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The Guns Of Navarone [DVD]

David Niven , Gregory Peck , J. Lee Thompson    Parental Guidance   DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: David Niven, Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn, Anthony Quayle, Stanley Baker
  • Directors: J. Lee Thompson
  • Writers: Carl Foreman, Alistair MacLean
  • Producers: Carl Foreman, Cecil F. Ford, Leon Becker
  • Format: Anamorphic, PAL
  • Language: English, French, German
  • Subtitles: English, German, French, Hindi, Turkish, Danish, Icelandic, Bulgarian, Swedish, Hungarian, Polish, Arabic, Dutch, Finnish, Czech, Greek
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Columbia Tristar
  • DVD Release Date: 4 Dec 2000
  • Run Time: 150 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000050GQ9
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,456 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



This rousing, explosive 1961 World War II adventure, based on Alistair MacLean's thrilling novel, turns the war thriller into a deadly caper film. Gregory Peck heads a star-studded cast charged with a near impossible mission: destroy a pair of German guns nestled in a protective cave on the strategic Mediterranean island of Navarone, from where they can control a vital sea passage. As world-famous mountain climber turned British army Captain, Mallory (Peck) leads a guerrilla force composed of the humanitarian explosives expert, Miller (David Niven), the ruthless Greek patriot with a grudge, Stavros (Anthony Quinn), veteran special forces soldier Brown (Stanley Baker) and the cool, quiet young marksman Pappadimos (James Darren). This disparate collection of classic types must overcome internal conflicts, enemy attacks, betrayal and capture to complete their mission. Director J. Lee Thompson sets a driving pace for this exciting (if familiar) military operation, a succession of close calls, pitched battles and last-minute escapes as our heroes infiltrate the garrisoned town with the help of resistance leader Maria (Irene Papas) and plot their entry into the heavily guarded mountain fort. Carl Foreman's screenplay embraces MacLean's role call of clichés and delivers them with style, creating one of the liveliest mixes of espionage, combat and good old-fashioned military derring-do put on film, while Dimitri Tiomkin's score is as sturdy as the rock of Navarone itself. --Sean Axmaker

On the DVD: This special-edition DVD gives the modern-day viewer a taste of what movies were like in 1961. Four curious featurettes are included, produced as publicity for the film. James Darren narrates a little ditty at his honeymoon in Malta during filming; Irene Papas narrates a giddy, old-fashioned look at "Two Girls on the Town". There is even a filmed bit with producer-writer Carl Foreman that was shown once at the premiere. The 30-minute retrospective, "Memories of Navarone", made in 1999 has the expected reminiscences from Gregory Peck and Anthony Quinn. Director J. Lee Thompson's audio commentary is a bit frustrating; he's now in his 80s, and most of his recollections are slow in coming. A historian could have brought out the film's history (it was the most expensive movie ever made at time of release) and produced a more vital viewing. --Doug Thomas

Product Description

Special Features:

Director's commentary
Featurettes -- "A Message from Carl Foreman", "Great Guns", "Honeymoon on Rhodes", "No Visitors",
Two Girls on the Town"

"Memories of Navarone" Documentary
Theatrical Trailer
Interactive Menus
Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen 1:2.35 enhanced for 16:9 TVs
Languages -- English, French, German
Subtitles -- English, French, German, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Hindi,
Turkish, Danish, Arabic, Swedish, Finnish, Icelandic, Dutch, Norwegian,
Greek, Hebrew, Bulgarian.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
The Guns of Navarone is one of the best of the 'Boys own' style war movies I've ever seen. The plot is simple. Two giant cannon on the isle of Navarone are sinking all the allied shipping passing through an important bit of the Aegean. Six ships on the way to evacuate another island before the 2000 troops on that island are wiped out in a devastating German attack will pass through soon, before they arrive a team of commandos have to penetrate the German fortress on Navarone and spike the guns. A nice simple premise, around which is hung a magnificent tale.

THe script is quite intelligent for this type of war movie. I've always liked it as it seemed a bit more 'grown up' than most. The heroes are presented as real people, with their own fears and moral doubts about what they are doing. They even have qualms about killing enemy soldiers at times. Though one of the German officers is presented as the typical comic book villainous Gestapo officer, most of the other enemy characters are shown in an almost sympathetic light, especially Oberst Meusel, played by Walter Gotell.

This is an all star production, with 6 or 7 really big names on screen. The director manages to give them all plenty of screen time, and there is a very balanced feel between the performances. Outstanding is David Niven as Miller, in what I consider to be one of the best performances of his career (right up there with 'A Matter Of Life And Death'). For once he doesn't play his standard character, the laid back urbane English socialite, but presents us with a very real character, with a fear of 'being responsible', a dry wit and shrewd intelligence. The scenes where he clashes with Gregory Peck's implacable team leader, Mallory, over his treatment of Miller's close friend, are the best in the film.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
I won't say too much about the film itself, which is approaching 50 years old, except to say that the performances of all the cast appearing in this well executed WWII thriller are extremely high quality. Anthony Quinn, Gregory Peck and David Niven in particular really do act their socks off (Stanley Baker also stands out, despite having less to work with). The actors are helped greatly by a fine script, which only lets itself down during the first 15 minutes with some rather naive moralising from James Robertson Justice, and a shocking "cameo" from Richard Harris, complete with badly judged Australian accent (and some pretty flowery language for the period). However, when the plot starts rolling the combination of excellent dialogue and scorching acting make it very difficult to take your eyes of the screen. In fact, the action scenes struggle to compete with all this finely crafted drama.

It's always good when a classic like this receives a 2 disc special edition, and there's a wonderfully exhaustive library of Documentaries and period Featurettes on the second disc. It was very enjoyable to hear Peck and Quinn reminisce of their time on what appears to have been a happy set, what a shame many of the rest of the cast are no longer with us to share their thoughts.

Interestingly, one of the docs concerns the restoration of the film. I was actually very disappointed with this transfer of The Guns of Navarone, which I thought was grubby, much too grainy, rather gloomy, and also suffered from poor colour and contrast. I've recently seen Ice Station Zebra and Where Eagles Dare on DVD (two other MacLean thrillers from the sixties), and although they've not received a restoration to my knowledge, image quality is strong.
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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An all time classic 26 Feb 2001
By A Customer
Gregory Peck plays Mallory, the worlds greatest living mountaineer, linguist and commandoe, picked along with Anthony Quin, to escort a group of sabotuers onto Navarone, where terrifying anti-shipping guns are impeding the rescue of a British garrison. When the vessel sinks in a storm, Mallory is compelled by fate to join and ultimately lead the deadly mission, stirring stuff indeed and highly enjoyable to boot. All of the characters are flawed in that wonderful Great Escape way. Instead of a claustrophobic miner, we get the knief man who's lost his taste for killing. No blind forger hear but a man who's closest comrade will kill him at the end of the war. There's good Germans and bad Germans, a traitor in the camp, Anthony Quayle with gangreen, romance and a surprise ending(well sort of). My personal favourite is where Messrs. Peck and Niven appear to share a cigarette of dubious nature in the closing moments of the film!
This film is a classic, and has always been well regarded, but is it worth buying on DVD? Now to be fair this movie is long in the tooth, and has long been the staple fair of Sunday matinees and video-store bargain bins. So is it worth forking out for? Simple answer:yes!
Long answer: Aside from a great tranfer, where the day-for-night shots are printed as night,its in widescreen, with Dolby digital sound! To boot, there is a plethora of extras. Not many forty year old movies come with a directors' commentary, but this does. As J. Lee Thompson was a studio gun-for-hire, this was just another job rather than a personal obsession, so dont expect great personal insights. For me the real goodies are the bizarre promo films thrown in for good measure. Publicity films date faster than calenders and theses are excellently silly, fun, pathe style newsreels.
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