An Allied squadron is tasked with infiltrating an impenetrable
German fortress and destroying two enormous guns.
The Guns of Navarone (1961)
Directed by J. Lee Thompson
Written by Carl Foreman
Starring Gregory Peck, David Niven, Anthony Quinn, Stanley Baker, Anthony Quayle, James Darren, Irene Papas, Gia Scala
Based on the novel by Alistair MacLean
Oscar Wins - Best Special Effects
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Sound, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score (Dimitri Tiomkin)
The aftermath of World War II saw the rise of a particular subgenre that's all but died out: The war adventure. Films like The Great Escape, Kelly's Heroes, The Dirty Dozen, and of course The Guns of Navarone. They tend to avoid the messy gray areas of war in favor of a clear-cut good vs. evil adventure in the heat of battle. Is it morally questionable? Absolutely. But I'll be damned if it's not fun to turn your brain off once in a while. Tarantino briefly brought the war adventure back with Inglourious Basterds, but things have gotten awfully serious again. The Guns of Navarone is entirely about sabotaging a Nazi fortress to save British lives. How can you not get behind that?
In the midst of WWII, Captain Mallory (Peck) is secretly assigned to be the chief mountain climber in a crucial Allied mission. On the Greek island of Navarone, the Nazis have built two enormous long-range field guns that are capable of annihilating the British fleet. Mallory, along with the hotheaded Colonel Stavros (Quinn), the lax Corporal Miller (Niven), and the rest of the team must infiltrate the German fortress by climbing an insurmountable giant mountain, then disable the guns before the British fleet arrives to rescue 2000 soldiers. It's a race against time, complete with betrayal, male-bonding, and lots of explosions that help it's nearly three hour runtime just cruise by.
The Guns of Navarone is an excellent war epic with an incredible cast of some of the best character actors the 1960's had to offer. Each character is given ample time for an arc or serious growth, and you grow attached to each member of the team. There's never a lull in the action and it's quite satisfying to watch Nazi island just explode for a while. Definitely a good rainy day watch.