The Guns of Navarone
1961 | War | 158 minutes | English
During World War II, the Nazi army plans to annihilate 2,000 British soldiers marooned on the island of Kheros in the Aegean Sea. British warships are dispatched to rescue the desperate soldiers. However, there is a narrow inlet that the warships have to pass to reach Kheros and this inlet is guarded by two huge, radar-equipped guns situated atop a sheer cliff. Aerial bombings failed to destroy the well-protected guns. The only solution is to form a team of saboteurs to infiltrate the facility and dynamite the guns before British warships pass through. If the saboteurs fail to knock out the guns, the British warships will surely be destroyed as will the 2,000 British soldiers. The saboteurs are led by Major Roy Franklin. He recruits a team composed of Captain Keith Mallory, an experienced mountain climber, Corporal Miller, an explosives expert, Andrea, a hardened Greek soldier, Spyros, a native of Navarone, and “Butcher” Brown, an expert knife fighter. Disguised as Greek fishermen, the team crosses the Aegean Sea on a decrepit vessel and head for Navarone. They hook up with two local resistance fighters, Maria and Anna. Before reaching Navarone, the team faces some serious hurdles: a Nazi patrol ship that wants to search their fishing boat, a horrendous storm, escaping capture in the village of Mandrakos, dealing with a traitor on the team, scaling the massive cliff to reach the guns, dodging Nazi guards atop the cliff, setting the dynamite on each gun without being detected, and, if all goes well, making a clean getaway. Something like this incredible feat really happened. Producer/writer Carl Foreman stated that The Guns of Navarone film was inspired by the Battle of Leros during the Dodecanese Campaign.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 91%
Golden Globe Awards: Winner, Best Picture
Academy Awards: Nominated: Best Picture; Best Director (J. Lee Thompson); Best Film Editing (Alan Osbiston); Best Adapted Screenplay (Carl Foreman)
The film is listed in the American Film Institute’s100 Most Thrilling Films
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Throughout the film the destruction of the guns is the constant theme. It’s handled well by veteran director J. Lee Thompson, with strong cast support and excellent production values. It makes for a lavish, rich, and often breathtaking film.
With THE GUNS of NAVARONE, Carl Foreman is beginning to blast himself a niche in the hall of fame of adventure-film producers. This big, robust action drama is one of those muscle-loaded pictures in the thundering tradition of Cecil B. DeMille.
With a bunch of weighty stars, terrific special effects, and several socko situations, producer Carl Foreman and director J.Lee Thompson have sired a winner. The cliff-scaling sequence, a scene when the saboteurs are rounded up by the enemy, a wonderfully directed and lensed storm segment and the final boffo climax are just a few of the nail-biting highlights.
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