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Academy Award®-winners Gregory Peck (1962, Best Actor, To Kill A Mockingbird), David Niven (1958, Best Actor, Separate Tables), and Anthony Quinn (1952, Best Supporting Actor, Viva Zapata!; 1956, Lust For Life) star as a team of Allied military specialists recruited for a dangerous but imperative mission: to infiltrate a Nazi-occupied fortress and disable two long-range field guns so that 2,000 trapped British soldiers may be rescued. Faced with an unforgiving sea voyage, hazardous terrain, and the possibility of a traitor among them, the team must overcome the impossible without losing their own lives. Adapted by screenwriter Carl Foreman from Alistair MacLean’s best-selling novel, THE GUNS OF NAVARONE was nominated for seven Oscars®, including Best Picture, and won for Best Special Effects (1961).

  • Director ? : ? J. Lee Thompson
  • Media Format ? : ? Subtitled, PAL
  • Run time ? : ? 2 hours and 30 minutes
  • Release date ? : ? 12 Feb. 2007
  • Actors ? : ? Gregory Peck, David Niven, Anthony Quinn, Stanley Baker, Anthony Quayle

THE GUNS OF NAVARONE [1961] The Greatest Adventure Ever Filmed!

Academy Award® winners Gregory Peck [1962, Best Actor: ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’], David Niven [1958, Best Actor: ‘Separate Tables’], and Anthony Quinn [1952, Best Supporting Actor: ‘Viva Zapata!’ and 1956, ‘Lust For Life’] star as a team of Allied military specialists recruited for a dangerous but imperative mission: to infiltrate a Nazi-occupied fortress and disable two long-range field guns so that 2,000 trapped British soldiers may be rescued. Faced with an unforgiving sea voyage, hazardous terrain, and the possibility of a traitor among them, the team must overcome the impossible without losing their own lives. Adapted by screenwriter Carl Foreman from Alistair MacLean’s best-selling novel “The Guns of Navarone.” James Robertson Justice Prologue Narrator.

FILM FACT: Awards and Nominations: Academy Award®: Won: Best Effects, Special Effects for Bill Warrington and Chris Greenham. Golden Globe® Award: Won: Best Motion Picture for Drama. Won: Best Original Score for Dimitri Tiomkin. Academy Award®: Nominated: Best Picture. Nominated: Best Director for J. Lee Thompson. Nominated: Best Film Editing for Alan Osbiston. Nominated: Best Original Score for Dimitri Tiomkin. Nominated: Best Sound for John Cox. Nominated: Best Writing for Adapted Screenplay for Carl Foreman. Directors Guild of America: Nominated: Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures for J. Lee Thompson. Grammy Award: Nominated: Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture for Dimitri Tiomkin. ‘The Guns of Navarone’ had its Royal World Premiere in aid of the Edwina Mountbatten Trust and in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh on April 27th 1961 at the Odeon Leicester Square in London's West End.

Cast: Gregory Peck, David Niven, Anthony Quinn, Stanley Baker, Anthony Quayle, James Darren, Irene Papas, Gia Scala, James Robertson Justice, Richard Harris, Bryan Forbes, Allan Cuthbertson, Michael Trubshawe, Percy Herbert, George Mikell, Walter Gotell, Tutte Lemkow, Albert Lieven, Norman Wooland, Cleo Scouloudi, Nicholas Papakonstantinou, Christopher Rhodes, Victor Beaumont (uncredited), Victor Buono (uncredited), Jack Cooper (uncredited), Carl Duering (uncredited), Wolf Frees (uncredited), Peter Grant (uncredited), William Hoehne Jr. (uncredited), Rosemary Nicols (uncredited), Robert Rietty (uncredited), Michael Sarne (uncredited) and Bob Simmons (uncredited)

Director: J. Lee Thompson

Producers: Carl Foremanm Cecil F. Ford and Leon Becker

Screenplay: Carl Foreman (screenplay) and Alistair MacLean (novel)

Composer: Dimitri Tiomkin

Cinematographer: Oswald Morris, BSC




Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: "Men-on-a-mission" films are almost always great fun. Watching a disparate group of no-nonsense soldier’s band together for the greater good against a common enemy can be popcorn entertainment at its best. While it may be a pretty tried-and-true formula, it's also one that happens to work more often than not, and sometimes manages to serve as a perfect basis for action-packed cinematic bliss. A classic and highly influential entry into that irresistible genre, 'The Guns of Navarone' sparks with exciting action, memorable performances, and a surprising amount of depth. Far from a brainless exercise in tough guy bravado, the film manages to form a thought provoking and well-rounded examination of wartime ethics and morality. Also, it kicks ass and it's the best of both worlds.

Based on the novel of Alistair MacLean with the same name, the script details a fictional mission set during WWII to blow up two incredibly large, long-range field guns on the Greek Island of Navarone, which doesn't actually exist. In classic genre fashion, the team is made up of a group of specialists, each with their own specific skill, personality quirk, fatal character flaw, and irresistible charm. Headlining the gang are Capt. Keith Mallory [Gregory Peck], a steadfast leader and skilled mountain climber, Corporal Miller [David Niven], an explosions expert, and Col. Andrea Stavros [Anthony Quinn], a Greek solider with a personal vendetta against Capt. Keith Mallory. Together they must embark on the dangerous and potentially suicidal mission, outsmarting and outgunning German soldiers through equally perilous seas and terrain. Filled with exciting set pieces, powerful emotional conflicts, and ambiguous moral dilemmas, the story runs the full gamut of suspense and drama.

With an ensemble piece like this, the success of the film really lives or dies on the strength of its performers and the chemistry between them. Thankfully, the entire actors do a wonderful job, and the dynamics that develop within the group are fun to watch grow and evolve. Gregory Peck is fantastic as the stalwart leader, exuding confidence and compassion all at once. From the moment he appears on screen, he instantly embodies exactly the type of man one would follow into battle. David Niven is also great as the British explosives expert. The conflict that develops between his character and Gregory Peck's Capt. Keith Mallory helps to form the central moral question of the film and serves to elevate the material. As Col. Andrea Stavrou [Anthony Quinn] oozes cool and becomes a genuine on-screen badass. Tension hangs high between the Greek and Mallory, and one gets a sense that their conflict could turn deadly at any moment. The rest of the team is rounded out by several more extremely capable actors, including Anthony Quayle, Stanley Baker, and James Darren. Though their characters are given less focus, particularly James Darren and Stanley Baker, but each member gets their moment to shine and little details are organically revealed throughout the picture, helping to flesh out back-stories and inform present-day decisions. Two female stars also join the team, and Irene Papas and Gia Scala do an admirable job of holding their own against the men, creating strong female characters that are much more than mere love interests.

Director J. Lee Thompson utilises the majestic of CinemaScope presentation to its fullest, injecting the widescreen frame with big budget action and exotic locales. Shot in part on studio sets and real locations, primarily the Greek Island of Rhodes, the film features some strong production value and occasionally lush cinematography. Thompson does a great job of creating tension, and as pointed out in the included commentary with film historian Stephen J. Rubin, the climax plays out more like a Hitchcock thriller than a generic war picture. Most notable of all, however, is a brilliant dialogue free section where the team gets shipwrecked by a massive storm and then has to scale a mountain in the unrelenting downpour and dead of night. With only score and effects, J. Lee Thompson creates a truly visceral experience that manages to remain gripping through visuals alone. Though the director expresses regrets about the sequence's length and the film's pacing as a whole in his own commentary, I actually found the slower, methodical rhythm to be a refreshing contrast to the more quick cutting style of today. With that said, the movie definitely is on the slow side, and at two and a half hours in length, it might test some viewers' patience.

In between all of the blazing guns and explosions, J. Lee Thompson and writer/producer Carl Foreman layer the film with several interesting ethical quandaries that all work together to form a pretty strong anti-war message. Questions about manipulating and risking the lives of fellow soldiers for the greater good, and the potential penalties for betrayal, are all brought up and examined with intelligence, and even after the credits roll, there are no easy answers presented. While some of the philosophical musings might get lost in all the heroics and excitement, to the filmmakers' credit, the script really does pack in some thought provoking material that actually makes the film's quieter moments among its most powerful.

'The Guns of Navarone' is a true classic of "men-on-a-mission" film that offers much more than simple thrills and action. Beneath the exciting and tense battles are some heavy questions about brotherhood, loyalty, and justice in the midst of war. Though the pacing is certainly on the slow side, some characters are a bit marginalised, and there are clichéd elements to the storytelling, the stellar cast, strong script, and confident direction overcome any small flaws. This is an entertaining and intelligent war epic, that's influence can be seen in countless similar efforts since.
 

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