First, you've got that bloody old fortress on top of that bloody cliff. Then you've got the bloody cliff overhang. You can't even see the bloody cave, let alone the bloody guns. And anyway, we haven't got a bloody bomb big enough to smash that bloody rock. And that's the bloody truth, sir.
- RAAF Squadron Leader Howard Barnsby
The Guns Of Navarone is a book by Alistair MacLean, published in 1957, and more famously a classic 1961 film adaptation. The events depicted take place during World War 2 but are entirely fictional. A contingent of British soldiers are stranded on an island in the Aegean Sea and rescue by ship is impossible due to the large battery of anti naval guns located at the cliffs of Navarone. Due to the embedded position of the guns in the cliffs, destroying them by air strikes proves impossible. A British major (Anthony Quayle) assembles a commando team and convinces a reluctant captain (Gregory Peck) to join. The movie chronicles the squad's attempt to sneak into Greece and blow the guns. Also stars David Niven and Anthony Quinn.It won the Academy Award for Best Visual effects. It was also nominated for, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Score (nominated but lost in same category for a Grammy as well), Best Sound, Best Writing Adapted Screenplay.Alistair MacLean wrote a lesser-known sequel novel, "Force 10 from Navarone", published in 1968. A film version, starring Robert Shaw, Harrison Ford and Edward Fox, was released in 1978.Also notable around these parts for being one of the films that Hideo Kojima, creator of the Metal Gear franchise, has cited as a source of inspiration for his games.
The Guns of Navarone provides examples of:
Adaptation Name Change: Several: Lt. Andy Stevens (Major Roy Franklin), Lt. Turzig (Lt. Muesel), Captain Skoda (Captain Sessler) the Greek resistance fighters Louki and Panayis (Maria Pappadimos and Anna), and, most notably, American corporal Dusty Miller becomes the very British John Anthony Miller.
Badass Teacher: In the film, Corporal Miller was a former chemistry teacher.
Bittersweet Ending: The guns are destroyed, the men on Kheros will be saved, and Andrea has forgiven Mallory. However, Brown and Spyros are dead, Franklin is crippled and a POW, and the people of Navarone will suffer for the team's success.
Blatant Lies: Andrea tells Oberleutnant Muesel he's just a fisherman who was captured by the others; meanwhile Muesel is flicking through some German intelligence photos showing the entire team including Andrea in his colonel's uniform.
Mallory tells Franklin their mission has been cancelled because an amphibious landing will take place instead. Supposedly this is to stop Franklin killing himself; it's actually to plant false information.
Blonde Guys Are Evil: Sessler, a really unpleasant little snot of an SS officer who has bleach-blonde hair.
The Butcher: "Butcher" Brown, AKA "The Butcher of Barcelona". Ironically Brown has become tired of the killing — this eventually gets him killed when he hesitates to finish off the sailor on the boat.
Cat Scare: The old "startled birds flying out of the cliff face" trick.
Chekhov's Gun: Losing the medical supplies in the shipwreck turns out to be important when Franklin's leg gets infected before they can get to a doctor.
The scars on Anna's back, which Maria has never seen because they don't exist.
Climb, Slip, Hang, Climb: Mallory slips while climbing only for Andrea to grab his hand. Mallory hangs in his grasp for a long moment, no doubt thinking about what Franklin suggested earlier — that Andrea might not wait for the end of the war to kill him.
Climbing the Cliffs of Insanity: The first obstacle for the team as they infiltrate Navarone. Mallory is chosen for the mission because in civilian life he is an accomplished mountaineer. He even uses the word "insane" when describing the idea of climbing them at all, let alone at night (and in the rain, as it turns out).
Gentlemen Rankers: Corporal John Miller by contrast is one of these. In civilian life, he is a university chemistry professor and is more than qualified to be an officer, but he chooses to remain an NCO because he doesn't want to have to face the command decisions that officers have to make.
Giant Wall of Watery Doom: During the landing on Navarone; this smashes the shipwrecked fishing boat before the team can take off all their equipment.
Good Cop/Bad Cop: Though played without deception — Muesel tries to convince the team to reveal where they've hidden the explosives before his colleague from the SS arrives.
Going Native: Well Spyros is a former native of Navarone, so maybe it doesn't count, but he forgets he's a former gangster turned SOE killer and goes out in a blaze of glory to avenge his own people. Andrea too decides to stay behind with Maria, forgoing his revenge on Mallory.
Hair Trigger Explosive: Subverted. While Corporal Miller is explaining how his gear has been sabotaged he holds up his time pencils and says "75 grains of fulminate of mercury in each of them, enough to blow my hand off. And very unstable, very delicate." He then ruthlessly crushes them. Instead of exploding, they do nothing - the traitor removed the fulminate of mercury.
Stevens, in the book, tries unsuccessfully to get frozen to death in the mountains because of this trope. Later, he convinces the others to leave him behind when the only way for them to escape the Germans is to leave behind a rearguard who will have no chance of survival.
If We Get Through This: Subverted in the film. When the team is about to leave the seriously wounded Major Franklin behind with the Germans, Corporal Miller says "When this is over, you'll buy me lunch." Major Franklin survives.
I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: When Mallory refuses to tell the Germans where the explosives are, and Andrea feigns ignorance, Sessler notices the injured Franklin. Seeing how worried Mallory is about him, he threatens to beat Franklin's wounded leg if they don't talk.
Karma Houdini: Sessler never really gets a proper comeuppance. He isn't even in the German base when it gets destroyed.
The Laws and Customs of War: Mallory gave a safe conduct pass so some Germans could take their wounded to a hospital. They wanted Andrea so badly that they shot their wounded, went to his house and blew it up, killing Andrea's family. Andrea holds Mallory responsible, and is only refraining from killing him while he's useful in killing Germans. Muesel however shows there are some German soldiers who do believe in rules.
Muesel: We don't make war on wounded men. We are not all like Hauptmann Sessler.
The Last Dance: Andy Stevens in the Devil's Playground, no longer afraid.
Lie Back and Think of England: Only about shooting a prisoner instead of sex - but with some sexual allusions in the scene because she's just had her dress torn apart and is sitting on the ground nervously trying to hold it up to keep herself covered.
A Million Is a Statistic: Mallory says Franklin being left behind to be tortured, possibly to death, is necessary to save the men on Kheros. Miller snaps back, "I don't know the men on Kheros, but I do know the man on Navarone!"
Murder Is the Best Solution: Comes up twice. First when Franklin gets a broken leg and the team must decide whether to execute him so he doesn't slow them down or get himself captured and interrogated. Later, when The Mole is revealed, Miller argues that their only chance of finishing the mission is to kill her. They do.
Averted with Muesel. Mallory contemplates killing him when he won't tell them where the radio is, but ultimately relents when Muesel tells him it'd be pointless.
Muesel: You wouldn't hesitate to kill me for any number of reasons. But not this one.
Very narrowly averted in the scene where Nicolai the laundry boy is caught spying on the group. Major Baker, who doesn't believe Nicolai is a spy, refuses to have him locked up, prompting Franklin to order Pappadimos to just shoot Nicolai. When a horrified Baker protests, Franklin adds, darkly, "And if the Major gets in your way, shoot him, too!" Only Mallory intervening prevents anybody from dying.
No One Gets Left Behind: In the book it's Stevens who gets dragged along with a broken leg; in the movie Franklin has the dubious honour.
Subverted in the book; early on, Miller realizes Stevens' leg is lethally infected with gas gangrene, so he's being carried to prevent the Germans capturing and interrogating him before he dies. (Also, it's implied that Mallory is hoping for a miracle of some sort.) Ultimately, when the only way for the team to escape the Germans and continue the mission involves a Heroic Sacrifice, Stevens has to pull a gun on the rest of the team to convince them that it's time to leave him behind.
Obfuscating Disability: Anna limps from an injury sustained during the strafing attack. Miller later points out that she's not limping any more, and she only did it to lag back so she could leave a message for the Germans.
Oblivious Mockery: The Australian bomber pilots cursing the man who sent them on their mission — he's actually in the room.
Pin-Pulling Teeth: Andrea does this in the final battle; unfortunate for a movie that generally speaking tries for accuracy.
Properly Paranoid: Andrea starts checking the room they're having their briefing in for listening devices, even though it's in the middle of a British army base. When Miller calls him on this, Andrea says that his caution is why he's still alive. Andrea later realizes there's a man listening at the door, proving his point.
Captain Mallory talks on the phone with the Nazi guard commander while pretending to be a Nazi sentry. The entire dialogue between them is in German with no translation (but from their facial expressions and intonations you can generally figure out what they're saying).
When the Nazi E-boat stops the fishing boat the protagonists are on, Captain Mallory pretends to be the skipper and speaks in Greek to both the E-boat captain and his own crew. Again, he uses gestures and facial expressions to make his meaning clear to the audience.
Red Herring: The mission isn't blown by the spy they catch while at the British base, but by The Mole.
Truffaut Was Right: Many of the actors signed on because they saw the movie as being a brutal antiwar movie. Audiences almost always see the movie as being about the excitement and heroism of war rather than the waste.
Truth Serums: The Germans use scopolamine on Major Franklin.
War Is Hell: The Germans' ruthlessness, Butcher Brown's PTSD.
We Need a Distraction: Franklin is given false information so most of the garrison will move over to the other side of the island to defend against a non-existent landing. Andrea and Spyros stir up trouble in the town itself.
When captured, Andrea causes the Germans to underestimate him by pretending to break down in fear. When the guards holding them at gunpoint are sent to pick him up off the floor, he and the other members of the team disarm their captors.
What Have I Done: Miller has this expression when, after goading Mallory to kill Anna, Mallory nearly does it, and Maria actually does.
What the Hell, Hero?: Miller blasted Mallory for giving Franklin false info about the mission which he hoped he would feed to the Nazis in case they torture him. Mallory blasts back by pointing out that someone has to take responsibility and make tough choices and Miller's outrage is really about his refusal to accept that responsibility.
Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Miller taunts Mallory over how he's less willing to be coldly pragmatic when the victim is a beautiful woman. Stung, Mallory goes to shoot Anna. Miller moves to stop him, then Maria makes it easy for everyone by shooting her himself.