Plot – A British team is sent to cross occupied Greek territory and destroy the massive German gun emplacement that commands a key sea channel – The Guns of Navarone.
Director – J. Lee Thompson
Released – 1961
Based on the novel by Allistair MacLean proved to be a very great source to fashion a first quality script. The Guns of Navarone opens with a documentary about Navarone filmed in black & white which give the viewer a sense of realism, which today is a trick that many films have tried, but at the time was something a bit more unusual and shows just how much care and attention the filmmakers put into making this film feel authentic.
This care is also shown in the casting choices, which couldn’t have been any more perfect. Peck is as usually a charismatic leading man, contrasting perfectly with the equally excellent Niven. but it’s the supporting cast that really makes the movie, with Anthony Quinn, Anthony Quayle and James Darren each producing memorable characters you genuinely care about.
Another aspect of the film that might seem commonplace now but was innovative at the time is the formulaic nature of the film, with a new issue to overcome every 10 minutes or so, including a surprisingly realistic storm sequence, one of the group breaking their leg or the Nazi’s attacking the group. These events keep the story moving at a good pace and remind the audience just how hard accomplishing a mission of this nature would be. With later films that tried to duplicate this format not quite reaching the level’s reached in this film.
In the end, The Guns of Navarone is one of the best war films ever made, filled with multiple memorable moments and great performances, cumulating in a wonderful action sequence made using surprisingly realistic model shots.