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To save British ships under siege in the Aegean Sea during World War II, a group of six specialists penetrate enemy lines to take out a fortress whose gigantic guns stand guard over the only escape route. When the team's commander is injured while landing during a storm at sea, mountain-climbing expert Capt. Mallory takes over, forcing him to work closely with a resistance fighter who once lost his family as a result of Mallory's actions. The team must overcome personal differences, harsh weather and a traitor in their midst, to take out the mighty guns of Navarone and help turn the course of the war in the Allies' favor.
Director: J. Lee Thompson
Producer: Carl Foreman
Screenplay: Carl Foreman
Based on the novel The Guns of Navarone by Alistair MacLean
Cinematography: Oswald Morris
Editing: Alan Osbiston
Art Direction: Geoffrey Drake
Music: Dimitri Tiomkin
Cast: Gregory Peck (Capt. Keith Mallory), David Niven (Cpl. Miller), Anthony Quinn (Col. Andrea Stavros), Stanley Baker (Pvt. "Butcher" Brown), Anthony Quayle (Maj. Roy Franklin), Irene Papas (Maria Pappadimos), Gia Scala (Anna), James Darren (Pvt. Spyros Pappadimos), James Robertson Justice (Commodore Jensen), Richard Harris (Squadron Leader Howard Barnsby), Bryan Forbes (Cohn)
Why THE GUNS OF NAVARONE is Essential
The Guns of Navarone was among the first of the "global productions" that started in the '60s and continue to this day. With a cast assembled from a variety of nations (the U.S., England, Mexico, Greece, Ireland and Wales), the film was designed to have the widest possible appeal at the international box office.
The picture was the first of Alistair MacLean's best-selling adventure novels brought to the screen. Its success inspired such later hits as Ice Station Zebra and Where Eagles Dare (both 1968). Starting in 1971, many of his adaptations actually featured his name in their titles, including The Guns of Navarone's 1978 sequel, billed in some areas as Alistair MacLean's Force 10 from Navarone.
The Guns of Navarone built on the variation in the action genre pioneered by The Magnificent Seven (1960), focusing on a team of specialists each of whom brings his or her personal skill to a dangerous mission. By transposing the plot to the military, it paved the way for such later hits as The Dirty Dozen (1967), Tobruk (1967) and The Green Berets (1968).
The Guns of Navarone was Gregory Peck's most successful film at the box office until The Omen in 1976.
Peck and director J. Lee Thompson would re-team for three other films, including the psychological thriller Cape Fear (1962).
by Frank Miller
The Guns of Navarone (1961)
In 1964, the Skatalites and Al Caiola recorded an instrumental version of The Guns of Navarone's main title and released it as "The Guns of Navarone." The melody has been picked up by groups as diverse as the reggae band The Upsetters and the Finnish ska group Jazzbaners.
In 1967 producer Carl Foreman announced plans to film Alistair MacLean's sequel, Force 10 from Navarone, but it was not made until 1978. By that point, Foreman had stepped down as producer, though he was still credited for creating the initial story adaptation. The film focused on a mission sending the survivors from the first film to destroy an enemy bridge in Yugoslavia. Robert Shaw took over Gregory Peck's role, with Edward Fox standing in for David Niven and Harrison Ford for Richard Harris. The film was not as successful as its predecessor.
In My Science Project (1985), a character says "I feel like Gregory Peck in The Guns of Navarone."
The 1987 video game Metal Gear features a mission inspired by The Guns of Navarone.
In 1993, a restored print of The Guns of Navarone premiered as the opening night attraction at the UCLA Festival of Preservation. Under the guidance of UCLA's Bob Gitts, technicians spent two years restoring the film's print and soundtrack to their original condition.
In 1997, BBC Radio 2 presented a two-hour adaptation of MacLean's novel starring Toby Stephens as Mallory and David Rintoul as Andrea.
One of the missions in the 2005 video game Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories is called "The Guns of Leone."
by Frank Miller
The Guns of Navarone (1961)
Anthony Quayle was an apt choice for the cast of The Guns of Navarone as he had helped organize guerilla fighters in Albania during World War II.
Because of his ability to get the international cast, which featured several alpha males, to work together peaceably, director J. Lee Thompson won the nickname "Mighty Mouse" on the set.
Anthony Quinn brought several portable chess sets to the film's location, and chess not only became the main off-screen pastime, but served to defuse any rivalries among the film's stars.
Peck saw The Guns of Navarone as a mixture of a love story and a Keystone Kops caper. He informed producer-writer Carl Foreman of his interpretation of the film's subtext: "David Niven really loves Tony Quayle and Gregory Peck loves Anthony Quinn. Tony Quayle breaks his leg and is sent off to the hospital. Tony Quinn falls in love with Irene Pappas, and David Niven and Peck catch each other on the rebound and live happily ever after." Foreman responded, "Greg, you clever rascal, you've caught me out."
Peck thought the film bordered on parody by suggesting that five men defeated the entire German Army. In his opinion, the only key to making it work was for the actors to play their roles with complete conviction.
During studio work at Shepperton Studios in England, Peck and his wife's rented house was robbed one night while they were at the theatre. Police suspected an inside job and discovered the star's driver, Mike, had a criminal record. Despite their suspicions, Peck refused to fire Mike and, when filming was completed, gifted him and some others who had worked closely with him with gold watches from Cartier's. Shortly after returning to Hollywood, Peck received a call from the famed jewelers asking if he had authorized Mike to pick up another dozen watches as gifts for various crewmembers. Mike then rented a hotel suite in Peck's name, claiming the actor needed it for post-production work but actually staying in it himself. At that point, the police stepped in and put Mike back in jail.
Peck was so impressed with Thompson's work that before filming was even completed he offered him the chance to direct his next film, Cape Fear (1962), which he was producing through his own company.
Quinn insisted on wearing a red undershirt beneath his costume even though it was rarely seen in costume tests. When the costume got wet, however, as happened often, the undershirt stood out strongly. Peck would later say Quinn did it to steal focus.
Quinn enjoyed the location work so much he bought property on the island of Rhodes. In recognition, the government renamed an inlet "Anthony Quinn Bay."
Niven's character is a member of the Light Infantry, the same regiment in which the actor had served in World War II.
Because of the stars' advanced ages, the British press dubbed The Guns of Navarone "Elderly Gang Goes Off to War."
Watch closely during the early scene at the airfield, and you'll see a 1960s pick-up truck to the right, even though the film is set in 1943.
The German soldiers use metal detectors to search for bombs in the gun positions, even when searching around metal railroad tracks.
The film's opening incorrectly attributes the sinking of the HMS Barham to the eponymous guns, but the Barham was sunk by a u-boat (not to mention the fact that the guns are totally fictional creations).
Future Oscar®-winner John Schlesinger, then a director of television documentaries, was hired by Foreman to shoot a promotional film on the making of The Guns of Navarone. After months of troubled location shooting, including run-ins with the film's first director, Alexander Mackendrick, Schlesinger had a large amount of what he considered useless film. Eventually, Foreman had it cut into short promotion films which were used to sell the picture, and the U.S. Coast Guard used footage of Peck and his wife touring one of their ships for a 12-minute promotional short shown on U.S. television.
With a $13 million box-office take domestically, on a then-large investment of $6 million, The Guns of Navarone was the top-grossing film of 1961.
by Frank Miller
Memorable Quotes From THE GUNS OF NAVARONE
"Greece and the islands of the Aegean Sea have given birth to many myths and legends of war and adventure. And these once-proud stones, these ruined and shattered temples bear witness to the civilization that flourished and then died here and to the demigods and heroes who inspired those legends on this sea and these islands. But, though the stage is the same, ours is a legend of our own times, and its heroes are not demigods, but ordinary people. In 1943, so the story goes, 2,000 British soldiers lay marooned on the tiny island of Kheros, exhausted and helpless. They had exactly one week to live, for in Berlin the Axis high command had determined on a show of strength in the Aegean Sea to bully neutral Turkey into coming into the war on their side. The scene of that demonstration was to be Kheros, itself of no military value, but only a few miles off the coast of Turkey. The cream of the German war machine, rested and ready, was to spearhead the attack, and the men on Kheros were doomed unless they could be evacuated before the blitz. But the only passage to and from Kheros was guarded and blocked by two great, newly designed, radar-controlled guns on the nearby island of Navarone. Guns too powerful and accurate for any allied ship then in the Aegean to challenge. Allied intelligence learned of the projected blitz only one week before the appointed date. What took place in the next six days became the legend of Navarone." -- Prologue, spoken by James Robertson Justice.
"...we'd love to go back! Wouldn't we boys? Just as soon as we can! BUT -- we've got one condition. We want the joker who thought this one up to come with us. And when we get there, we're gonna shove him out at ten thousand feet -- without a parachute." -- Richard Harris, as Squadron Leader Howard Barnsby, on the first attempt to take out the German fort on Navarone.
"First, you've got that bloody old fortress on top of that bloody cliff. Then you've got the bloody cliff overhang. You can't even see the bloody cave, let alone the bloody guns. And anyway, we haven't got a bloody bomb big enough to smash that bloody rock. And that's the bloody truth, sir." -- Harris, as Squadron Leader Howard Barnsby, explaining the mission.
"Captain, I'm concerned about this vessel. It's taking on water."
"Why does that concern you?"
"I can't swim." -- David Niven, as Cpl. Miller, and Gregory Peck, as Capt. Keith Mallory.
"Well, you speak German like a German, Greek like a Greek and before the war you were the greatest mountain climber in the world." -- Peck, as Capt. Keith Mallory, questioning why Anthony Quayle, as the injured Maj. Roy Franklin, has chosen him to take charge of the mission.
"There is of course a third choice. One bullet now. Better for him, better for us. You take that man along, you endanger us all."
"Why don't we just drop him off the cliff and save a bullet?"
"And why don't you shut up? Yes, there's a third choice. We'll make it if necessary, when it's necessary, and not before." -- Anthony Quinn as Col. Andrea Stavros, David Niven, as Cpl. Miller and Peck as Mallory, debating what to do with Quayle, as Maj. Roy Franklin.
"The only way to win a war is to be as nasty as the enemy." Peck as Mallory.
"There's always a way to blow up explosives. The trick is not to be around when they go off." -- Niven, as Corporal Miller.
"You may find me facetious from time to time, but if I didn't make some rather bad jokes I'd go out of my mind." -- Niven, as Miller.
"If we're going to get this job done she has got to be killed! And we all know how keen you are about getting the job done! Now I can't speak for the others but I've never killed a woman, traitor or not, and I'm finicky! So why don't you do it? Let us off for once! Go on, be a pal, be a father to your men! Climb down off that cross of yours, close your eyes, think of England, and pull the trigger! What do you say, sir?" -- Niven, to Peck, on the need to kill Nazi informant Gia Scala, as Anna.
"You think I wanted this, any of this, you're out of your mind, I was trapped like you, just like anyone who put on the uniform!" -- Peck.
"To tell you the truth, I didn't think we could do it."
"To tell you the truth, neither did I." -- Niven and Peck, delivering the film's last lines.
"Six men come to save two thousand men
Two thousand men, the brave and the bold
For whom the bells have tolled.
Six men come to scale the hills above
Here where the gods were,
Think what the odds were - six men." -- Mitch Miller's Chorus, singing the title song over the final credits.
Michael Freedland, Gregory Peck
The Guns of Navarone (1961)
Scottish naval veteran Alistair MacLean drew on his knowledge of maritime warfare to write a series of short stories and novels that launched his career. For his second novel, The Guns of Navarone (1957), he drew on memories of the Aegean campaign in World War II to create a fact-based story of an attempt to blow-up a German fortress on the fictional island of Navarone.
After producing films with Stanley Kramer and writing the classic Western High Noon (1952), Carl Foreman fell victim to the blacklist for refusing to name names before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Unable to work in the U.S., he relocated to England, where he worked using pseudonyms and covers (his Oscar®-winning script for 1957's The Bridge on the River Kwai, co-written by fellow blacklistee Michael Wilson, was credited to the novel's author, Pierre Boulle).
In 1958, Foreman set up his own production company, Open Road Films, and started making films under his own name. In search of a vehicle that would reestablish his career, he bought the rights to Alistair MacLean's novel in 1958. From the start he planned to use international stars as the novel's six main characters.
Among the actors Foreman considered for the film were Cary Grant, Marlon Brando, William Holden, Gary Cooper, Rock Hudson, Alec Guinness, James Mason, Dean Martin, Trevor Howard, Jack Hawkins and Hugh O'Brian.
Foreman decided that Cary Grant, who was 50 at the time, was too old to play Capt. Mallory. Gregory Peck was only 44.
William Holden, who had worked with Foreman on The Key (1958), demanded $750,000 and ten percent of the gross to play Mallory. The producer turned him down, then wound up paying Peck the same amount.
After settling on David Niven for the role of the munitions expert, Foreman had to replace him with Kenneth More because of delays on Please Don't Eat the Daisies (1959). When More was held up on another film, Niven won his role back.
Although at the time Stanley Baker was one of England's top film actors, he accepted the relatively small role of Private "Butcher" Brown because he was impressed with the anti-war message Foreman had worked into the script.
James Darren's manager campaigned for a role for him in The Guns of Navarone hoping it would help him graduate from teen idol roles like the one he played in Gidget (1959).
To increase the film's box office appeal, Foreman wrote two female resistance fighters into the script.
To score the film, Foreman picked Dimitri Tiomkin, the Russian-born composer who had won an Oscar® for the producer-writer's earlier High Noon. The producer paid him $50,000, the highest amount ever paid for a film composer to that time.
Foreman hired Alexander Mackendrick to direct. The American-born director had made his mark directing such classic British comedies as The Man in the White Suit (1951) and The Ladykillers (1955), both starring Alec Guinness. He and Foreman had an argument a week before filming started, leading to his firing before any film had been exposed.
With Peck's approval, Foreman finally hired up-and-coming British director J. Lee Thompson. Among his qualifications was the fact that Thompson had served in World War II with the RAF. He arrived on location three days before shooting was to begin.
by Frank Miller
The Guns of Navarone (1961)
The Guns of Navarone featured location shooting on the island of Rhodes and studio work at Shepperton Studios in England.
The film's initial $2 million budget rose quickly thanks to the rigors of location shooting, including filming in areas that were only accessible by donkey and the need to hire 1,000 Greek soldiers to play the German army.
For the scenes set on the Aegean, the company rented a 55-foot boat, the Maria, from local fishermen.
For shots of the British Navy sailing the Aegean, the production rented battleships from the Greek Navy, even though all of their ships at the time were surplus U.S. ships.
Throughout shooting, Peck suggested re-writes to Foreman that would deepen Peck's character. Most of his ideas made it into The Guns of Navarone.
During shooting, Peck and David Niven became close friends, bonding initially over Peck's ability to consume vast quantities of brandy, which the actors used to stay warm while filming in a cold studio tank, without muffing a line. Their families visited each other frequently in later years, and Peck would deliver the eulogy at Niven's funeral.
The last sequence shot of The Guns of Navarone was the actual setting of the bombs by Gregory Peck and David Niven. With three days left to shoot, Niven was felled by an infection from a split lip sustained shooting in the studio tank. As doctors tried to identify the infection so they could treat it effectively, the production ground to a halt for a month. Finally, Niven defied his doctors' orders and returned to the set to finish the film before he had fully recovered. The relapse that resulted put him in the hospital for seven weeks.
To create a title song for the film, Paul Francis Webster created lyrics for Dimitri Tiomkin's title music. The song, which sums up the film's action, is performed over the final credits by Mitch Miller's Chorus.
The Guns of Navarone opened June 12, 1961 in two New York theatres, the Criterion and the Murray Hill, and quickly became a box-office hit.
For British prints, Richard Harris' use of the word "bloody" was replaced with "ruddy."
Columbia Pictures sold The Guns of Navarone with the tag line "An impregnable fortress...An invincible army...and the unstoppable commando team."
by Frank Miller
The Guns of Navarone (1961)
Shortly after completing On the Beach (1959) for director Stanley Kramer, Gregory Peck joined forces with Kramer's former partner, Carl Foreman, for a rousing adventure tale based on Alistair MacLean's best-selling novel, The Guns of Navarone (1961). The story - a sabotage team of six are sent to the Aegean island of Navarone to destroy a Nazi military installation - was transformed into an unprecedented $6 million dollar production and filmed on location on the Island of Rhodes and at the Shepperton Studios in London. It ranked at number three for the year at the box office and would be Gregory Peck's most financially rewarding film (He received a percentage of the gross) until The Omen in 1976. More importantly, it garnered seven Oscar nominations including Best Picture and would effectively revive the career of screenwriter Carl Foreman who was also serving as executive producer on The Guns of Navarone.
Foreman was blacklisted from Hollywood after testifying before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1951 and had been living in self-imposed exile in England for years, working on scripts anonymously. By 1958, however, he resurfaced publicly as writer and executive producer on The Key. The Guns of Navarone marked his first foray into a new genre - the international blockbuster - and started a trend that would endure for years (Subsequent examples include The Longest Day (1962), The Secret Invasion (1964), and Tobruk,1967). The key to the success of The Guns of Navarone was the casting and Foreman was a master at it, assembling the ultimate movie commando team after some false starts. The first A-list teamed up Hugh O'Brian, Trevor Howard, Alec Guinness, Marlon Brando, and Cary Grant. A second list of possibilities included William Holden, Jack Hawkins, and Gary Cooper. The final lineup, however, couldn't be bettered and showcased Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn, David Niven, Anthony Quayle, Stanley Baker, and James Darren.
As expected, there were problems to be overcome during production. Peck felt that the story was basically preposterous and required a major suspension of disbelief on the part of the audience. In Gregory Peck by Freedland, the actor said "Those commandos were performing miracles. Five or six commandos outwitting a whole German regiment, getting right into the middle of them, stealing their uniforms and masquerading as Nazis. Well, to do that, you have to do with the Nazis what Mack Sennett did with the Keystone Cops. There were 550 chances for them to kill us before we even set foot on the island, but we had to do it with total conviction, even though we were aware that it was flirting with parody."
Alexander MacKendrick, the first director on The Guns of Navarone, was fired and so was a second one before Foreman settled on J. Lee Thompson, a former pilot in the Royal Air Force who was quickly establishing himself as a top action director (Flame Over India,1959). Thompson's directing style was completely unorthodox. According to Anthony Quinn in his autobiography, One Man Tango, Thompson was "one of the few men I have known who was not afraid of change. He never did the same thing twice...He was a tiny man who carried a large sketchpad, and refused to read a script. I had never heard of anything like it. His direction consisted of one arbitrary decision after another: Gregory Peck would smoke a pipe; I would grab a knife and look menacing; David Niven would tinker with the dynamite....Thompson had a tossed-off piece of business for each of us. He never read a scene until he had to shoot it, and approached each shot on a whim. And yet the cumulative effect was astonishing. Lee Thompson made a marvelous picture, but how?"
It's true the odds were against him. There was rivalry between some of the actors. Anthony Quayle thought Anthony Quinn was difficult to work with and Niven was afraid he would be upstaged by other cast members, particularly Gregory Peck. But Thompson's unflappable temperament unified the ensemble cast and smoothed over other dilemmas like the hiring of a thousand Greek soldiers to play German troops or filming in a location that was only accessible by donkeys. Toward the end of production, Niven was almost drowned in a huge water tank while Thompson simulated a storm at sea. To add insult to injury, the actor also cut his lip on the water tank and developed septicemia which forced him into a month-long hospital stay.
Miraculously, The Guns of Navarone was completed without a fatality and at the 1961 Oscar ceremony the film scored a well deserved Oscar for its special effects which are particularly impressive in the final scenes when the big guns are destroyed. The film would belatedly inspire a sequel, Force 10 From Navarone (1978), with Robert Shaw and Harrison Ford, but it couldn't compare to the original in terms of sheer excitement.
Director: J. Lee Thompson
Producer: Cecil F. Ford
Producer/Screenwriter: Carl Foreman
Cinematographer: Oswald Morris
Composer: Dimitri Tiomkin
Editor: Alan Osbiston
Production Designer: Geoffrey Drake
Songwriter: Alfred Perry, Paul Francis Webster
Costume Designer: Monty Berman, Olga Lehmann
Cast: Gregory Peck (Capt. Keith Mallory), David Niven (Corporal Miller), Anthony Quinn (Col. Andrea Stavrov), Stanley Baker (CPO Butcher Brown), Anthony Quayle (Maj. Roy Franklin), Richard Harris (Squadron Leader Barnsby), Irene Papas (Maria Pappadimos), James Darrin (Private Spyros Pappadimos), Gia Scala (Anna), James Robertson Justice (Commodore James Jensen)
C-157m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning.
by Jeff Stafford
The Guns of Navarone (1961)
AWARDS & HONORS
In its annual poll of critics and other industry reporters, Film Daily named The Guns of Navarone the best picture of the year.
Motion Picture Exhibitor Magazine gave the film its Golden Laurel for Top Drama and voted Gregory Peck third place for Top Male Dramatic Performance.
The Hollywood Foreign Press voted The Guns of Navarone Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture - Drama and Best Score (Dimitri Tiomkin).
The Guns of Navarone was nominated for a British Academy of Film and Television Association (BAFTA) Award for Best British Screenplay.
J. Lee Thompson was nominated for the Directors Guild Award.
The Guns of Navarone received seven Oscar® nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Score and Best Sound. It won for Best Visual Effects.
Dimitri Tiomkin's soundtrack album was nominated for a Grammy.
The Critics' Corner: THE GUNS OF NAVARONE (1961)
"Guns is the sort of spectacular drama that can ignore any TV competition and, even with its flaws, should have patrons firmly riveted throughout its lengthy narrative. With a bunch of weighty stars, terrific special effects, several socko situations plus good camerawork and other technical okays, [producer Carl] Foreman and director J. Lee Thompson have sired a winner."
- Rich, Variety
"This big, robust action drama...is one of those muscle-loaded pictures in the thundering tradition of [Cecil B.] DeMille, which means more emphasis is placed on melodrama than on character or credibility....However, for anyone given to letting himself be entertained by scenes of explosive action and individual heroic displays, there should be entertainment in this picture, for there is plenty of that."
- Bosley Crowther, The New York Times
"Peck may seem at times a trifle wooden and his German accent too obviously American...but his not too introspective, somewhat baffled manner is manly and fitted to the role he plays."
- Paul V. Peckley, The New York Herald Tribune
"...the most enjoyable consignment of baloney in months..." -- Time Magazine.
"...one of those great big bow-wow, or maybe I should say bang-bang, movies that are no less thrilling because they are so preposterous....Let me confess that I was held more or less spellbound all the way through this many-colored rubbish...."
- The New Yorker
"The Guns of Navarone doesn't hesitate to proclaim its fake mythic status, beginning with James Robertson Justice's plumy narration...The direction of a complicated film is certainly efficient, and the grand adventure, however improbable, continues to hold up. Yet possibly because the producer was disinclined to waste expensive location footage, the action slows at times to a crawl, like an unedited documentary. Many scenes have no tempo at all. Foreman, who wrote the script, added many thumb-suckers about war, but in the nuttiest scene, he throws the bathwater out with the baby, as Gregory Peck, in perhaps the worst line-reading of his nobly uneven career, lectures David Niven on his responsibility to the team. Niven's response is priceless: You can't tell if his character is chagrined or if Niven himself is wondering what the heck got into Greg. Either way, this is the kind of antiwar film that could double as a recruiting tool. Navarone is a librative theme park, each episode another ride."
- Gary Giddens, New York Sun
"Ambitiously produced Boy's Own Paper heroics, with lots of noise and self-sacrifice; intermittently exciting but bogged down by philosophical chat."
- Halliwell's Film & Video Guide
"Behind the derring-do and the often clunky mechanics of the plot lies solid craftsmanship. Journeyman director J. Lee Thompson, who has made some genuinely atrocious films, handles the story with a finer touch than he normally displays...Credit for the film's perennial popularity should be shared by production designer Geoffrey Drake, who gives the production a realistic, lived-in look that's associated more with "serious" black-and-white World War II films than with escapism."
- Mike Mayo, Videohound's War Movies
"Producer Carl Foreman specialised in downbeat movies questioning the nature of wartime heroism. But the on-going debates about the morality of warfare that are scattered through this Alistair MacLean adaptation only serve to drag out the action climaxes, in which our WWII heroes take out two big gun-posts on a Turkish cliff. Lots of studio rock-climbing, and everybody gets very wet."
- Tony Rayns, TimeOut Movie Guide
"The way producer-writer Carl Foreman (High Noon, 1952) fleshes out the characters from Alistair MacLean's 1957 page-turner, the movie is about weighing ends and means, testing personal and national loyalties, and measuring one's capacity for sacrifice. That's why, when director J. Lee Thompson detonates the action set pieces, they're not just thrilling -- they're cathartic."
- Michael Sragow, Salon
"Gregory Peck, as Mallory, gives a wonderfully unperturbed performance, outdone only by the versatile coldness and comedy of Anthony Quinn. David Niven is the subservient but stylish chemist Miller, rounding out a film that ranks among the best war movies-for mayhem, fighting and a simple, sanctimonious story about heroism when it's war at all costs."
- Arthur Ryel-Lindsay, Slant Magazine
"The Guns of Navarone, a World War II military exercise of the those-poor-devils-haven't-got-a-chance school, is the most enjoyable consignment of baloney in months."
- Time magazine
Compiled by Frank Miller