The Guns of Navarone

1961 film directed by J. Lee Thompson

The Guns of Navarone is a 1961 British-American epic adventure war film about a British team that is sent to cross occupied Greek territory and destroy the massive German gun emplacement that commands a key sea channel. The film was followed by a 1978 sequel, Force 10 from Navarone.

Directed by J. Lee Thompson. Written by Carl Foreman, based on the 1957 novel by Alistair MacLean.
An impregnable fortress... An invincible army... and the unstoppable commando team.taglines

Captain Keith Mallory edit

  • You think you've been getting away with it all this time, standing by. Well, son... your bystanding days are over! You're in it now, up to your neck! They told me that you're a genius with explosives. Start proving it! [gesturing with his pistol] You got me in the mood to use this thing, and by God, if you don't think of something, I'll use it on you! I mean it.

Corporal Miller edit

  • [as the team prepares to leave, Miller comes stomping in] Everybody stay exactly where you are! The party's over. Somebody stepped on the cake! [opens his case] Exhibit A: a clockwork fuse. Elementary and archaic, but they work. Only this one doesn't work, you know why? The clock's okay, but the contact arm's been broken off. This clock could tick away until Christmas, and it wouldn't set off a firecracker! [throws it in a corner] Exhibit B: Exhibit B is missing! All my slow-burning fuses are gone, disappeared, vanished! Exhibit C: my time pencils. [holds one up] Seventy-five grains of fulminate of mercury in every one of them, enough to blow off my hand. And very unstable, very delicate. [He smacks the one in his hand against the bundle of the rest, then violently crumples the whole mess together, and throws them in a corner] Which means there is a traitor in this room.

Maria Pappadimos edit

  • She is my friend, Anna. She is one of us. It's bad that this happened to her. Before the Germans came, she was a school teacher in Mandrakos. Last year, she was caught. They tortured her to make her betray us. They whipped her until the white of her bones showed. Some nights we could hear her screaming. Then they took her to the fortress and they kept her there for six months. When they let her go, she could not speak. She has never spoken since, not even in her dreams. Even I have never been allowed to see the scars on her back. But she's a good fighter - as good as any of you. She is like a ghost. She goes anywhere. She got us these guns and she kills without mercy. You are very lucky brother.

Other edit

  • Prologue Narrator: [opening lines] 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, 2000 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.

Dialogue edit

Maj. Franklin: [apologizing for involving Mallory in the Navarone mission] No, I'm stupid sometimes. Even when I was a kid, I always took it for granted people wanted to play the games I like, and I'd be furious when they didn't.
Capt. Mallory: Well, now they have to, so why worry?

Commodore Jensen: I should be very surprised if they get even halfway to Navarone. Just a waste of six good men. However, I suppose that doesn't matter, considering how many have been wasted already. I'm glad it's not my decision; I'm only the middleman... Still, they may get there, and they may pull it off. Anything can happen in a war. Slap in the middle of absolute insanity people pull out the most extraordinary resources: ingenuity, courage, self-sacrifice. Pity we can't meet the problems of peace in the same way, isn't it? It would be so much cheaper for everybody.
Cohn: I never thought of it in just that way, sir. You're a philosopher, sir.
Commodore Jensen: No. I'm just the man who has to send people out on jobs like this one.

Capt. Mallory: Can you do anything at all?
Cpl. Miller: I don't know. There's always a way to blow up explosives. The trick is not to be around when they go off. But aren't you forgetting something? The lady. As I see it we have three choices. One we can leave her here but there's no guarantee she won't be found, and in her case they won't need a truth drug. Two, we can take her with us, but that would make things worse than they are already. And three... well, that's Andrea's choice, remember?
Capt. Mallory: You really want your pound of flesh, don't you?
Cpl. Miller: Yes, I do. You see, somehow I just couldn't get to sleep.
Capt. Mallory: Well, if you're so anxious to kill her, go ahead!
Cpl. Miller: I'm not anxious to kill her, I'm not anxious to kill anyone. You see, I'm not a born soldier. I was trapped. 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. No, I prefer to leave the killing to someone like you, an officer and a gentleman, a leader of men.
Capt. Mallory: If 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!
Cpl. Miller: Of course you wanted it, you're an officer, aren't you? I never let them make me an officer! I don't want the responsibility!
Capt. Mallory: So you've had a free ride, all this time! Someone's got to take responsibility if the job's going to get done! You think that's easy?
Cpl. Miller: [shouts] I don't know! I'm not even sure who really is responsible any more.

Cpl. Miller: Well, right now I say to hell with the job! I've been on a hundred jobs and not one of them's altered the course of the war! I don't care about the war anymore, I care about Roy!
Capt. Mallory: And if Turkey comes into the war on the wrong side?
Cpl. Miller: So what? Let the whole bloody world come in and blow itself to pieces, that's what it deserves!

Cpl. Miller: I've inspected this vessel, and I think you ought to know that, ah, I can't swim.
Capt. Mallory: I'll keep it in mind.

Capt. Mallory: [about Stavrou] He's going to kill me when the war's over.
Maj. Franklin: You're not serious.
Capt. Mallory: Yes, I am. So is he. [pause] About a year ago, I gave a German patrol a safe passage to get some of their wounded into hospital. I guess I still had some romantic notions about fighting a civilized war. Anyway, they wanted Andrea pretty badly, even back then. As soon as they got behind our lines, they shot their casualties, went over to his house, and blew it up. He was out on a job at the time, but his wife and three children were in the house. They were all killed. I helped him to bury them. And then he turned to me and said that as far as he was concerned, it wasn't the Germans who were responsible, but me. Me and my stupid Anglo-Saxon decency. Then he told me what he was going to do, and when.
Maj. Franklin: You think he still means to do it?
Capt. Mallory: He's from Crete. Those people don't make idle threats.

Squadron Leader Barnsby: BAD? It can't be done, not from the air, anyway!
Commodore Jensen: You're quite sure of that, Squadron Leader? This is important.
Squadron Leader Barnsby: So's my life! To me, anyway, and the lives of these jokers here, and the eighteen men we lost tonight!
Squadron Leader Barnsby: 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.

Cpl. Miller: To tell you the truth, I didn't think we could do it.
Capt. Mallory: To tell you the truth, neither did I.

Taglines edit

  • An impregnable fortress... An invincible army... and the unstoppable commando team.
  • The Greatest High Adventure Ever Filmed!

Cast edit

External links edit

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