46 user 26 critic

Escape to Athena (1979)

2:53 | Trailer
A World War II adventure, involving a group of Allied P.O.W.s, Nazis, black market priceless art treasures, Greek resistance, a Greek monastery, and a secret German rocket base.


George P. Cosmatos


Edward Anhalt (screenplay), Richard S. Lochte (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
4,980 ( 3,717)





Cast overview, first billed only:
Roger Moore ... Major Otto Hecht
Telly Savalas ... Zeno
David Niven ... Professor Blake
Stefanie Powers ... Dottie Del Mar
Claudia Cardinale ... Eleana
Richard Roundtree ... Nat Judson
Sonny Bono ... Bruno Rotelli
Elliott Gould ... Charlie Dane
Anthony Valentine ... SS Major Volkmann
Siegfried Rauch ... Braun
Michael Sheard ... Sergeant Mann
Richard Wren Richard Wren ... Reistoffer
Philip Locke ... Vogel
Steve Ubels Steve Ubels ... Lantz
Paul Picerni ... Zeno's Man


During World War II, the prisoners of a German camp on a Greek island are trying to escape. They don't want only their freedom, but they also seek an ineffable treasure hidden in a monastery at the top of the island's mountain. Written by Chris Makrozahopoulos <makzax@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


An exciting World War II prison camp drama with an all star cast. See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Sir Roger Moore vocally plays against type, and has a German accent in this movie. See more »


During the Volkmann/Dane motorbike chase, the stunt rider's SS cap is blown off as the Major jumps over a local peasant. It is back on his head in the next shot. See more »


Eleana: [watching as Zeno receives a coded message] What does it say?
Zeno: [reading the message as he receives it] Athena, goddess of war, wisdom and... music.
[to Eleana]
Zeno: Like you, a very confused goddess.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits: Somewhere in the Greek Islands 1944 See more »

Alternate Versions

When originally released theatrically in the UK, the BBFC made cuts to secure a 'A' rating. All cuts were waived in 1986 when the film was granted a 'PG' certificate for home video. See more »


Referenced in Escape to Athena: Cast and Crew Interviews (1978) See more »


Battle Hymn of the Republic
Lyrics by Julia Ward Howe and music by William Steffe
Heard as a theme
See more »

User Reviews

THE GREATEST FILM EVER........starring Sonny Bono
10 March 2004 | by Dude_AbidesSee all my reviews

When people compile a list of the greatest war films ever they often overlook this rip roaring action adventure.......this film has everything you could ever want in a film and more....The story involves a group of prisoners of war (David Niven, Elliot Gould, Claudia Cardinale) held on a Greek island during WWII, who recruit the aid of their sympathetic camp commandant in harassing the SS. Below I have tried to identify the factors that separate this film from run of the mill war films.

1) Tele Savalas as a Greek resistance fighter / Monk. Tele as you would expect brings the same gritty realism as he did to his Portrayal of Blofeld in 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service'.

2) David Niven is superb as a British Antiques expert held prisoner by the German army. Niven expertly manages to convey the characters inner turmoil and disbelief of the situation he has found himself in. Niven also manages to turn in a great comic performance with the help of Elliot Gould's character.

3) The director George P Cosmatos manages to expertly capture the futility and horrific nature of war, in a style of direction that is reminiscent of early William Friedkin work.

4) However, the real star of the show is Roger Moore. Moore plays a German Officer who witnessing the atrocities carried out by his country decides to switch sides and help the allies, namely Tele and his band of fighters. Moore shows once again what a truly gifted actor he is, with the simple twitch of an eyebrow he can convey the purest of emotions, that would send even the most stone hearted person to tears.

So in summary...Escsape to Athena is a life changing movie, it shows that the British film industry could still produce films as good as / or even better than their American rivals, but from a personal view it restored my faith in humanity and what people can achieve when they work together.

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German | Greek | English

Release Date:

6 June 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Escape to Athena See more »

Filming Locations:

Kalithea Spa, Rhodes, Greece See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

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