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Film Studies 101
Feature
12 Classic World War II Capers (Better Than The Monuments Men)
Men. Missions. Mayhem.

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Though it's a throwback to simpler times when movie stars queued up to give Jerry a thump on the kisser, The Monuments Men has a more high-falutin’ agenda than most wartime capers. While George Clooney and pals set out to save liberated Europe’s cultural prizes from Hitler and his band of goose-stepping morons, earlier Hun-bashing capers were breezier affairs, and here are a dirty dozen examples to prove it. Whether dressed up as a thriller, actioner or simply disguised as a narrow-eyed Nazi like Clint in Where Eagles Dare, here are some of the men-on-a-mission war flicks you should seek out.

WORDS PHIL DE SEMLYEN
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THE GUNS OF NAVARONE (1962)

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.

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Your Comments

1 Is that Klinger....
From MASH, on the extreme left of the Guns of Navarone shot? More

Posted by Alohomora on Tuesday February 25, 2014, 19:17

2 Love them all
I can't pass any of these movies when they appear on TV, which is why I have seen them all 4 trillion times More

Posted by Paddy Kieran on Tuesday February 18, 2014, 13:51

3
The Sea Wolves More

Posted by petebonnici on Tuesday February 18, 2014, 09:22

4 where's Quentin
No inglorious, you don't get much more " caperlike" than wiping out the entire Nazi Elite, " Dri Beir Bitter " More

Posted by findogask on Monday February 17, 2014, 17:20

5 Wot no Hannibal Brooks?
Hannibal Brooks was a fun war caper as was Escape to Athena, Wild Geese and A Bridge to Far. Ok so Wild Geese was a tad depressing but the others certainly had their funny, breezy moments More

Posted by klepto4 on Monday February 17, 2014, 13:30

6 Where Eagles Dare
The castle is really nice. Hohenwerfen More

Posted by Hans_Klopek on Monday February 17, 2014, 13:25

7 Where Ealges Dare!!
Greatest non Bond film a young boy can watch! More

Posted by Teamwak on Monday February 17, 2014, 13:14


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