Tag Archive: The Guns of Navarone


the-sand-pebbles

In honor of servicemen and servicewomen this Memorial Day weekend, today we’re recommending ten classic war movies as selected by retired U.S. Navy third class petty officer and electrician’s mate Milton L. Bunce, Jr. who served aboard the USS Goodrich DDR 831 in the Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea and the USS Hancock CVA-19 in the Pacific before and during the early days of the Vietnam War.

If you’re looking for some realism and detail, he’s picked some great classics and any one will hit the mark for you this weekend.

The Wings of Eagles

The Wings of Eagles is director John Ford’s 1957 biopic about his friend, U.S. Navy pilot Frank “Spig” Wead, considered one of the best biopics committed to film.  It stars John Wayne, Dan Dailey, Maureen O’Hara, and Ward Bond, and provides a splice of the history of aviation’s role in combat.  Keep an eye out for the great early airplanes in the aircraft carrier scenes.  And the character of Captain Hazard was based on real-life U.S. Army Air Corps Reserve officer Jimmy Doolittle.

Twelve O'clock High

Twelve O’Clock High is a 1949 Darryl F. Zanuck production about the U.S  Army’s Eighth Air Force flying daytime bombing missions against Nazi Germany and occupied France during World War II.  It’s one of those dramas that will soon be on your list of best films if you haven’t seen it yet.  These airmen are realistically portrayed keeping up the good fight against a seemingly never-ending battle where failure was not an option.  Check out some outstanding acting by star Gregory Peck.  This film is on the Library of Congress National Film Registry.

guns of navarone

Based on an Alistair MacLean’s 1957 novel that was inspired by the Battle of Leros during the Dodecanese Campaign of World War II, the 1961 J. Lee Thompson film The Guns of Navarone is an epic adventure war movie like no other.  The filming location in and around Athens, Greece and top-notch acting by the powerhouse trio of Gregory Peck, David Niven, and Anthony Quinn add to a suspenseful movie about a multi-national team attempting to destroy a mountain fortress.  And it’s a great action movie.  (Milton was on liberty in Athens in 1960 where he visited some of the filming locations around the time of production).

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Tank in Fury

Not too long ago it would seem a decade would pass before someone was even remotely considering putting a big budget World War II movie on the screen.  Now they’re popping up pretty frequently.  Clint Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima in 2006, Bryan Singer’s Valkyrie in 2008, Quentin Tarentino’s Inglourious Basterds in 2009, George Lucas’s Red Tails in 2012, and we just reviewed George Clooney’s Monuments Men here, released in theaters earlier this year.  But movies about WWII tanks or tank battles?  With the importance of tanks as a tool of war in WWII you’d think we’d see more of these.  Although there are plenty of American films with scenes of tanks, is there any that would qualify as a great tank movie?

As movies with tanks go, the recommended viewing list we’ll offer up includes Kelly’s Heroes (with Clint Eastwood, Donald Sutherland and Telly Savalas), Back to Bataan (with John Wayne), The Guns of Navarone (with Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn, and David Niven), and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade has a great tank scene with Indy (and the film takes place in 1938 so we think that counts).  Now Brad Pitt is taking another crack at WWII following up his superb performance as a soldier in Inglourious Basterds, with the David Ayer film Fury.

Brad Pitt in Fury

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