The Great Escape (1963) Poster

James Donald: Ramsey 'The SBO'



  • Ramsey : Colonel Von Luger, it is the sworn duty of all officers to try to escape. If they cannot escape, then it is their sworn duty to cause the enemy to use an inordinate number of troops to guard them, and their sworn duty to harass the enemy to the best of their ability.

  • Bartlett : Hilts, how do you breathe?

    Hilts : Oh, we got a steel rod with hinges on it. We'll shove it up and make air holes as we go along.

    [to Ramsey] 

    Hilts : G'night, sir.

    [Walks out] 

    MacDonald : Why didn't anyone think of that before? It's so stupid, it's positively brilliant!

    [face falls] 

    MacDonald : Oh, but it'll bring every goon in the camp down on top of us!

    Bartlett : I don't know. Perhaps we're being too clever. If we stop all the breakouts, it will only convince the goons we must be tunneling.

    Ramsey : I hope it works. If it doesn't, those two will be in the cooler for an awfully long time.

    [cut to Hilts and Ives being escorted back to the cooler covered in dirt] 

  • Ramsey : Roger's idea was to get back at the enemy the hardest way he could, mess up the works. From what we've heard here, I think he did exactly that.

    Hendley : Do you think it was worth the price?

    Ramsey : Depends on your point of view, Hendley.

  • Von Luger : In the past four years the Reich has been forced to spend an enormous amount of time, energy, manpower and equipment hunting down escaping prisoner-of-war officers.

    Ramsey : Well, at least it's rather nice to know you're wanted.

  • Ramsey : Up the rebels.

    Goff : Down the British.

  • Ramsey : [after hearing complaints about the plethora of escapes]  Colonel, do you expect officers to forget their duty?

    Von Luger : [reluctantly]  No. It is precisely because we expect the opposite that you are here.

  • Ramsey : Did the Gestapo give you a rough time?

    Bartlett : Not nearly as rough as I now intend to give them.

    Ramsey : Roger, personal revenge must be kept out of what we have to do here. Too many lives are at stake.

    Bartlett : [scoffing]  What my personal feelings are is of no importance. You appointed me Big X. And it's my duty to harass, confound, and confuse the enemy to the best of my ability.

    Ramsey : That's true.

    Bartlett : Well, that's what I intend to do. I'm going to cause such a terrible stink in this... Third Reich of theirs, that thousands of troops that could well be employed at the front will be tied up here looking after us.

    Ramsey : How?

    Bartlett : By putting more men out of this... "perfect" camp of theirs than have ever escaped before. Oh, not blitzing out two or three or a dozen, but two hundred, three hundred. Scatter them all over Germany.

    Ramsey : Do you think that's possible?

    Bartlett : Well, the men are here to do it. The goons have put every escape artist in Germany in this camp. You said so yourself.

    Ramsey : Have you thought of what it might cost?

    Bartlett : I've thought of the humiliation if we just... tamely submit. Knuckle under and crawl. Surely, you don't advocate that, do you, sir?

    Ramsey : I have to point out one thing to you, Roger. No matter how unsatisfactory this camp may be, the High Command have still left us in the hands of the Luftwaffe. Not the Gestapo and the SS.

    Bartlett : Look, sir, you talk about the High Command and the Luftwaffe, and then you talk about the Gestapo and the SS. To me, they're the same! We're fighting the bloody lot! There's only one way to put it, sir: they are the common enemies of everyone who believes in freedom. If the High Command didn't approve of Hitler, then why didn't they throw him out?

  • Ramsey : There's madness in their method.

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