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Operation Crossbow

4 out of 5 stars 85 customer reviews

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Product Description

Operation Crossbow (DVD)

Germany, World War II. Nazi engineers develop a rocket that could change the outcome of the war. Now, with the lives of millions and the fate of the free world in the balance, one spy ventures deep into enemy territory to find and destroy the massive rocket factory in a one-way mission codenamed: Operation Crossbow.George Peppard stars as Lieutenant John Curtis, the Allied espionage agent who infiltrates the secret Nazi weapons facility, and Sophia Loren stars as the wife of the scientist whose identity Curtis has assumed ... the one person who could reveal his cover to the Nazis, thwart the mission and decide the outcome of the war in this riveting espionage thriller.



Operation Crossbow was one among many '60s films aiming, in the wake of The Guns of Navarone, to cash in on nostalgia for "the Good War" of 20 years earlier, plus snag a share of the spy-movie market stoked by James Bond. A decent-enough stiff-upper-lip thriller in its day, it's yet more enjoyable now. The nostalgia has deepened to include affectionate enjoyment of a fine, big cast now mostly departed, dependably hitting their marks in a jolly good yarn.

The tale begins around the midpoint of the war, with Hitler aspiring to hurl a second Blitz against London using "flying bombs" and rockets. The British War Office starts recruiting officers fluent in the necessary technical fields, as well as German, Dutch, and/or French--the languages of the Nazi-occupied countries from which the Germans are recruiting technical personnel. The screenplay follows two tracks: the Germans' progress with their new aerial weaponry, and the progress of the Allied infiltrators--chiefly Yank George Peppard, chirpy Englishman Jeremy Kemp, and Dutchman Tom Courtenay--sent to penetrate the V2 project.

Despite the resemblance between the Navarone caves and the underground V2 launch center, Crossbow is something of an anti-Navarone. Its heroes are resolutely small-scale, and the mission is fraught with more opportunities for horrible miscues and moral-ethical murkiness than commando derring-do. The most memorable, indeed disturbing, part of the film involves Sophia Loren as the apolitical wife of a collaborator she doesn't know has been killed (and his identity assumed by Peppard). John Mills and Trevor Howard are deliciously deadpan trading war-council flapdoodle at the highest echelon, and Anthony Quayle (the spiritual leader of the Navarone mission) does yeoman service in a tricky role. Time--or rather, the transfer to video--has also been kind to the film's thin, overlit Metrocolor and last-reel special effects, which looked feebler on theater screens. The writers include Michael Powell's longtime partner Emeric Pressburger (under the pseudonym Richard Imrie). --Richard T. Jameson

Special Features

Featurette: Vintage Featurette A Look Back at CrossbowFeaturette: Vintage Featurette A Look Back at Crossbow

Product Details

  • Actors: Sophia Loren, George Peppard, Trevor Howard, John Mills, Richard Johnson
  • Directors: Michael Anderson
  • Writers: Richard Imrie, Derry Quinn, Ray Rigby, Duilio Coletti, Vittoriano Petrilli
  • Producers: Carlo Ponti
  • Format: Color, Closed-captioned, Dubbed, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: December 19, 2006
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JP3T
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,237 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Operation Crossbow" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
With a terrific international cast and excellent effects, this fast-paced thriller about spies infiltrating a German rocket installation is entertaining, and though much of the antics are improbable, especially in the final sequence, it does have a historical context to it. There was an Operation Crossbow, when Winston Churchill (well played by Patrick Wyman) was concerned about what misslies and rockets the Nazis were making.
The V-1 "Buzz Bomb" was a nightmare for those living in London in the summer of '44, and perhaps the most gripping part of the film is its depiction of London being hit with these dreaded missiles, with some amazing cinematography by Erwin Hillier.
George Peppard is a smooth spy, and does many scenes speaking German, though he looks 100% American, perhaps because of the hat he wears pushed back on his head, which would have been a givaway had he really been in enemy territory.
Richard Johnson is wonderful as Duncan Sandys, who believes action is imperative and that "in war, decisions almost always have to be made on incomplete knowledge; if you wait until you're certain, you're sure to be too late", and goes against Trevor Howard as Professor Linderman, who is not convinced that the situation is serious, or even exists.
(Duncan Sandys was Churchill's son-in-law, and not a very popular fellow with the RAF, because he thought the future of air warfare was in missiles and rockets, and not in manned flight).
Other top-notch actors are Sophia Loren looking beautiful, Tom Courtenay, John Mills, Jeremy Kemp, Anthony Quayle, Richard Todd, and Lilli Palmer marvelous as a resistance worker in Holland.
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Format: VHS Tape
This engrossing war drama places stars George Peppard and John Mills as trained sabatuers in an underground factory where V-1 and V-2 "Buzz-bomb" rockets were being manufactured in Germany during world war II. This gripping drama is as suspensefull as it is realistic. Their mission is to destroy Hitler's ability to manfacture those terrible incendiary rockets which were terrorizing London during the latter stages of the war. Sophia Loren, thinking her husband already dead, discovers George Peppard impersonating him, and the action accelerates from there. This movie has it all, romance, great suspense and special effects as well as a thrilling climax. Several scenes are in German with English subtitles, and as a high school German teacher, I found this a pleasant addition to the film. This movie has aged well since its release in 1965. Give it a try.
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Format: VHS Tape
I loved this film when it first came out in 1965 (keep in mind the war was over for fewer than 20 years at that point, so the public's collective memory of the V-1 and V-2 weapons was much crisper then). The movie is superbly cast, despite producer Carlo Ponti's insistence that wife Sophia Loren get top billing. Paul Henreid (Casablanca) has a minor, but important role as the general in charge of testing the flying bombs. Lili Palmer plays her usual anti-Nazi resistance role with great believability. George Peppard, young at this point, plays the role as the central allied saboteur -- ably assisted by Jeremy Kemp and Tom Courtenay. The Loren character (a mother of two looking for her Nazi-loving husband) is superimposed over the mission to penetrate the underground Nazi missile factory and destroy it. The photography is spectacular, with thoughtfully conceived dissolves and segues that look just as good today as they did in 1965. For anyone who remembers London during the blitz, this is a must-see. No doubt, it will produce chills. Buy this movie, before some dope in Hollywood decides to cut it out. They should only transfer it to DVD. It's a real treasure. Take the phone off the hook when you watch, so you're not distracted.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
In the same vein as "The Guns of Navarone" and "Where Eagles Dare" comes the 1965 WWII espionage movie "Operation Crossbow," which ranks among my personal favorites and will hopefully arrive soon on my favorite format - DVD.
With a stellar international cast this movie curiously gave Sophia Loren top-billing even though her role is little more than an extended cameo. It appears that the producer wanted to give the movie a greater appeal at the American box-office and so he asked his wife (Loren) to play the role of wife to the character which Peppard's character (an Allied agent) is impersonating. As such her appearance is unnecessary and feels tacked on (as it probably was).
But never matter, this is a solid war movie and the cast all handle their roles well. As far as stars go it's a virtual embarrassment of riches with the likes of Sir John Mills, Trevor Howard and Anthony Quayle (this time as a German agent) all performing admirably.
Taking as it's basis the development by Nazi Germany of the rocket technology that terrorized London in the closing days of the war this movie follows the initial British investigation into the possibility of a rocket threat (with Howard as the sceptic and Mills as the lead proponent), through the recruitment of German and Dutch speaking agents and on to the infiltration of the Germans underground bases.
It's all handled very well and is in fact a very handsome production with some excellent sets and locations. The suspense is also ratcheted up nicely in the closing minutes as the bombers close in on the base, looking and looking for the agents on the ground to "light" the target.
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