Escape to Athena (1979)

Genres - Action, Adventure, War  |   Sub-Genres - War Adventure, Action Thriller, Adventure Comedy, Escape Film  |   Run Time - 125 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Escape to Athena is the kind of film destined to appeal mostly to war movie enthusiasts and cult movie fans (for its cast). The script is not terribly original in plotting or characterizations, and the lighthearted tone will throw off those who expect their war movies to be serious affairs. However, these points are moot because the film is designed to be old-fashioned, large-scale entertainment. Director George Cosmatos is well aware of this characteristic and puts his energy into packing the film with excitement, laughs, and plenty of visual sweep. Along the way, he delivers many exciting action sequences -- the best might be a battle between Nazis and the local rebel underground for a Greek village. Escape to Athena further benefits from a cast of familiar faces who keep the entertainment level high; Roger Moore has more than a bit of trouble with his Austrian accent, but he and David Niven supply some old-school charm, and Elliott Gould and Stefanie Powers make an engaging comedic team. The film's appeal is further aided by gorgeous widescreen photography by Gil Taylor and a lively, Greek-accented musical score by Lalo Schifrin. All in all, Escape to Athena is the rare war epic that can double as a fun popcorn movie.