THE GUNS OF NAVARONE (1962)
The mission: To blow up two huge guns and allow trapped Allied forces to escape from a neighbouring island…
Here’s the deal: the Nazis have built two guns so huge you could drop Blofeld down them and they’re going to use them to blow the shit out of Allied shipping in the Aegean Sea... and probably other seas too, if they've got the energy. Luckily the Brits have a suavely moustachioed ace up their sleeve in David Niven’s explosives expert, a band of hardnut commandos (Gregory Peck, Stanley Baker, Anthonys Quinn and Quayle) and some salty Greek partisans to help get them into Navarone. There’s a wounded man and a Jerry turncoat – because there’s always one – plus a massive German manhunt to dodge, but their pluck and derring-do sees them home. A wartime hun’dinger.
Lip-stiffening moment: The badly wounded (and nicknamed) ‘Lucky’ Franklin (Quayle) demands the “leave me behind” role when the band escape the Nazis’ clutches. “You can buy me lunch in Simpsons when this is all over,” Niven tells him, not letting his comrade’s mortal wounds get in the way of a free meal.
Good German? Wehrmacht officer Walter Gotell reminds the captured band that he’s not one of those evil SS types, before immediately finding some people who are.
Cultural significance: No art is saved, but the geography of Greece is altered slightly.