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|Gregory Peck||Capt. Keith Mallory|
|David Niven||Cpl. Miller|
|Anthony Quinn||Col. Andrea Stavros|
|Stanley Baker||Pvt. 'Butcher' Brown|
|Anthony Quayle||Maj. Roy Franklin|
|James Darren||Pvt. Spyros Pappadimos|
|Irene Papas||Maria Pappadimos|
|James Robertson Justice||Commodore Jensen / Prologue Narrator|
|Richard Harris||Squadron Leader Howard Barnsby RAAF|
|Allan Cuthbertson||Maj. Baker|
|Percy Herbert||Sgt. Grogan|
|George Mikell||SS Hauptman Sessler|
|Olivia de Havilland|
In 1943 the Axis powers decide that a show of strength might bully neutral Turkey into joining them. Their target is a command of 2,000 British soldiers marooned on the island of Keros in the Aegean Sea. Rescue by the Royal Navy is impossible because of massive radar-directed guns on the nearby island of Navarone. Time is short, because the Germans are expected to launch an assault on the British forces.
Efforts to destroy the guns by aerial bombing have proved fruitless. So that six destroyers can pick up the stranded men, Commodore Jensen (James Robertson Justice) of Allied Intelligence gathers a team of commandos to sail to Navarone and destroy the guns. Led by Major Roy Franklin (Anthony Quayle), they are Captain Keith Mallory (Gregory Peck), a renowned mountaineer; Colonel Andrea Stavrou (Anthony Quinn), from the defeated Greek army; Franklin's best friend Corporal Miller (David Niven), a former university chemistry teacher and explosives expert; Greco-American Spyros Pappadimos (James Darren), a native of Navarone; and "Butcher" Brown (Stanley Baker), an engineer and expert knife fighter.
Disguised as Greek fishermen on a decrepit boat, they sail across the Aegean Sea. They are intercepted by a German boat and boarded. They attack and kill all the Germans and sink the patrol boat. During the remainder of the voyage, Mallory confides to Franklin that Stavrou has sworn to kill him after the war, because Mallory was inadvertently responsible for the deaths of Stavrou's wife and children.
In a violent storm near the island's coast, the ship is wrecked and the group loses part of their equipment, but still manages to land on the island. Led by Mallory, who was recruited for his climbing skills, they scale the "unclimbable" cliff. But Franklin is badly injured; the injury later becomes infected with gangrene. They find that the cliff is, in fact, guarded after all. Miller suggests that they leave Franklin to be "well cared for" by the enemy. Mallory, who assumes command of the mission, feels that Franklin would be forced to reveal their plans, so he orders two men to carry the injured man on a stretcher.
Franklin tries to commit suicide, but Mallory lies to him, saying that their mission has been scrubbed and that a major naval attack will be mounted on the side of the island opposite the gun emplacement. They rendezvous with local resistance fighters, Spyros's sister Maria (Irene Papas) and her friend Anna (Gia Scala), who was captured and tortured, but escaped. She was so traumatized that she cannot speak and will not allow even Maria to see her scars.
The mission is continually dogged by German soldiers, and the group is captured by Oberleutnant Muesel (Walter Gotell) in the town of Mandrakos, when they try to find a doctor for Franklin. Muesel and Hauptsturmführer Sessler (George Mikell) of the SS fail to persuade the saboteurs to tell them where Miller's explosives are. Stavrou pretends to grovel and beg for mercy, which distracts the Germans, allowing the group to overpower their captors. They escape in German uniform but leave Franklin behind to receive medical attention.
In due course, Franklin is injected with scopolamine and gives up his disinformation, as Mallory had hoped. German units are deployed in the direction of the supposed invasion point, away from the guns. But upon infiltrating the city of Navarone, where the guns are located, Miller discovers that most of his explosives have been rendered useless and deduces that Anna is the saboteur. It transpires that she is not mute after all and was only threatened with torture, but agreed to become an informer in exchange for her release. She pleads that she was coerced, but Miller, bitter about the way that Mallory abandoned Franklin and aware she will reveal their plans once found by the Germans, insists she must be silenced. Mallory eventually, reluctantly agrees to the task, but Maria shoots Anna dead first.
The team splits up: Mallory and Miller go for the guns, while Stavrou and Spyros create a distraction in the town, and Maria and Brown steal a boat for their escape. Mallory and Miller make their way to the heavily fortified gun emplacements. Locking the main entrance behind them—which sets off an alarm—Miller sets obvious explosives on the guns and hides more below an ammunition elevator leading to the guns. The Germans cut through the thick emplacement doors, as Mallory and Miller make their escape by diving into the sea, reaching the stolen boat. Spyros and Brown are dead, and Stavrou is wounded. Mallory saves him, pulling him into the boat, thus voiding the "blood feud" between them.
The Allied destroyers appear on schedule. The Germans find the explosives planted on the guns and begin to fire on the passing Allied flotilla. However, the elevator eventually descends low enough to trigger the hidden explosives. The guns and fortifications are destroyed in a spectacular explosion that Franklin hears from his hospital bed. As the ruined guns fall into the sea, the destroyers sound off their horns in celebration. Mallory's team safely reaches the British convoy, but Stavrou, who has fallen in love with Maria, decides to return to Navarone with her. Mallory and Miller observe the aftermath of the destruction from a destroyer.
Theatrical : 1961-06-22 : United States of America
DVD : 2000-05-23
DVD : 2007-05-08