Is The Great Escaper film a true story? Who do Michael Caine and Glenda Jackson play in movie about WW2 vet

The film tells the uplifting story of British Second World War Royal Navy veteran Bernard Jordan
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In June 2014 Bernard Jordan, a Royal Navy veteran who had taken part in the D-Day landings, sneaked out of his Sussex care home where he lived with his wife, to travel back to Normandy.

At the time, his escape caught national attention when police learned that he had left in order to attend a commemoration for the 70th anniversary of D-Day. Now, Jordan’s adventure has been turned into a feature film starring Michael Caine and Glenda Jackson.

The D-Day landings were a pivotal moment in the Second World War - once the allies had a toehold in France, the collapse of the Third Reich was all but assured. 

Jordan played a small role in the British victory in the war, and returned to France 70 years later to remember his fallen soldiers who had never come home to England.

Michael Caine and Glenda Jackson in The Great EscaperMichael Caine and Glenda Jackson in The Great Escaper
Michael Caine and Glenda Jackson in The Great Escaper

Is The Great Escaper a true story?

Yes, the film is based on the uplifting true story of Second World War veteran Bernard Jordan who, in 2014, fled his nursing home in the UK to attend the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, which was held in France.

Who does Michael Caine play in The Great Escaper?

Michael Caine plays Bernard Jordan, a veteran of the Second World War who later became the mayor of Hove.

Jordan was 89 years old and living in a care home with his wife in Hove when he slipped out to travel to France for the D-Day 70th anniversary celebrations.

He smuggled himself across the channel, his war medals hidden under his coat, and sparked a police search operation. He managed to board a ferry to Normandy and was spotted on the ship by a member of ferry staff who looked after him on his crossing.

Jordan made it to France and attended the commemoration service - his location only got back to police when he was recognised by a younger veteran. His care home ‘escape’ and flight to France made the national news and was seen as an example of the strong spirit of his generation.

It has been reported that The Great Escaper will be Caine’s fina film, however he already has another movie, Now You See Me 3, in the works.

Michale Caine pays Bernard Jordan in The Great EscaperMichale Caine pays Bernard Jordan in The Great Escaper
Michale Caine pays Bernard Jordan in The Great Escaper

Who does Glenda Jackson play in The Great Escaper?

Jackson plays Irene Jordan, Bernard’s wife, who lived at The Pines care home in Hove, East Sussex with him. Irene and Bernard had been married for 50 years - she died in January 2015, aged 88, just days after her husband.

Jackson died earlier this year, aged 87, before the release of The Great Escaper. The film will be released posthumously and will mark her final screen appearance. 

What happened to Bernard Jordan?

Following his return from the D-Day commemoration, Jordan became known as ‘The Great Escaper’. He received more than 2,000 cards on his 90th birthday, though he was surprised at the amount of attention his adventure had attracted.

Speaking of his escape, he said: "I'm just one man and I'm nothing special. Anyone would think I'd defeated Hitler on my own.”

Jordan died on 30 December 2015 - his wife passed away eight days later. Tributes were paid to the veteran at the time of his death by staff from his care home and the mayor of Brighton and Hove.

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