Markt Schwaben



'For the train sequences, the German authorities again were extremely cooperative. Not only did they grant us permission, they graciously asked which line we'd like to access to. "In a perfect world, I'd like to use the run from Munich to Stuttgart," I said. (Not So Quiet On The Set, p.188)

"No problem," the official said. "That's one of our busiest lines, but it's yours. By the way, you realize it's a single line, which means everything must be timed down to the second so that two trains travelling in opposite directions don't collide." (p.188)

Therefore, to find the field where James Garner and Donald Pleasence hide must be located along the Munich to Stuttgart railway line. If you Google the towns along this railway line the idea is to match up the town's church with the one seen in the distance behind James Garner's left shoulder. The town sprawls along in a linear style.

"Or the little man with the clipboard and stopwatch would say, "In about two minutes we're going to come upon a siding. We should probably pull on to it." We'd do as he suggested, just as an express train from Munich came charging by in the opposite direction on the same track." (p.189)

But is this all a 'Red herring'?

The 'express train from Munich' could be travelling from any direction out of is suggested below that they actually filmed to the EAST of Munich.



Where was this scene filmed ?


Alongside this railway line are two minor roads or dirt tracks. There appears to be a farm on the right hand side of the track....where was this filmed ?


Was it on the Markt Schwaben to Dorfen railway line.........with Ottenhofen on the left side as seen in the series of maps below?


"What I can confirm is the location of the train in Dürnberg. There is a small winding road alongside the railway tracks which no longer exists, it has been replaced by a new road a little further to the left (or east). So that is absolutely correct." (Nicole, Ottenhofen)



    A suggestion is that this scene was filmed near Dorfen (and Schwillach):
 I was this week in Markt Schwaben in the Heimat museum there was a little exhibition "Markt Schwaben in old photos"
The photos helped not much to find a location or to confirm what we know already but I spoke to Mr Neumeier who is responsible there and when I am told him why I am at the museum he was the opinion the train scenes were filmed in the direction to Dorfen near Schwillach.
Now I find this.  

Dürnberg 3     85669‎ Dürnberg   Deutschland   

I think he is right (where the white bed on red background is on the map) 

All the best   Gruß





Preparing for the exterior and interior train shots....on Tuesday,7th August 1962.



Deisenhofen Railway Station....but which direction did the train take?

The direction in the b&w photo is heading to Sauerlach (which is the next station) but it could also be the end of the train and then it is heading backside to Linienstraße and Geißelgasteig movie area and Grosshesselohe Station.


    Hi Don,
this is really interesting.... Deisenhofen is often used as movie location because it's only some kilometers (10 or 15 km) away from Bavaria Film studios where the Film "Great Escape" in German "Gesprengte Ketten" was shot.

And yes, I think that this one photo on your webpage besides mine is Deisenhofen Station. The b&w photo is shot in southern direction (Sauerlach not in Munich direction).

Yes, I will try to take a photo from the same angle but it's not that easy because some changes around the station have taken place... :-) I will send the photo to your email address but it may take some days, please don't be impatient :-)

Greetings from Munich







The train direction would help explain where James Garner and Donald Pleasence were when they were just about to jump from the moving train into an open field with Hay Bales scattered all around........a helpful tip is to look at the scenery through the carriage windows. This shows clearly that they were travelling relatively slowly through an 'suburban' area.

"We purchased two condemned passenger cars and cut the back half off one and the front half off the other. That provided us with easy access for the train's interior sequences. When you look at those scenes, that's real German countryside outside the train windows - no blue screen plate effect." (p.188)


Does anyone recognise the neatly trimmed hedge?




In this scene, the train is on the Deisenhofen to Munich line....



Does anyone recognise the neatly trimmed hedge with the nice house ?


More specifically they are on the Deisenhofen to Grosshesselohe railway line....

North of the house at (A) on the map, the train is travelling towards Munich.




The trimmed hedge and the nice house is located at (A) on the map:

Linienstraße 105
82041‎ Oberhaching


The house  lies on the line of S27: Munich Central Station - Solln - Deisenhofen  (

This does make sense because this line is crossing Grosshesselohe bridge and Grosshesselohe station (from which you have already some photos) there it connects to "Isartalbahn" (


The house is near the well-known beer garden "Kugleralm."

" Michael Paryla, a German-born actor and refugee from Nazism who had the part of the Gestapo agent in The Great Escape: he arrives by motorcade to ‘Neustadt’ and then boards the train and has some lines opposite Richard Attenborough and David McCallum and Gordon Jackson. Mr Paryla was living in Munich when he was cast as an extra. He is not credited. He died three years later, tragically, in Hamburg."

(Refer to The 2012 'Making of The Great Escape Tour' page for email source).




If you follow the railway north, it runs nearby the prison camp at Geiselgasteig and further to the station where they (Garner etc) get on the train at Grosshesselohe (top left hand corner of the map).

The next station nearby is Deisenhofen a little bit south of the house.
(Source Christian from Munich)



This house seen through the window is in Linienstrasse  near 41. It is seen when Garner whispers to McCallum....  (Source Christian from Munich)




The b/w photo shows the camera on the flat car behind the coach.  They are about to travel towards Grosshesselohe (i.e. Munich direction) where they will have the suburban street Linienstrasse on their left. That camera is and must be behind them in the shot....

The "hedge and the nice house" is located at (A) on the map below..



Many of the scenes involving trains and railway stations were filmed near to the Bavaria Studios. Shooting took place on the S-Bahnline  Grosshesselhohe to Holzkirchen, in Unterhaching and on the rail line close to Markt Schwaben.



When James Garner & Donald Pleasence are preparing to jump off the slow moving train, the suburban area is possibly the town of Oberhaching. Roads can be seen in the background running parallel and at right angles to the railway line (as seen in the above map).





The railway nowadays near the house looking south to Deisenhofen .......(Source Christian from Munich)



The Neustadt station, which featured in the film as the railway station where most of the escaping prisoners made their way to, was only a mile from the Bavaria Studios at Grosshesselohe railway station (now dis-used). South-East of Bavaria Studios is Deisenhofen Railway Station. Along the Deisenhofen to Grosshesselohe railway line is where the interiors of the train were filmed. The filming of Garner & Pleasence preparing to jump off the train was filmed along this railway line....




It is suggested that the scene was filmed on the Markt Schwaben to Dorfen railway line.

    Hello Don,
You might like to consider to take a look at this: there is a video out on You tube showing a train passing the filming location of the hay bale scene.

See here:

At 25:25 into the video the train enters Markt-Schwaben station, and you can see a big antenna mast to the right (and the house)...Thomas.


    It is the same we see in stills with James Garner and Donald Pleasence in the background.
At 28:34 there it is. The season fits, only over 50 years later.
what a splendid website!
Thank You very much.


28.34 on the video...location of the jump where the stunt men jumped off the train back in 1962...they jumped into the field on the RIGHT of this photograph...

Markt Schwaben, with the house and antenna, is BEHIND YOU looking back on the right side...

28.34 on the video...the stunt men jump off the train back in 1962...with the town of Markt Schwaben and the antenna and house in the distance...


    Hello Don,
I live in the north of Germany, in Bremen. As a matter of fact my interest in The Great Escape started with your website.
I like to travel the world using Google Earth, visiting filming locations.
That's how I found you. I have book marked your site and every now and then I am browsing it to see if there is something new.
How on earth did you find all that out?
I guess a movie about the making of The Great Escape would make a good movie itself.
Looking forward to see your re-enactment of the jump on your site.
Don't break your neck!

Credit: Marie Fotini...


Credit: Marie Fotini...


Credit: Marie Fotini...


Credit: Marie Fotini...





These pictures were taken on the S-Bahn-line in the direction looking towards Markt  Schwaben,in the above left image you see a part of "Sägmühle", and an old water tower, nowadays used by the firemen to practise and by the youth as a climbing tower....

In the image below you can see the "2" marker just in front of the camera and it was possibly used as a marker for the stuntmen to know when to jump....




The pin marks the jump and where the Hay Bales were located.


Markt Schwaben to Dorfen railway line theory....

 " I found a place that could be the place of the jump off the train.
I am not able to say if there are buildings in the film or not."

"Sadly there is no "milestone" and also no cables." (You need to refer to the map below and find that bridge with a stream / river flowing under the railway track).

1.The railway is on a dam (ie an embankment).
2. In the meadow is a little stream (in the scene the train disappears you can see an opening in the dam, it is not as I thought first a path, in reality it is the stream ,sadly not seen on my photos).
3. You can see or rather could have seen from the grass the church of Markt Schwaben not so far away.
4. The locations are in a local connection.

(Source Christian from Munich)



Areial view of Sagmuhle....







"Oh boy, that is a hard one.  How high was the dam?  Does not look too high in the photo. Is this the line towards Ottenhofen?  If yes, Markt Schwaben is km 0, with Ottenhofen at 3.3.  So Km 2 would be about 2/3 of the way towards Ottenhofen.  This is the Erding line and direction.  On the other line Markt Schwaben is km 21.1"


From Markt Schwaben to Dorfen runs a single line railway track which is similar to what the stuntmen jumped off into open fields....


Hello Don,
I only wanted to say that the jump scene was taken on the line Markt Schwaben to Dorfen (not Ottenhofen) on that line, closer to Dorfen, the train passed Dürnberg 
The two locations are not far away from another
Possible the film team in Dürnberg was just a few people. 
Christian (December 2012)


    Wow, I did not recall this was on the Ottenhofen (Actually called the Markt Schwaben-Erding) line, thought it was on the line to Duernberg.  If it really is on the Ottenhofen line, I think he has nailed it.  That line's numbers start at 0 in Markt Schwaben.  Ottenhofen is something like km 3.3, so 2 is right in there where you expect it to be. Now take a look at the film just after the boys jump.  See your little "wash" or dry creek if you want to call it that.  It looks to have gravel in it.  Now look and see that near one end there is a tree growing in the thing, sort of strange.  Then off the end of it on the land there is another tree.  Now see in the distance a tower, smokestack or something sticking up on the horizon. 

Now go to Christian's photos especially the third shot, bottom.  See the little creek?  There is the tree growing in it, another just off the end of it and a tower in the distance.  How do you Brits say?  "By Jove, I think he's got it".  I will bet when we look or if Christian looks, this is right at KM2.  This would mean they shot on both lines, completely sensible and of course this gave them the chance to move off one line when traffic was coming, go on to the other or park in Markt Schwaben.

I am a little embarrassed I was a bit dismissive of this location, but I think Christian also expressed doubt and at that time there was no info (from that Museum fellow) that in fact rail filming even took place in the area.  Now you put all the pieces together and have a closer look....

When the train leaves Markt Schwaben, the single track goes off left towards Ottenhofen....

The train also leaves Markt Schwaben, and travels on a single track off right towards is along this line where the train is filmed at 'Durnberg' and later on the 'jump' scene as it approaches Markt Schwaben where HAUS is located....



The single track is long and straight like the track in the film.The suggestion is that the stuntmen jumped off along this single line at the "2" Km marker but where is that marker?

"Haus" a part of Markt Schwaben....




"The top of the counter marks the location quite 2 km from the station Markt Schwaben. 

The milestone is on the right side in direction of travel that means it rises."

(Source Christian from Munich)


Suggest that the line to the south has a bridge and along this line maybe the "2" marker can be found....


    On the Map you can  see the 2 km radius taken from Markt Schwaben station.
The pins mark where I stood when I took the photo and the dam / bridge location.




The opening shot of the train passing over a small bridge has a muddy pathway going underneath it as it is today. There is a farm on the other side as there is in the film scene.

Refer to the map above and you can locate all the features such as bridge, muddy pathway and farmhouse....



The post has the number '2' on it....FORUM



James Garner & Donald Pleasence are just about to jump into the countryside. The number '2' on the post refers to how many miles from a town the marker is situated........and may have been used as a reference point for when the stuntmen were to jump off the train.




Credit: Marie Fotini...


" Then we cut to the shot of the ground, field coming and then bales.  This matches the next shot where the camera is placed right on the track and we see the "2" stone. We now see the telegraph pole style which matches both the train coming shot (sequence much earlier) and the train leaving shot, so this whole collection is most probably taken on the same line if not in roughly the same place.
The 2 km stone is very specific and does not mean the location is 2 km outside of town someplace.  Rather it means that this location is 2 km along a defined rail line or a branch off a line, the DB Rail description is a KBS or Kursbuchstrecke, or route book description roughly translated.  Deisenhofen, unless the line was radically changed since 1962, is not at km 2 of a line or a branch and so to me that is a killer. It also looks like a single track in the film sequence (not 100%, but most likely) and that eliminates the Deisenhofen area.  You can see in the Garner and Pleasence "ready to jump" shot that the camera crew was working hard not to show the viewer a second track, even though there is and was one there.

You also need a long, long expanse of no woods and no habitation I think.  All in all I think we have more work to do to locate.  I also think that we will see the crossing (or modification to an underpass after 50 years), the farm behind the crossing (as seen in that train oncoming shot before the interior sequences), so when we nail this it will all fall into place.  The wild card is a disbanded rail line of course and that is very possible when you see how rural the line looks. Think about it:  No electric, single track (probably) in the middle of nowhere...that is a candidate for disbanding if I ever saw one. And in Bavaria alone, lots of or partial lines have been disbanded."



If you look closely, there appears to be water flowing just beyond the jump scene field.





Some impressions of the railroad from Munich - Markt Schwaben  - Mühldorf.

The raised embankment where the jump took place can be viewed along the  Markt Schwaben and Horlkofen railway line. These can be seen at the beginning of this video.



Credit: Marie Fotini...the railway line heading towards Ottenhofen (towards the left) with the circular tower on the right...


Credit: Marie Fotini...



Look closely at the Hay Bales, they appear to be on 'triangular' wooden sticks !!

These two images were 'cut and pasted' around the Hay Bale image which was filmed separately and are cleverly 'sandwiched' in between the two above images !!





But Christian believes that this photograph may have been taken near HAUS....





Suggested photograph of the location of the Hay Bale field which is located on the map to the right and linked to the two black and white photographs above....



In the film clip below, the open field now has woodland / forest on the left side of the elongated settlement. The church is off to the right....




The last building on the left is Markt Schwaben Philippuskirche (evang.) was inaugurated in May, 1955 and was built by American soldiers and many church members.




Markt Schwaben Philippuskirche (evang.) can be seen on the left and the other church on the right....



So where is the railway line?

 The Hay Bale scene was possibly filmed in a different location to the scene where the stuntmen jumped off the moving train and when James Garner apparently looked back to see the train disappearing into the distance over a bridge.............








(It is taken from Ottenhofen, WaldstraÃYe)


Markt Schwaben Church theory:
If you look at the photograph closely, you can see that the farm land is UNEVEN as you approach the church. So the camera was set up possibly on the right side of the photograph where the funny coloured pole is BECAUSE if you look at Walter Riml's b/w photo above the lay of the land is very, very SIMILAR.
The camera is UP on a higher piece of land and the rest dips away.....same as the b/w photograph.




The two shutters theory, as suggested by Steve, is the result of the original design of the tower "merging together" due to distance from the camera. But if you magnify the tower you will notice that the actual design of the tower no longer is a two shutter image !!

Also if you look at the shapes of the buildings around the church (seen in the photo above) and the film clip at the top of this page then they appear very similar. We need the perfectly fit photograph to overlap the film clip and the modern perspective....





With reference to the large map below: The theory is that the 'jump off the train' took place along the Markt Schwaben to Dorfen railway just north of Sagmuhle and the STREAM or brook is at Sagmuhle (near Markt Schwaben). It is in this area where the stuntmen jump into a field full of Hay Bales. The Hay Bales can be seen to have wooden legs poking out at the sides - see film clips above). The suggestion is that these Hay Bales are then placed in a field west of Ottenhofen at "Grashausen". In the film the church is seen on the right with an elongated settlement and a woodland on the left - see above coloured photo with James Garner and Donald Pleasence for the woodland idea to be at the end of the elongated settlement. John Sturges is seen talking to James Garner and Donald Pleasence with a road nearby - see the black & white photograph  above. It is suggested that this is  the "Grashausen" road (refer to map below)....



Feedback to the theory:

Hi Don,
very interesting stuff on your website!! Love that movie by the way!

I have checked all the fotos and I'm afraid that you got some things wrong. The church of Ottenhofen and Markt Schwaben look  a little bit alike, at least from the distance. In your pictures there a both churches wildly mixed.

I am quite sure that the jump off was on the line Markt Schwaben - Dorfen, right where the county of Ottenhofen begins. Not on the line going to Erding. I know this little river, I walk my dog there every day. They were filming with the camera looking in the direction of Markt Schwaben, probably standing on the bridge. So this farm house is on the right side of today's road from Ottenhofen to Schwaben (Erdinger Strasse).
The hay bales are located right in front of this railroad bridge (foto "small bridge with a muddy pathway), where this little river enters in the Sempt River.

The tower you can see on the left side in some pictures is a climbing site for young people today and a place where Markt Schwaben firefighters have trainings. It is still there. As is the farm house.
The electricity poles must have been replaced when they built the new power station Ottenhofen (Umspannwerk Ottenhofen).

Ottenhofen Church is in the picture where you say:

The two shutters on the side of the church can be clearly seen in the above photograph and in the photograph on the right hand side.
And in the one with the subtitle Ottenhofen Church in bigger red letters. The foto is a recent one since the place in front of the church has just been renewed.

But then, a little bit further down is says "Ottenhofen church (now changed to Markt Schwaben): If you look at the fotograph....", THAT is Markt Schwaben Church, which I know exactly because of the Alps in the background. You can only see the Alps looking south, meaning from Ottenhofen to Markt Schwaben. This fotograph is taken in Waldstraße, where the railway crossing is.

So, opposed to your theory I would say that the jump off is a little bit north of "Sagmühle", near the bridge with the muddy pathway filming in direction Markt Schwaben. Sorry. It really is a hard one.

I do NOT recognize anything near Loher, Stocker or Steiler (not Steller). From that road you could not see the Church so well. There is another road to "Grashausen", that could be in one of the fotos. So again, there must have been more sites that just one.

I hope I could help and did not confuse you.
Nicole  (lives in Ottenhofen)

    Sedgwick steals the bike from a square... 
     Markt Schwaben,  22km east of junction (6) of the Munich Ring Road, has been suggested as the location where Sedgwick steals the bike......but he actually rides out of the hamlet of Speiden (which is in the Pfronten area). You can still eat at the Oberbraeu which you see in the film. The town hall (left of where James Coburn steals the bike with the yellow mailboxes) is apparently gone, but the church is there.


ViaMichelin directions for München Franz-Josef Strauss Flughafen - - Markt Schwaben 85570 : the best online route directions






It shows the old town hall (the new was built in 1971)











Thank you for your e-mail concerning the movie “The Great Escape” and the historic “Oberbräu” in Markt Schwaben as location. By the way: your German is excellent! And therefore I send you a link to a German Wikipedia article about “Gesprengte Ketten”, here’s the link: You might know this link already, but nevertheless:

 This link says, that all the interior shots of the film were made at the Bavaria Studios in Munich, which is correct. The prison camp, which is seen in the film, was built directly in Perlacher Forest, a forest adjacent to the studio. The final part of the movie - the escape through Europe - was shot in a part of Bavaria called “Allgäu”, in Füssen (the capital of Allgäu) and environment, with participation of the indigenous population. And this is definitely not correct or rather incomplete: the shot with James Coburn was done in Markt Schwaben (which is not in the Allgäu, but 22 km east of Munich) opposite the Oberbräu, as you found out. Mr. Coburn comes out of the old Town Hall (which is teared down meanwhile), steals the bicycle (in the background we see the historic Oberbräu) and rides away in direction to Ebersberg (“Ebersberger Straße”). I remember it all very well as I was a boy of 11 years and was of course fascinated, that all of a sudden a Hollywood production was right in the centre of Markt Schwaben, on the market place! Thrilling!

 At any rate – I suppose, that a few shots were taken on other locations than the Allgäu, but I can’t tell you where. I assume after having finished the shooting in Allgäu they found out that they needed some additional material for editing and decided to go somewhere on the countryside close to Bavaria Studios. But I have no idea which other locations they might have used. This is my personal problem as a Bavarian person: there is no logical coherency between the locations in the final cut of the film. But this is not important: it’s a great movie in any case!





Penzing and Miesbach