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Operation Crossbow

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Product Details

  • Actors: Trevor Howard, Sophia Loren, George Peppard
  • Directors: Michael Anderson
  • 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 (59 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JP3T
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,864 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Operation Crossbow" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Vintage featurette: "A Look Back at Crossbow"
  • Theatrical trailer

Editorial Reviews


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

Product Description

A fearsome rumor reaches Britain's World War II command. The Nazis are developing rocket technology that could rain death on London and, then, New York. Quickly, England develops a plan to send saboteurs into the sites manufacturing the rockets. Just moments after the carefully chosen commandos parachute into the drop zone, their pilot receives an urgent message. The mission may be compromised. Abort. Operation Crossbow is the partly fact-based tale of how that team succeeded against daunting odds. Michael Anderson (The Dam Busters, Logan's Run) directs, guiding a huge cast in a film that builds to a spectacular finale, yet never neglects war's unsparing personal costs. As a record of a wartime espionage incursion and as an intrigue-filled thriller, Operation Crossbow is on both counts Operation Accomplished.

DVD Features:
Featurette:Vintage Featurette A Look Back at Crossbow
Theatrical Trailer

Customer Reviews

With a great cast including George Peppard, Trevor Howard, Sophia Loren.
The special feature is not so much of a documentary as it is an extended advertisement for the film.
Kevin R. Austra
This movie has it all, romance, great suspense and special effects as well as a thrilling climax.
Richard S. Garris

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Alejandra Vernon HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 30, 2004
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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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Richard S. Garris on February 2, 2000
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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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 23, 1999
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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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Rob on June 12, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
I've been a War movie fan for decades. One of the first I remember is seeing Hell is for Heroes when I was eight. Yet somehow, until recently, I was totally unaware of Operation Crossbow. I assumed it would be a low-budget affair of little consequence. To my delight, I was totally wrong and found it to be a rare gem of Mid-Sixties War Cinema.

From what is said about the film, we learn it didn't do well at the box office. Some claim it was a lackluster script, some even blame the title (which I think is great). I won't talk about why I'm sure the movie didn't do well now, but I will save that for the last paragragh because if you haven't seen it, it will spoil the suspense. Rest assured it does not have a bad script! In fact, it is VERY well done in examining the un-uniformed secret men and women who fought with incredible distinction in WWII. I couldn't help but be reminded of the various escapades from the book, A Man Called Intrepid, and would recommend that for further reading for anyone who is interested in Operation Crossbow.

Technically, OC is better than The Guns of Navarone. Yes, that's right and I stand by that statement! The program for Germany's V-1, V-2, and impending "New York Rocket" is convincingly portrayed. The sets are worthy of a top-notch 007 film and I have to admit, when the lady pilot rode the V-1 in a death-defying research flight, I was cheering her on until I came to my senses and thought, "Oh great, now they can kill thousands of innocent women and children!". George Peppard and cast are excellent, restraining melodramatic acting from penetrating their highly dramatic situation. Sophia Loren is an absolute knock-out, but is in a supporting role, which must have disappointed fans seeing her name on top in the cast list.
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