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15 top war movies: 'The Guns of Navarone', part 1

David Niven (left), Gregory Peck (center), and Anthony Quinn (right) in "The Guns of Navarone" (1961)
David Niven (left), Gregory Peck (center), and Anthony Quinn (right) in "The Guns of Navarone" (1961)Columbia Pictures

"The Guns of Navarone" (1961)


The Guns of Navarone is centered on one mission: a daring, impossible attempt to rescue thousands of Allied soldiers from under the eyes of the Nazis. A remarkable World War II film, The Guns of Navarone has a classical setting, an assortment of the best actors, and a brilliant plot. Gregory Peck stars in one of his best roles, as do David Niven, Anthony Quinn, and Anthony Quayle. The story starts off with Peck agreeing to lead a selected team on a suicide mission to a Greek island, where the Nazis store two indestructible heavy-duty guns.

With a timer ticking away for the lives of two thousand soldiers, Peck tries to complete the mission and keep all of his team members alive. This war film excels where some cannot by eradicating certain elements. For example, many viewers think that good war films deserve a small romantic tale on the side of the main plot, to lodge a love triangle in media res for the sake of bittersweet satisfaction among the complications of wartime. However, The Guns of Navarone detaches itself from any romantic perspective and provides enough withdrawal from this kind of theme in order for the actors to do their best.

To be continued...

The Guns of Navarone is available on DVD and Blu-ray Disc wherever movies are sold in Fresno and online; it also can be rented for free from local libraries.