

Please donate towards the running costs of this website


then email for the CONTENT pages to be opened up:











Steve McQueen arrives at Munich Airport


The Making of The Great Escape Documentary


Deining - (Steve McQueen's Munich Home)


Bavaria Film Studio




Markt Schwaben


Penzing and Miesbach


Port of Emden






Hopfen Am See - {Steve McQueen's Fussen Home}


The jump and the fence


'Stooling' is the craze 


Existentialism is the word





The HAY BALE here


Escape by sea


Tom Adams *****


Angus Lennie


John Leyton


David McCallum


Lawrence Montaigne


William Russell



Where were the actors and the crew based in Munich during the filming at the Bavaria Studios and the surrounding area?


Where were the actors and crew based in Fussen during the filming of TGE?


The 2012 'Making of The Great Escape' Tour


The 2013 'tour'


The 2014 'tour'


Original TGE  Cinema Programme


Flip scenes


Reference Books



Denise McCluggage


Guy Martin


Steve McQueen's films and their locations:





THE GREAT ESCAPE 'fence' and any related locations








Monika is the gorgeous owner of the high quality hotel and can be contacted on:

She is the one on the left............







“The Great Escape… to Oktoberfest! James Garner and Charles Bronson are among Hollywood

stars of WWII epic pictured in high spirits at Munich beer festival in actor's photo archive that is up for auction

The bike is on display at Hinckley Triumph Factory Experience, Leicestershire - details:

"Great Escape" stuntman, Tim Gibbes, visits Midlands {26/3/2019}

Click on the links below:


Dick Shepherd:



{Outside the Hammersmith Apollo Theatre, London: 24th March 2019}




Steve was trouble if you invited him to breakfast. He didn’t like anything. Like Marlon Brando he could be a pain in the ass on set. Unlike Brando, he wasn’t an actor.

“He was a movie star, a poser who cultivated the image of a macho man. He had a persona he brought to every role and people loved it but you could always see him acting. That’s the kiss of death, as far as I’m concerned.”

He claims McQueen caused no end of problems when filming The Great Escape – even walking out midway after taking a dislike to the way he looked in early shoots.

He flew in his agent for a showdown with director John Sturges but the next day Garner was told McQueen was out – and now he would be the star of the picture

I didn’t see how it could work so I sat down with Steve and asked what the problem was. He said he didn’t like the part because he wasn’t the hero and the stuff they’d had him doing was corny.

“Steve could be a stubborn little cuss but the director added some motorcycle stunts to pacify him and changed his character to a guy who goes out to reconnoitre the countryside then unselfishly allows himself to be recaptured so he can share the information with the others.”

BUT McQueen continued getting into scrapes, even racing his swastika-covered motorcycle all over Munich where they were filming, just to annoy the Germans.

He and Garner remained good pals, however, which was just as well given they were neighbours in the hills above Los Angeles.

“He wasn’t a bad guy, just insecure,” says Garner. “His first wife Neile told me he’d always been envious of tall, dark men and was convinced [wrongly] that we’d once had an affair. But deep down, he thought of me as an older brother and I guess I thought of him as a delinquent younger brother.”

Perhaps Garner indulged him because he too had come from the wrong side of the tracks. He admits many of his emotional problems stemmed from his tough childhood in Depression-era Oklahoma.”



The Triumph bike ridden by Steve McQueen in The Great Escape film has been located and restored by Dick Shepherd and is now on show at the "Triumph Factory Visitor Experience (museum) at Hinkley in the UK"...



September 1963 Magazine - The Great Escape was filmed at the Bavaria Studios, Munich and Steve McQueen practiced on the Backlot at the Bavaria Studios {more images on the 'Bavaria Film Studio' page}

“What is not commonly known is that Jack (my father) spent two weeks in Germany riding around on motorcycles with Steve McQueen.
So they were buddies.”


"Filmed partially down the road from our house on Geiselgasteigstrasse in the Harlaching area of München. We often saw Steve McQueen riding his motorcycle down our street."


The Story behind the website...


Story is now live:

I will also include an article in Australia Road Rider.

Mark Hinchliffe
Twitter: @MarkHinchliffe 
News editor: Australian Road Rider




In retirement, Sturges insisted that there never was much of a script for what would become his greatest triumph.

John Sturges' Audio Track on 'The Great Escape' (1963) Laserdisc, Part 1



Steve McQueen's - The Great Escape Script...

Visual History with Robert Relyea (1930-2013)

Interviewed by: Cleve Landsberg

Assistant director, UPM, producer and studio executive Robert Relyea discusses his work on some of the most significant films he worked on including West Side Story, Bullitt and The Magnificent Seven. Relyea explains the importance of safety on the set, why the second AD needs to know as much as the producer, and what not to say to the head of a studio

Film producer and MGM/UA executive


by Susan King



Robert Relyea arrived in Munich in late April 1962 with the intention of commencing the picture on the 4th June at the Bavaria Studios with the completion date towards the end of August 1962.

Don -- Thank you for your note.  I'm so impressed with the website and your passion for The Great Escape.  Of all the films my father was involved with over his career, The Great Escape is my favourite.  Along with Bullitt, that film has his imprint on it more than any of the other films he was a part of.  I spent a month with my father on location in and around Munich during the filming, I was 8 years old at the time so I don't remember a lot.  I'm sure it would be a fascinating experience to go back for the 50th celebration (my birthday is August 6th), but I don't believe my work schedule will allow it.  I'll be with you in spirit, as I know my father will be as well.
Best Regards,
Craig Relyea



Click on this superb CNQ reminds me of what I experienced when first setting out on finding the locations of The Great Escape....




Hello Don,
I wanted to let you know that my book is coming out in Canada in the fall, it will be called This Great Escape: The Case of Michael Paryla.
You can link to an early chapter of it from my blog at

Take care,


Michael Paryla was an actor like his mother and father. Before his death in Hamburg, in 1967, he had a small part in John Sturge's The Great Escape. Actually, he played a Gestapo agent; and here he is on a train in the movie about to have words with Richard Attenborough and David McCallum. I have spent the last five years finding out about him.

The book will be called This Great Escape - The Case of Michael Paryla


Brief Background:

The Great Escape film locations were recorded using a digital camera; videos were uploaded onto YouTube and two loyal friends drove 2,000 miles in helping to capture this adventure during a  week in the month of August 2010

Saturday, July 31st 2010 Drove to Dover. Caught the 11.15pm boat to Calais.
Sunday, August 1st Arrived at Calais at 2.00am - french time.
Drove 800 miles to Deining (north of Munich).....wrong Deining !!
Sunday, August 1st Booked into the Leonardo Hotel, Munich at 2.00pm......shattered !
Monday, August 2nd Arrived at Bavaria Film Studio at 11.00am for the English tour at 2.00pm.
Bavaria Film Studio - YouTube

Don Whistance, performing a small scene after a tour around Bavaria Studios, Munich.

Drove to Deining (southern Munich) and found the 'beautiful chalet.'
Drove on to Fussen. One double room found at 9.30pm. Slept on the floor.




Tuesday, August 3rd Booked an apartment room for two nights at the Guglhupf Hotel, Fussener Str.
Drove to the Pfronten area. Met the hairdresser Jackie (owner of the Frifeu salon in WeiBbach) who was 14 years old when the filming took place at the bottom of his road.Took time out and had a ride up a mountain in an Alpine lift, Pfronten.
Wednesday, August 4th Owner of the Guglhupf Hotel( ) / ( ) introduced Mac (real name Gunther Hundertmark) a retired DJ to us. Mac showed us The Great Escape locations in Fussen. Met Jackie who confirmed The Great Escape locations in the Pfronten area. Had a beer with him and his wife.
Thursday, August 5th Left Fussen and headed back to Calais travelling through Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxumberg and Belgium. Broke up the journey in Luxemburg with a meal in the heart of the town centre......a pizza at The Pizza Hut !
Arrived at Calais a day early 1.00am and caught the 1.30am boat back to Dover.
Friday, August 6th  2010 Arrived at Dover at 2.30am(British time) and arrived in Weymouth at 7.00am...shattered !


 Returned to The Great Escape locations on Monday, 8th August 2011 using an easyjet flight and returned to Gatwick Airport on Thursday, 11th August 2011 with lots of thoughts and information.

Stayed at the superb Hotel



 Once again returned to The Great Escape locations on Monday, 6th August 2012 using again an easyjet flight and returned to Gatwick Airport on Friday, 10th August 2012 with fond memories....






Personal comments from the The Great Escape Actors.....



Hi Don,

Kevin Hay from BBC News here. We have spoken before about your work on finding the Great Escape filming locations.  I have had some positive noises from my editor about commissioning a feature story about this but I have run into a problem with the timings. Because the anniversary of the film is July 4th we would need to film something ahead of this date. Do you think you would be able to go over to Bavaria with our reporter at some point between now and the beginning of July? If we can agree a date the BBC should be able to pick up flights and hotel bill’s for a short trip. How does that sound?

Kevin Hay, Senior Producer   BBC Network News (5.2.13)



 Hi Don

I am writing to ask your advice on a trip I am planning to visit all the Great Escape Movie locations in Fussen etc. & would be grateful  for any advice you can give me & indeed any tours that you might be able to fix us up with. I am planning this trip with my wife & need to know when the exhibition ends at the Town Hall . I am travelling from the UK & would love to be able to stay at what used to be the Pergola hotel I think now is the Alpina!

I would be most grateful for any advice you can give me with my travel plans.

With Regards

Colin  (13.11.13)


Dear Don,
I just found your website. I think I'm one of the biggest fans of TGE. I would like to see more of all the fantastic information and photos you have as you wrote!!! Where do the stars based during filming? Do you know that???? I would like to know too! What do you know about the filming in Fuessen, in Hopfen and all the other places? I would like to come to your tour! Please answer as soon as possible. Is it possible to give you a "like" to your website? I would like to do that, ´cause your site is so amazing!
Best wishes to you
Kassie (2.12.13)


Dear Mr.Whistance,
my name is Reiner Guggenmos. I'm 43 years old and i live in Görisried. Thats 30 km away from the most locations of the movie. As I was a young boy, my mother told me, she have seen Steve McQueen and other cast members at their work. And I planned to visit the locations one day. In 2012 I started my search. The most locations I have found by myself, but it was harder as I imagined. This time I found your well done site. It helped me to match all the places.
Now I have photos of all locations in ever angles and sights. If you need some pictures please let me know. With pleasure I had been with you on your 2013-Tour,but sadly I have to work. But I try to be on tour with you and the other tge- fans 2014.
I want visit and view the whole content of your site, because its  great fun and inspiration for me to see the updates, pictures an news that come from all over the world.
Mr.Whistance, what have I to do, that I can see the whole content of the site ?
Best regards from Allgäu
                                              Reiner Guggenmos

P.S.: The crossroad is a minor way from outside Pfronten  Weissbach (there is a parking lot and a woddencross) to the roundabout on the left side. If you are interested, I send you some pictures.

Reiner (8.12.13)



Hi Don,

I will schedule a trip on « the great Escape » locations, and you site is the best on I think to do that.
Unfortunately some links are broken and I can’t find the right place and town where I have to go to be exactly on the right place.
Could you help ? (without disturbing you of course)

Many Thanks
Kind Regards

Jean-Michel (Versailles, France) - (24.12.13)



I would love attending the tour in August but there is no possibility of that happening. Nor do I have any pictures of the scene. Sorry.
Denise McCluggage





Hello Don,
There is a very well known Volksfest in Obermenzing (Pasing) called "Pasinger Volksfest"... (since 1905)   

It is in August (like the date on your page) - this year 2014 it is from 30 July until 06 August 2014

Claudia (5.3.14)


Click on the image below for rare archive interview on the set of The Great Escape...

Hopefully, someone can contact and persuade Chad McQueen, Barbara McQueen, Neile McQueen Toffel, David McCallum, Tom Adams, John Leyton, Craig Relyea and anyone related with the film to join the fun...........


Chad McQueen on a Triumph Great Escape replica...


Fussen Newspaper Article about The 2012 'Making of The Great Escape Tour' this  PDF for the original article or here for the English translation

Source: FACEBOOK - John Leyton Authentic 4th June 2014
Last week I was invited to visit various locations used in Germany when making the Great Escape and on Tuesday May 27th 2014 I flew from Stansted to Munich. Driven to a guest house called Alpina in Hopfen-am See. In 1962 this guest house was called the Pergola and was owned by the present owners father. It was where I stayed in September 1962 along with John Sturges, Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, James Coburn, Gordon Jackson, and Charles Bronson for location scenes shot outside the camp. The owner still has a copy of the original guest list. Wednesday 28th May I was driven to the nearby town of Fussen and revisited the various locations used when shooting the Great Escape. These included the café scene with James Coburn, the station platform scene where Richard Attenborough and Gordon Jackson get off the train, the place where Richard Attenborough was arrested, where Steve McQueen filmed the bike scenes and the actual spot where Charles Bronson and I found and got on the rowing boat and the part of the river we rowed down. All very nostalgic. Fussen is a very pretty Bavarian town. I was shown around the beautiful museum as a special guest of the curator. The Museum is in a very old Monastery and had a special section dedicated to the making of the Great Escape where they built a replica tunnel, camp watch tower plus lots of photos. Fussen is very proud of the fact it was used for so many location scenes when we were making the great Escape and refer to it in various tourist brochures as 'Hollywood in Fussen'. Wednesday evening I stayed at the Hotel Christine in Fussen where there are lots of signed photos of me from the film on the wall of the restaurant. earlier that day I also discovered a recent photo of me next to a photo of Steve McQueen in the very smart hairdressing salon. The photo of me is sitting in a chair in the salon having my hair cut. I returned back to Stansted Thursday 29th May 2014.
Yours John Leyton



Hi Don
I'm running some photos of the Fussen locations and Great Escape exhibition by a reader in next issue. If you would like to send me a short press release about your site, I will include it in the article.
Cinema Retro magazine (27.12.13)
Love movies from the 60s and 70s? Then subscribe to the magazine devoted to this brilliant era in cinema history. With contributions from Christopher Lee, James Caan, William Shatner, Michael Winner and a whole host more, check out and subscribe to the best film magazine in the world.



Hi Don

Of course. I will send you several. Cover attached. Can you put on your web site? I may be in Weymouth on April 25th, so maybe I could drop the magazines off and meet you.

Dave (9.4.14)

Click on these pages: Pages 10 and 11 and then click on the image below to read the article:


The "Kult!"-magazine is out, it's published in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, and it has a Füssen article with pictures with  website mentioned:

Kult! PDF

Swiss weekly magazine: "Ostschweiz am Sonntag"


(Angus Lennie, David McCallum and John Leyton watch Steve McQueen as he prepares to Go-Karting with Bud Ekins and James Garner tinkering with the engine...)

I've found this website:
There you can read that the Go-Kart track of Garching  Hochbrück is the only outdoor track in and around Munich since 1960... so it should be this one.

Claudia (5.3.14)

 Hi Don.

Thoroughly enjoyed your pics of this year’s tour, was gutted I couldn’t make it but was due to work commitments, I’m defo going to be up for the next one as hopefully I can plan my year a bit better now

 I’m working for a new company, keep me posted of the next one you are planning ok, hope you are well.

Colin (20.8.14)



Fussen Newspaper Article about the 12th August 2014 meeting about saving the Fussen Railway Station..

(Click on the photograph below to read the article)

 "The Saving Of Fussen Railway Station From Demolition" Campaign Group...


Hi, I am currently on holiday in Wertach, I found your web site interesting about the Great Escape, I have visited Fussen including the railway Stn. Are you able to confirm location of the crossroads or where the jump took place.
Many thanks.
Stephen (7.8.14)


The Great Escape Tour 2015
I am a french great fan of steve mac queen and the great escape , i m interested to join you for the 2015 tour . it is possible ?
how long is the meeting ? I dont speak good english ...sorry so i hope to read an answer 
greetings from france 
Bruno K



Hey Don,

Thank you very much for sending me the notice of Tom's passing.  It goes right along with the recent passing of Angus and Dicki and Jimmy.  There are not too many of us left. Let me take a moment to congratulate you on a very thought provoking web site.  You keep alive the memory of some of the industry's finest performers. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.
May you and your family and friends share in our  best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a prosperous and bright New Year.

From your friends across the  ocean, our best wishes.  Lawrence and Patricia (23.12.2014)



Great Escape Question....

Hi Don,
I'm really enjoying your site, the photos, the stories, your travels.  I wanted to know if you have heard any stories or read anything about the Director, John Sturges giving any cigarette lighters to cast or crew of The Great Escape as gifts?  I believe I have one, that I just got, and was hoping to get some first hand account of it or them being given out.
If you don't know, perhaps you can lead me to someone who might?   It's getting harder to find anyone alive who worked on the film.
Thanks for your help,

Josh please email me about the message below:


Hello Don,
I am a French Zippo lighters collector, living in Versailles near Paris. Me and a German Zippo collector, both owned a Zippo lighter with same engraving on double sides related to "The Great Escape" movie.
Please find in attachment, a PDF file (don't worry it is not a virus) with 4 photos about this lighter.
On one side, it is engraved "The Great Escape - Munich 1962", and other side: "Thank you John Sturgis".
The lighter itself is dated from 1961: 3 dots and 2 dots on bottom. We are desperately trying to find more information about this Zippo lighter. By any chance, do you have some informations about this lighter?
We also would like to get in touch with the person named "Josh" who wrote the following message on your web page "The Great Escape Locations Site". May be Josh has some informations and also owned the same lighter. We would appreciate very much, if you could send us his personal email address.

"Hi Don,
I'm really enjoying your site, the photos, the stories, your travels.  I wanted to know if you have heard any stories or read anything about the Director, John Sturges giving any cigarette lighters to cast or crew of The Great Escape as gifts?  I believe I have one, that I just got, and was hoping to get some first hand account of it or them being given out.
If you don't know, perhaps you can lead me to someone who might?   It's getting harder to find anyone alive who worked on the film.
Thanks for your help,
Best regards

Mathieu de NANTEUIL




Steve McQueen in Fussen.....Behind the scenes

Same hillside.........50 years later !!



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 Interview with Steve McQueen's daughter, Terry McQueen states that The Great Escape film was her father's favourite film:



Hi Don
Love your web page! I really enjoy going through it and finding so much interesting information. It was always one of my favourite movies. I really got into history of the movie after recently buying a long sought remake of Steve's A-2 movie jacket from Eastman Leather.I am from Switzerland currently residing in Singapore and will spend my annual leave in Switzerland this August. Can you please keep me in the loop on the plans on the 2017 Great Escape Tour. I would be interested in joining.
Thanks and regards
Stefan (9.5.17)











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