This is a true classic. Starring Steve McQueen, considered one of his most cool appearances, and a real walhalla for the vintage militaria addict. It’s the adaption of the true story of the 1943 “Stalag Luft III” escape during the second World War. British army men were held captive in the camp alongside some Canadians, Polish, Americans and more. The many months of preparation and effort paid off in the end when 76 prisoners flee the camp through the dug tunnels. However most of them were arrested or shot dead during their attempt to cross the borders. Three of them really succeeded and got away: two Norwegians and a Dutch.
McQueen’s outfit here is often discussed and not surprisingly. He wears a leather A-2 Type flight jacket that was worn by American pilots during WWII. Underneath he has a raglan sweater with cut-off sleeves at elbow length. The khaki trousers he wears are a replica, but Steve insisted on having them in a slim cut for a better look, also note the short length on them. The boots are M-43 Type III rough out leather boots, which means the leather was turned inside out with the soft side out. When Steve escaped he steals a German Army motorcycle supplied by BMW in the war, although for the film a Triumph TT Special 650 was used customized and painted to resemble the BMW version. Not very obvious but really nice is McQueen’s 1930′s U.S. Navy peacoat he wears when digging the tunnel. Furthermore the worn-out woolen knits are well represented in the movie. But the aforementioned British militaria is really striking in this picture. We spot two types of the British Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) woolen jackets, the 1937 Pattern Battle Dress jacket and the 1940 (P40) version. The latter one had the zippered front of the 1937 type replaced with buttons, and the pocket buttons were now exposed instead of concealed. Note you can see the conductor leading the choir wearing the corresponding cargo pants with suspender buttons of the 1940 pattern BDU.