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96 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Columbia outdoes itself with new release of classic
The second movie in Columbia's newest wave of World War II movies (along with "The Caine Mutiny") is the 1961 Academy Award-winning film for Best Special Effects, "The Guns of Navarone," which stars Gregory Peck as Keith Mallory, the leader of a group of British commandos tasked with destroying two gigantic German anti-ship guns.
The British are desperate to evacuate...
Published on May 9, 2007 by Darren Harrison

43 of 56 people found the following review helpful
The Guns of Navarone is one of the greatest WWII movies ever made. It is also near the top of my alltime favorite list. I have bought this movie on various formats through the years and jumped for joy when I hear it was finally coming out on DVD. However, when I watched the DVD, there was no jumping or joy.
The transfer is very erratic. The sound is pretty solid...
Published on May 24, 2000 by Vitus Verdegast

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96 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Columbia outdoes itself with new release of classic, May 9, 2007
The second movie in Columbia's newest wave of World War II movies (along with "The Caine Mutiny") is the 1961 Academy Award-winning film for Best Special Effects, "The Guns of Navarone," which stars Gregory Peck as Keith Mallory, the leader of a group of British commandos tasked with destroying two gigantic German anti-ship guns.
The British are desperate to evacuate 2,000 soldiers from the Aegean island of Kiros, with the only sea route through a stretch of water commanded by the guns that are encased inside a massive cliffside bunker that is immune to air attack.
Based on the best selling novel by Alistair (Where Eagles Dare) MacLean, Mallory has been working on occupied Crete for two years and as an expert mountaineer is the perfect choice to ferry the team to the only part of Navarone not monitored by the Germans - a 400-foot cliff.
Joining Peck is David Niven as explosives expert John Anthony Miller and Anthony Quinn as a Greek resistance fighter.
MacLean is known for being able to weave together a great story and this movie is consistently entertaining. In fact the film was already afforded a respectable special release on DVD in 2000. Columbia though have outdone themselves with this 2-disc set by adding a second audio commentary and four new documentaries.
The original release included a rather dry, faltering, but informative commentary by director J. Lee Thompson, a smattering of archival featurettes of varying quality and an anecdotal documentary on the making of the picture featuring on-camera interviews with Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn, James Darren and J. Lee Thompson named "Memories of Navarone" and running at 29:34. It's a nice, breezy documentary and entertaining - detailing some of the experiences the cast had working on the picture.
However this new release includes a lively commentary with historian Stephen J. Rubin who mentions that this film started the trend of Hollywood going outdoors. Up until this time most movies were filmed on the studios backlot, whereas this movie was filmed on the island of Rhodes. He also discusses the cast (including a very young Richard Harris). Rubin also discusses some of the differences between the MacLean novel and the movie - which appear to be a number of changes to characterization and details some of the criticisms of the movie when it was released - including the fact that the actors were too old to play commando's, many being as they were in their 40s and 50s. Though Rubin quickly adds that he feels it was cast perfectly.
Also included are two new documentaries, the first of these "Forging the Guns of Navarone" runs at 13:58 and includes on camera interviews with Eve Williams-Jones (the former wife of producer Carl Foreman) and Assistant Director Peter Yates (who himself went on to become a very successful director in his own right). Apparently Thompson was not the original director for the project and Yates credits Thompson for his ability to jump straight into a film that had already shot much of its second unit work as well as his ability to manage so many big name actors. Yates also reveals that despite their on-screen animosity towards each other, both Niven and Peck got along well together determined to have as much fun as possible on the picture. Yates also recounts how the crew would refer to it as "The biggest B-feature ever made."
The second new documentary "The Ironic Epic of Heroism" runs longer at 23:38 and is essentially an on-camera analysis of the movie by noted Film Historian Sir Christopher Frayling (who was mistakenly credited with providing an audio commentary in the press release for this DVD release). Frayling is quite engaging as he recounts such facts as Foreman's initial reluctance to handle the project. Foreman once said that he was incapable of making a movie that did not make statements and he initially saw the MacLean book as a simple action adventure. It was not until he re-read the novel that he realized it could serve to make statements about the futility of war and the ability of war to bring out the best in people.
Frayling also reflects on the fact that the movie was the first global production caper-style World War II movie to be played as an action adventure in a style he describes as "incredibly innovative."
Also included on this new release is the restored intermission with score that was seen in some European cities (it is listed as an extra since it is not part of the official cut of the movie) and featurettes on the Dimitri Tiomkin score which details the subtle differences throughout the movie and a fascinating look at the UCLA restoration.
The restoration featurette details the tortured path towards restoring a film that was in such terrible shape that they needed several sources of original negative, both from Columbia and a private collector. In an example of the work the UCLA team had to do, the print they were provided by Columbia had the plane crash at the beginning of the movie happen in broad daylight. This apparently is how most people have seen the scene in recent years. That was until one of the eagle-eyed team at UCLA noticed that one of the trucks had it's headlights on and wondered why. Sure enough they were able to track down a copy of the print from a private collector that showed that the crash happened at night with the screen various shades of blue - and that is how it was restored.
In another instance the print UCLA had also had the infamous dubbing of Richard Harris where the censor had the word "bloody" replaced with "ruddy" for some of the screenings in the UK (the word "bloody" is considered a swear word in the UK). The UCLA team prevailed again and were able to locate a copy of the correct audio still intact).
On a sidenote the DVD also affords fans of Tiomkin the opportinity to hear the opening sequence sans the narrative as a special feature on the second disc. This apparently is a special feature that had been requested for years.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Guns still fire solid shells, May 31, 2000
Don Eldredge "Old Man" (Sherman, TX United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Guns of Navarone (DVD)
The Guns of Navarone is, to film experts, a forgotten classic, but to the mass movie viewing audience that has continued to watch it during its numerous television dates, it remains a favorite among war movies. Why a forgotten classic? Because the American Film Institute didn't even consider it among its 400 nominated movies, and I've yet to see any other "Top 100" list that includes it. Maybe this DVD will awaken some of those so-called experts to a movie with both action and intellectual depth. As for the DVD itself, it is the best transfer yet of this magnificent film. Yes, there are flaws. It will not look like a movie made in 1999. It was filmed 40 years ago and it shows it. But if the viewer isn't one of those people who take a magnifying glass to the screen or who view it in stop-motion, scene by scene, it holds up well. As for the sound, it is the best yet. The 5.1 Dolby enhancement is great -- much better than anyone could possibly expect from a movie so old. The four featurettes are pure fluff (and very short), but are enjoyable. The 30-minute documentary is interesting. Director J. Lee Thompson is an old man now and his commentary reflects that, but it beats no commentary at all. The viewer learns much about how the film was set up and where scenes were shot. Fans of the movie will enjoy that. And Thompson's comments give insight into the difference between an action movie in 1961 and today's variety. As for the film itself, it is a wonder. The story moves smoothly. It is a film for its time and has much to offer to the younger generations that will be rediscovering this movie for many years to come. Anyone who chooses to knitpick the DVD can do so with ease. Anyone who chooses to sit back and enjoy a solid piece of 1960s filmmaking with an excellent script and cast will find this an enjoyable package.
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64 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "You've got me in the mood to use this thing...", January 18, 2005
The Guns of Navarone is a wonderful film that touches upon the issue of how difficult it can be to make moral choices during the course of a war. The screenplay is fascinating in the sense that every major character in the film has their own notions of just how far they should go in applying the necessary force "to get the job done" in a war.

The movie is about six saboteurs who must destroy two gigantic guns, which present a danger to the Allied Navy. At the very beginning of the movie, viewers immediately have their first taste of a moral dilemma when Commodore Jensen, the organizer of the mission, has to decide between sending six qualified men to an almost disastrous and suicidal mission or simply scrapping the mission and leaving 2,000 trapped British soldiers to a certain doom. Commodore Jensen sees the choice as a foregone conclusion and thus resorts to lying to the leaders of the mission in order to boost their confidence. Jensen however does feel the pains of leadership as he tells a fellow officer "I'm just a man who has to send men off to die".

The six saboteurs each have their unique specialties and views of morality. The first saboteur is Captain Mallory, the best mountain climber in the world and a competent linguist. Captain Mallory is a soldier who now has a utilitarian view of the world and no longer sees the world as black or white. The second saboteur is Major Roy Franklin who is known for his luck and determination. Roy is as focused to the mission as Mallory, only he does not appear to be so in the eyes of his friend Corporal Miller, the third saboteur. Corporal Miller is the self-righteous chemical explosives expert whose philanthropic perception of the world directs his loyalty only to his friends and himself. The fourth is Private Brown "the Butcher of Barcelona" whose specialties are working with engines and using a knife. Although Brown is a seasoned veteran with many kills under his belt, he has become wary of the war. The fifth saboteur is Colonel Stavros. Stavros, like Mallory and Franklin, focuses to the task at hand, but is also ever thoughtful of his personal vendettas. Finally, the last saboteur is Private Pappadimos, whom Jensen describes as a "born killer".

The moral views of the six saboteurs will clash with each other several times during the movie as they debate about how to conduct a war and deal with human life. The moral perceptions even prove to be the undoing of some of the men. The beauty of the movie is that ultimately the ongoing theme of morality further extends to the two women who later join the mission. Even the Germans are not exempt from this theme as the "normal" German soldier's character contrasts itself sharply from that of the inhumane SS officer.

It is not surprisingly to find that many world leaders enjoy watching The Guns of Navarone, since here is a film that touches upon an issue that is constantly ever-present in their minds. The burden of choosing the fates of others is after all, a burden that is felt by both the commander and the individual soldier alike.

The superbit version of The Guns of Navarone is an improvement over the first regular DVD release. The noticeable improvement is found mainly in the sound. A particular standout scene in terms of sound is where Stavros uses his sniper rifle to give cover against the advancing German Army. The superbit picture quality while an improvement over the regular DVD release, is not as noticeably good as the superbit sound quality.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Biggest and Best "Guns", July 27, 2000
This review is from: The Guns of Navarone (DVD)
We don't have movie stars anymore; we have "actors." If nothing else, the Guns of Navarone proves this point, as no less than the talents of Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn, Anthony Quayle, and David Niven bring Alistair MacLean's gripping novel to life. The result is one of those old-fashioned, sweeping adventures that never sacrifices character for empty-headed action sequences or expensive but ultimately pointless special effects. Peck leads a rag-tag group of commandos to destroy a German fortress whose giant cannon threaten the English Navy. Like all such cinematic missions, however, there is a traitor in the group threatening their success, as well as a series of setbacks from the Germans and Mother Nature. There's never any real question about whether or not the mission will succeed, only who will be left when it's all over, and verbal sparring by Peck and Niven adds to the tension (perhaps the best scene in the film occurs when Niven challenges Peck to execute the traitor). Young audiences, particularly those spoon-fed on the palp generated over the last 10 years, will probably scoff at the film's unhurried pace and tame action sequences, but the real action occurs inside the characters' heads and hearts. A must-see for anyone looking for a thinking person's action movie.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gregory Peck leads the way!, April 27, 2004
Dave (Tennessee United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Guns of Navarone (DVD)
This was one of the first war movies I ever saw & even after watching modern masterpieces like Saving Private Ryan this is still one of my very favorites. This classic WW2 flick has it all: suspense, awesome & believable characters, great action (of course!), humor, & even romance. The three main stars are Gregory Peck, David Niven, & Anthony Quinn. Peck is perfectly cast as the leader of the group of commandos, & I've always thought he was great playing officers in war films (Pork Chop Hill, MacArthur, Twelve O'Clock High, etc.). Niven is both fun & annoying as the uptight Brit who constantly challenges Peck's authority. Quinn is a real treat as a deadly Greek who holds a grudge against Peck for a past "incident". This movie has many unforgettable scenes: Quinn taking on an advancing German column of troops with his sniper rifle, the confrontation with the traitor, & the incredible climax. I agree with other reviewers that they don't make 'em like this anymore! Whether you love war movies or are new to the genre, this is a definite must!
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High adventure, tension, moral choices and a great story!, December 28, 2002
This review is from: The Guns of Navarone (DVD)
This 1961 film, starring Gregory Peck, David Niven and Anthony Quinn won an academy award for its special effects. I can well understand why. This is a high-adventure drama about a handpicked squad of soldiers whose mission it is to disable high-powered Nazi guns on a Greek Island, thereby enabling the rescue of 2000 trapped British troops. Over and over again, the inhospitable rough sea, the perpendicular cliffs that must be scaled and the hoards of Nazi soldiers who are everywhere are challenges that must be overcome.
The actors all give fine performances, but I was most impressed by that of Anthony Quinn whose every gesture shows the mastery of his craft. Irene Pappas and Gia Scala also join the cast as members of the resistance, complicating the mission in unexpected ways. In addition to the adventure, there are constant moral choices and this is what turns the film into something more than just the story of a mission. Gregory Peck and David Niven verbally confront each other about these matters and force the audience to see the hard choices that most be made during wartime. The tension held my interest throughout even though it's a full 158 minutes long. And then I stayed up another hour or so watching the special features on the DVD which was full of some very interesting background about the making of the film.
Yes, the film is all one sided. The Brits are the good guys; the Nazis are bad and there is never any sympathy when they die. It lacks the realism of authentic bloody wounds considered state-of-the art in more modern films. And the actual mission itself never happened in real life; it is adapted from a novel by Alistair MacLean. It's done well though and gives the viewer the experience of a good story well told. I therefore give it a high recommendation. It's well worth seeing.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blu-ray: Given a proper restoration and bundled with plenty of special features, this is a must buy!, December 16, 2011
This review is from: The Guns of Navarone [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
When it comes to stories about World War II, the Dodecanese Campaign is known for the attempt by the Allied Forces (primarily the British) trying to capture the Italian-held Dodecanese Islands in the Aegean Sea in order to secure an air base for the Allied Forces ended in failure.

But in 1957, Scottish writer Alistair MacLean wrote a fictional story using the Dodecanese Campaign to feature a story about the British forces trying to capture the German-held Greek Islands. The novel was a success and would lead to a loose film adaptation by screenwriter Carl Foreman ("High Noon", "The Men", "Cyrano de Bergerac") and directed by J. Lee Thompson (known for his '70s "Planet of the Apes" films, "Cape Fear"), cinematography by Oswald Morris ("Lolita", "Fiddler on the Roof" and "The Man with the Golden Gun") and music composed by Dimitri Tiomkin ("High Noon", "It's a wonderful Life", Rio Bravo", "Dial M for Murder").

The film was an amazing success earning the Golden Globe Award for "Best Motion Picture" and "Best Original Score - Motion Picture" and earning nine Academy Award nominations, winning an Academy Award for "Best Effects, Special Effects" and was also the top grossing film of 1961.


"The Guns of Navarone" is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:35:1) and it's important to note about a few things of this film. For one, the original film was in very bad shape. The colors were nearly faded and picture was fading to a pinkish visuals and because it was one of the most successful films from Columbia Pictures, it was the second film they asked the UCLA Film and Television Archive for restoration.

For the restoration, they chose not to modernize it but to keep things looking as it should have, 35 mm Cinemavision, Eastman filmstock. So, one should not expect the film to look anything modern by today's standards but to restore the film to how it would look on the big screen and for the most part, the film looks fantastic!

There is no doubt that this is the definitive release of "The Guns of Navarone". Black levels are deep, good amount of grain and the skin tones look natural for a film created back in 1961. There are some scenes involving the German soldiers where I did notice a bit of haloing but aside from that, considering the shape the film was in, this is the best looking version of the film to date.


"The Guns of Navarone" is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French and Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital. As mentioned in the video section, the UCLA Film and Television Archive chose not to modernize the film and with the sound, to keep it original to what people saw in theaters.

So, there are about three scenes that do utilize surround (as featured in the restoration special feature) but the majority of the film is center and front channel-driven. Audio dialogue is crystal clear and there is also LFE during a few of the action-based scenes that involve explosions. Scenes with the surround channels are good but fairly short. I know that for a lot of us who wouldn't mind a modernized soundtrack, would have loved to hear the audio being more immersive but I do understand the decision to keep things as they were back in 1961 and giving us that same presentation. So, I can't complain.

Subtitles are presented in English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Thai, Arabic, Chinese (traditional), Chinese (simplified), Dutch and Korean.


"The Guns of Navarone" comes with the following special features:

Military Fact or Fiction - (4:16) A discussion by war historians of what was fact and what was fiction in the film "The Guns of Navarone".
The Greek Resistance - (4:08) War historians discuss the Greek resistance during World War 2.
The Navarone Effect - (4:10) War historians discuss the huge success of "The Guns of Navarone" film and why the film was popular.
The Old School Wizardry of the Guns of Navarone - (4:18) The special effects of "The Guns of Navarone" and how things were made to look realistic.
The Real World Guns of Navarone - (4:13) Discussion of how artillery has changed compared to what was shown on "The Guns of Navarone" and what is fictional.
World War II in the Greek Islands - (3:56) Why the allied forces and axis forces needed the Greek Islands during the war.
Commentary 1 - Featuring audio commentary with film historian Stephen J. Rubin.
Commentary 2 - Featuring audio commentary with Director J. Lee Thompson.
Forging the Guns of Navarone: Notes from the Set- (13:59) Eve William-Jones (former Mrs. Foreman), Assistant Director Peter Yates and others discuss the making of "The Guns of Navarone".
An Ironic Epic of Heroes - (24:30) From the narrative, hiring of J. Lee Thompson, the collaboration with Foreman to the involvement of the Greek government.
Memories of Navarone - (29:34) An older interview featuring the cast members discussing their memories of "The Guns of Navarone".
Epic Restoration - (9:37) Robert Git of the UCLA Film &Television Archive discuss how bad the deterioration of the original negative and what went into the restoration.
A Heroic Score - (9:19) John Burligame, film music historian discusses the musical score and composer Dimitri Tiomkin.
Great Guns - (4:34) An older 1960's featurette on the arrival of the stars to the Greek Islands to film "The Guns of Navarone".
No Visitors - (4:38) An older 1960's featurette featuring a look at the making of "The Guns of Navarone".
Honeymoon on Rhodes (4:36) - An older 1960's featurette starring James Darren talks about him and his wife celebrating their honeymoon in the Greek Isles before filming "The Guns of Navarone".
Two Girls on the Town - (4:35) An older 1960's featurette starring Irene Papas and Gia Scala shopping in the Greece.
Narration Free Prologue - Many have wanted to hear the prologue without narration in order to listen to Dimitri Tiomkin's score, now they can.
Message from Carl Foreman - An older message recorded by producer and writer Carl Foreman in regards to "The Guns of Navarone".

"The Guns of Navarone" comes with a slip cover case.


"The Guns of Navarone" is definitely an exciting, adrenaline pumping war film from the '60s.

To have a film featuring such talent as Gregory Peck, David Niven, Anthony Quinn in one film is quite exciting and "The Guns of Navarone" was a war film that showcased the use of soldiers and their own personal abilities to defeat the enemy. It's easily an underdog film because these men literally have no chance of surviving but yet, as viewers, you can't help but pull for the underdogs.

There are also twists and turns, especially when one of their own ends up being a spy for the Germans and also featuring one of the longest but most effective visual action scenes as we watched the crew trying to survive a storm and them climbing an "unclimbable" mountain. There are no dialogue spoken for this segment of the film, it's all visual and special effects driven which was pretty significant back in 1961.

So, while "The Guns of Navarone" was a significant war film, for its' 50th Anniversary", I can easily say that this is a significant Blu-ray release that is fantastic!

Not only do you get two audio commentaries, you are given plenty of special features, including newer special features from war historians that are only Blu-ray exclusive! So, I can easily say that fans of this classic war film are getting their money's worth because there are not many classic films that are bundled with this many special features let alone are given a proper restoration.

"The Guns of Navarone" is wonderful classic war film, but this Blu-ray release to celebrate the film's 50th Anniversary is magnificent. Highly recommended!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Remastered Classic, August 31, 2008
Kevin R. Austra (Delaware Valley, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Guns of Navarone (DVD)
The reissued DVD version of THE GUNS OF NAVARONE is a great improvement over my tired old VHS copy. Not only is the film in widescreen presentation, the color and sound is superior to the tape version.

As with most Alistair MacLean inspired movies we find a story with a handful of commandos, plan gone awry with double agents in their midst, battling a large contingent of the Wehrmacht. One wonders what the Germans were doing with all that substantial air power, armor, and artillery on a small island at a time when the Eastern front was collapsing. The same situation was encountered in WHERE EAGLES DARE and FORCE TEN FROM NAVARONE.

The Plot: In a bid to gain a foothold on the Dodecanese Islands the British landed a force on Kheros. Unfortunately the Germans had other plans and isolated the Allied force while they prepared to retake the island. The British plan to withdraw the lone garrison, but for the firepower of two mighty cannons guarding the channel on nearby Navarone. As the guns are protected in a rock mountain similar to Gibralter and the island heavily garrisoned by German troops, a force of agents is sent to Navarone to knock out the guns before a Royal Navy braves the channel to evacuate Kheros. Along the way the team, led by Gregory Peck, is forced to alter their plans and improvise as their mission is betrayed by a traitor in the midst.

Anthony Quinn, David Niven, Anthony Quayle, and motion picture newcomer James Darren (The Time Tunnel) also star in this action packed military thriller.

The majority of the outdoor scenes were filmed on location in Rhodes with interiors and gun sets completed in England. Overall a well made film with great accompanying soundtrack composed by Dimitri Tiomkin (The Alamo).

It was not until several years ago that I discovered the premise of the film, minus the great guns, was a true story. The Italians had occupied the Dodecanese Islands, including islands near the Turkish coast, since 1912. During the Second World War after Italy surrendered to the Allies in 1943, The Germans rushed in troops to occupy the larger islands (including Rhodes with its three vital airfields) while the British landed on five of the smaller outlying islands. In THE GUNS OF NAVARONE the stranded British troops are reported to be on the fictional Aegean island of "Kheros." In reality one of the actual British occupied islands was "Leros." In a series of airborne and seaborne operations the Germans retook the islands. The Germans bombarded and successfully invaded Leros in Operation Leopard in November 1943. No doubt one of the last German victories of the war. As the Germans had complete air supremecy over the Dodecanese. The British and Italian garrisons were defeated and the Germans remained in control of the Islands until the May 1945 German surrender.

The only thing that was missing was a story about large railway guns installed in a hollowed out mountain.

In comparing THE GUNS OF NAVARONE to actual history you have to begin with the assumption that the Germans either inherited the massive gun battery from the Italians, who previously occupied the island as legally annexed Italian territory, or that the Germans maintained a secret base there. Otherwise it is improbable that the Germans could have hollowed out the mountain and installed two great radar controlled guns in the handful of months following the Italian surrender. A similar continuity logic break occurs in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK where the Germans maintain an established U-Boat pen in the Aegean in the late 1930s.

As noted earlier, the sound and color in the DVD release are an improvement over the prior video tape copies. In the earlier versions the German uniforms appeared as plain brown. Now they are closer to field gray. A similar color restoration took place with the re-released THE DIRTY DOZEN. The DVD also contains several behind the scenes movies shorts of cast and crew on Rhodes during the film's production.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Barrage & Fast-Paced Stories Within A Story, March 3, 2004
This review is from: Guns of Navarone [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I remember first seeing The Guns of Navarone when I when I was about 10 years old. I was totally enraptured from word-go. It is still one of my favourite films. The action is non-stop. We learn about all of the key players; finding out that, even though they are on the same side, they have deeper conflicts between/amongst themselves - more so than with the common enemy. Eventually, they are forced to drop their differences and unite to destroy one of the most threatening weapons against the Allied Forces: The Guns of Navarone. High-tech (for that era) guns invented by the Germans. Not only do you find conflicts within this team of saboteurs, you find friendships that form among them as well. Even though this film isn't true to the book, by Alistair MacLean, it is still excellent none-the-less. I find it rather difficult to give details of an almost 3-hour epic, without giving away too much information; I want the viewers to be caught up with this stories-within-a-story, as I was. The elements of surprise are truly stunning. I also experienced that my watching The Guns of Navarone several times, I see and/or hear new things that I missed before. The details are subtle as well as obvious. An all-star cast of Gregory Peck, David Niven, Anthony Quinn, Stanley Baker, Anthony Quayle, James Darren, Irene Papas, Gia Scala, James Robertson Justice, and Richard Harris. The music by Dimitri Tiomkin is wonderful. It's well worth having. This VHS tape is not only wide-screen, but it also has a series of short documentaries of restoration, the film itself, and theatrical trailer. I highly recommend this.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Guns of Navarone in blu ray (get it!), October 17, 2011
greybyrd (Kissimmee, FL United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Guns of Navarone [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Those who will get to watch 'The Guns of Navarone' for the first time in blu ray are very fortunate! I saw it when it appeared in the theater circuit back in 1961 with my father. I was in my single digits, so I can't compare quality then with even the VHS copies that were around decades later (circa 1989). This is a film that was meant to convey adventure and action, and Alistair MacLean's novel is not short-changed in any way. Featuring an all-star cast headed by Gregory Peck with David Niven, Anthony Quinn, Irene Papas, and a young James Darren it earned a top billing wherever it played, and more than tripled it's 6 million dollar budget earning over $18 million in receipts. In the early 1960s, a film that could earn a million dollars was considered a financial success!

The film had quality control issues and the many copies produced resulted in the loss of several reels of the original negative. However, in the 80s when VHS was the only way to any home entertainment experience, the secondary video quality was not given much thought. The film's action and intensity overshadow most technical losses.

Showing in theaters during an era when b & w TV was the norm, how it looked in the theater certainly was most satisfactory by most anyone's standard. Such a film made available on VHS in 1989 was exciting, offering a new home viewing experience. I haven't owned a VHS player in years, and anything I had of value of family sentiment was transferred to DVD years ago. I cringe at the thought of watching this film in that format, but then I never liked VHS! S-VHS offered little improvement, though its increased resolution was nice, but few releases were ever made in Super VHS.

I bought the DVD back in 2000, and it looked good but the soundtrack is not overwhelmingly different from the new blu ray version. It does have a slight edge in its audio definition and has been digitally cleaned-up a bit and enhanced, with some spacial additions adding ambiance for a few scenes. But don't expect the serious surround today's features offer. It didn't exist back in 1961! Since many scenes in 'Navarone' were daytime exposures made to look like night, the underexposure and lighting tend to offer slightly more visibility in the new blu ray version, and the more detailed definition in color is also nothing short of a great movie experience. Such an experience has not been possible since this film was presented in its theatrical version in theaters half a century ago, so this should not go unnoticed! A punchier, more bass-laden audio as recorded today with full dynamic range would be nicer, but the audio you will hear will not disappoint you. A full orchestra in 1961 was a challenge to record, and with an average dynamic range of perhaps 70 db on a good day with great acoustics and recording equipment, today's worst recordings can surpass this half again. But a great soundtrack such as this film presents as written and conducted by Dimitri Tiomkin would likely not ultimately be more justified by technology than the action this film gave it then. 'The Guns of Navarone' stands as a feature that has not only survived the test of time, but for many of us even survived the test of repeated performances! From its theater days to TV, VHS, DVD and now blu ray... I suspect it will find sales to many who, like myself, wanted it long before the studio even scanned it fresh for its HD debut. Look for it soon on streaming sources and in HD when it does show on TV.

Classic films are what they are... most of us know which films they are, and when one comes along (which in our present day I have found can be counted on one hand with fingers left over!) it is recognized as something special. A film which stands the test of time is truly rare in today's world, and classics will always be recognized for the action, entertainment and artistic quality they have brought to audiences in the years they have endured.

With half a century passing since its theatrical release, 'The Guns of Navarone' belongs in the same ranks as other iconic war films such as Patton, Bridge On The River Kwai, A Bridge Too Far, The Longest Day and Tora, Tora, Tora. No collection could be complete without it, and thankfully, Sony Pictures must agree.

'The Guns of Navarone' in blu ray can be purchased new for well below its retail list of $19.99 (ie, Amazon where I ordered mine). It is a film well worth the time to watch, and one you will appreciate and want as part of your collection.
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The Guns of Navarone [Blu-ray]
The Guns of Navarone [Blu-ray] by J. Lee Thompson (Blu-ray - 2011)
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