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Literature / The Guns of Navarone

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"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 novel by Alistair MacLean published in 1957, and more famously a classic 1961 film adaptation written by Carl Foreman and directed by J. Lee Thompson.

The events depicted take place during World War II 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.

MacLean wrote a lesser-known sequel (to the movie adaptation, not the original 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 Silas S. Warner and Hideo Kojima, the respective creators of Wolfenstein and Metal Gear, have cited as a source of inspiration for their games. And long before either, it also served as the namesake of one of Japan's earliest Shoot 'Em Up arcade games in 1980.

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.
  • Airstrike Impossible: Subverted, because the airstrike really is impossible.
  • Almighty Janitor: Andrea, Captain Mallory's trusty second-in-command. In the book, the reader finds out at the end that Andrea is actually a Colonel, and significantly outranks the Captain. He just doesn't like giving orders.
  • America Won World War II
    • Averted in the film. The team consisted of an American (Mallory), two Brits (Franklin and Miller), two Greeks (Stavros and Pappadimos) and one person of unknown nationality ("Butcher" Brown, played by Welshman Stanley Baker).
    • Zigzagged in the book, as Mallory was from New Zealand (and based on the real world George Mallory, a Brit who died in 1924 while trying to conquer the Everest) and Miller was the American. The film kind of falls in this trope as it has the higher-ranking character switched to American.
  • Amputation Stops Spread: In the book, one of Major Franklin's legs is broken during the climb up the cliffs and gangrene later sets in. The team leaves him with the Germans and the leg is amputated to prevent the gangrene from spreading to the rest of his body and killing him.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: "The gangrene's past the knee, isn't it, sir?" In the book, Andy Stevens uses this to convince his teammates to abandon the idea of No One Gets Left Behind.
  • Attack Hello: When Maria meets her brother Spiro (who had been in America for many years), she slaps him as a reminder to write more often.
  • Authority in Name Only: Andrea is the highest ranking member of the team, but he defers command to Franklin and later Mallory, on the grounds that since the regiment he once commanded no longer exists, his rank of Colonel is meaningless.
  • Badass Teacher: In the film, Corporal Miller was a former chemistry teacher.
  • The Big Guy: In the book, Andrea is described as a "giant". He's also The Lancer to Mallory.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: The film has many scenes where characters speak in non-English languages with no translation.
    • Captain Mallory talks on the phone in German with the Nazi guard commander while pretending to be a Nazi sentry.
    • 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.
    • The wedding scene
      • The waiter speaks in Greek to one of the German soldiers.
      • A German soldier speaks in German to his comrades.
      • Spyros Pappadimos sings a Greek wedding song in Greek.
    • When the party arrives at the monastery, Maria speaks to the priest in Greek.
    • When the group pretends that their vehicle is broken down so they can steal another one, Captain Mallory talks to the soldiers in German.
    • In the scene where the Germans are interrogating Major Franklin, the Commandant and Sessler speak to each other in German. Later on, the surgeon who will operate on Franklin speaks in German to the Commandant.
    • In the scene where Captain Mallory kills the two sentries, the sentries talk to each other in German several times.
    • When the Commandant receives the message that the Guns have been captured by the saboteurs, he and his officers speak to each other in German.
    • The officers and personnel searching for and removing the saboteurs' planted explosives are all speaking German.
    • The scene of the Guns being prepared and fired has the commander's instructions to the gun crews given and passed along in German.
  • 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 (repeatedly saying "I swear!"). 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.
  • Bluff the Eavesdropper: the team is going over the plan when one of the main characters hands to the other a note that reads "Keep talking." The rest of the team keeps talking while Stavros sneaks over to the door catching the eavesdropper and pulling him into the room. It's the first sign that things may not be going as planned. In a darker variant, Mallory feeds disinformation to the loyal but badly injured Franklin, knowing that when Franklin is captured, the Germans will extract the disinformation and be decoyed.
  • Booby Trap: Realizing the Germans will find the bombs he's placed on the guns, Miller leaves a final bomb designed to go off when the shell hoist is used. It's used twice before the hoist is lowered enough to set off the charge.
  • 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.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: In the film, Mallory is indirectly responsible for the deaths of Andrea's wife and children, and the latter has sworn to kill him after the war is over. When Major Franklin suggests that Andrea might not wait until the end of the war, Mallory says that Andrea is willing to hold off as long as Mallory helps him kill Germans.
  • 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).
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The Australian squadron commander repeatedly uses the word "bloody."
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: The torture Anna was said to have undergone and Captain Sessler torturing a wounded Major Franklin in the film.
  • Cold Sniper: Andrea calmly uses a sniper rifle to shoot the commanding officer of the troops following them, then every soldier he sees taking command afterwards.
  • Collapsing Lair: The German fortress after the titular guns are destroyed.
  • Colonel Badass: Andrea Stavros — he's a former colonel in the Greek Motorized Infantry, and therefore technically outranks everyone.
  • Command Roster: In the film version, we have
  • Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: Spyros saving Brown when he freezes up during the fishing boat battle.
  • Cute Mute: Anna. It turns out she can talk perfectly well. Especially to Germans.
  • Dirty Coward: Andrea pretends to be this when captured, so the Germans will let their guard down around him. Anna is uncovered later to actually be one, and therefore a traitor.
  • Doomed Hurt Guy: Andy Stevens in the novel. His fate is pretty much sealed past a certain point.
  • Dream Team: Each member of the team is the best at what he does: killing, explosives, mountain climbing, being lucky, etc.
  • Driven to Suicide: Franklin tries to shoot himself so he won't slow the others down.
  • Dye or Die: In the book, Dusty Miller and Andy Stevens both have their hair dyed black so that they can pass for Greek fishermen, instead of the saboteurs they actually are. After the scene on the cliff, Captain Mallory notices that the rain is starting to wash the dye out of Stevens' hair, and is furious because their superiors supplied them with low-quality dye, which could cost a man his life if they were discovered. This was somewhat of a moot point, since Stevens was already half-dead from falling into a ravine, and they could no longer have passed for fishermen at this stage in the plan anyway.
  • Emerging from the Shadows: Maria in introduced in this manner.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: A German truck shoved over a cliff explodes while falling.
  • Expository Theme Tune. However, only the briefest snatch of the lyrics is heard. You can find them here.
  • Fan Disservice: The identity of the traitor in the group is confirmed when the back of Anna's dress is torn open to show that she had not been whipped like she claimed. This also shows that she wasn't wearing a bra. And then they shoot her.
  • A Father to His Men: Miller snidely suggests that Mallory play this part when he's trying to convince Mallory to shoot Anna.
  • Fear Is Normal: Lieutenant Andy Stevens, youngest and least experienced of Mallory's team, is secretly utterly terrified of just about everything to do with the mission, but mainly of not being good enough. Then while climbing the south cliff on Navarone, he's crippled in a fall and knows he's likely going to die. Eventually he admits his fear to the others, and is shocked (and relieved) by the response:
    Mallory: Now I know you are new to this game, Andy. Maybe you think I was laughing and singing all the way up that cliff? Maybe you think I wasn't scared? Well, I wasn't. "Scared" isn't the word; I was bloody well terrified. So was Andrea here. We knew too much not to be scared.
    Stevens: Andrea! (laughs painfully) Andrea! Scared! I don't believe it.
    Andrea: (gently) Andrea was afraid. Andrea is afraid. Andrea is always afraid. That is why I have lived so long. And why so many have died. They were not so afraid as I. They were not afraid of everything a man could be afraid of, there was always something they forgot to fear, to guard against. But Andrea was afraid of everything and he forgot nothing. It is as simple as that. (looks at Stevens) There are no brave men and cowardly men in the world, my son. There are only brave men. To be born, to live, to die, that takes courage enough in itself, and more than enough. We are all brave men and we are all afraid, and what the world calls a brave man, he, too, is brave and afraid like all the rest of us. Only he is brave for five minutes longer. Or sometimes ten minutes, or twenty minutes, or the time it takes a man sick and bleeding and afraid to climb a cliff.
  • Feed the Mole: Or feed one of their men they have to leave behind and know he will be captured and interrogated.
  • The Film of the Book
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Miller and Major Franklin, who assumes this is the case with Mallory and Andrea. Subverted when Mallory reveals that Andrea plans to kill him after the war.
  • First-Name Basis:
    Miller: Colonel Stavros...
    Stavros: Andrea.
  • Flare Gun: A German soldier uses one to mark Andrea's sniping position.
  • Forced Friendly Fire: During the battle aboard the fishing boat, Andrea wrestles with a German sailor and twists him around, making him fire his gun, hitting and killing the German patrol boat captain.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The Expository Theme Tune says the guns will be blown up. The movie tells how.
  • Gender Flip: The two male resistance fighters in the book become women in the film. One of them says her father was the group's intended contact until he was arrested as a nod to this.
  • Genre Deconstruction: In the film, of the "crack military team sent behind enemy lines" genre. One senses the influence of blacklisted writer/producer Carl Foreman in this matter. The novel is a fairly straightforward adventure yarn.
  • 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.
  • Hand Signals: Multiple examples:
    • When the German ship commander orders Mallory to "lower your sails," Mallory gives the order to do so in Greek while making a downward gesture.
    • Lieutenant Muesel gives a "stop" signal to his troops when they're approaching the wedding party.
    • Inside a tavern, a Greek Resistance member gives one to a bartender to turn out the light.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Mallory says he's worried they're going to wake up one day and find out they're worse than the enemy.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Anna is killed by one, and the gun makes little more than a pop.
  • Intermission: The Blu-ray release can be played with or without the intermission.
  • I Will Only Slow You Down
    • Major Franklin after his leg is broken.
    • 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.
  • 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.
    Sessler: I want an answer now! Otherwise I shall personally rearrange this officer's splints!
  • 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.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The German patrol boat lieutenant gets skewered with a piece of wreckage from his own ship in the book.
  • Karma Houdini: Sessler never really gets a proper comeuppance. He isn't even in the German base when it gets destroyed. He is killed in the book, though.
  • Lodged-Blade Recycling: Brown is killed this way by the German sailor he knifed.
  • Look Behind You: When Brown confronts a German sailor on the small boat, the sailor tries this on him. It only works for a moment, then Brown knifes him.
  • Making the Choice for You: It's clear that The Mole must be killed if the operation is to succeed. Despite this, Captain Mallory is reluctant to do so, but The Mole is killed by Maria before he can execute her.
  • 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.
      Mallory: [to Baker] I just saved your life.
  • Mutual Kill
    • While attempting to steal a boat, Brown and the German sailor on guard duty stab and kill each other.
    • The shootout in Athens culminates in Pappadimos and the German colonel in charge pumping each other full of holes. The latter succumbs first, as the former managed to tell Stavros to continue the mission without him.
  • 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 honor.
    • 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.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Gregory Peck is apparently playing an Englishman, but speaks with his normal voice.
  • 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.
  • Permission to Speak Freely: In the movie, Corporal Miller uses it with Major Franklin.
  • Pin-Pulling Teeth: Andrea does this in the final battle; unfortunate for a movie that generally speaking tries for accuracy.
  • Plot Armor: The explosions that blew up and sank the German patrol boat parked right alongside the old, wooden boat, should've also sank or set fire to the commandos' boat, and the explosions would've even maimed and killed the entire team.
  • 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.
  • Psycho for Hire: "Butcher" Brown (AKA "The Butcher of Barcelona"), in the Back Story of the mission. Though it's more "to order" than "for hire", what with him being in the military.
  • Pulling the Thread: Miller does this excellently to relate who The Mole is. It all culminates in him pointing out that no one has ever actually seen the whip marks on her back Ana claims to have.
  • Red Herring: When Nicolai is caught eavesdropping outside the door, Major Baker agrees to have him locked up, but only under protest as he thinks Mallory is being paranoid. When the Germans are shown to have foreknowledge of the mission, they assume that Baker has gone back on his word and had Nicolai released. Turns out the Germans have a Double Agent in their reception party.
  • Remonstrating with a Gun: Mallory once he's had enough of Miller's attitude.
    Mallory: You've got me in the mood to use this thing, and by God, if you don't think of something, I'm going to use it on you!
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Andrea, though the end of the movie implies that as far as Mallory is concerned, he's willing to forgive.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Anne first appears as a short-haired figure in a trenchcoat creeping around in the dark, who gets knocked out and dragged (facedown) into their midst.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Butcher Brown, who has been fighting the fascists since the Spanish Civil War. He's seen so much death and killed so many people that he's losing his edge, becoming hesitant in combat. This ultimately gets him killed.
  • Showdown at High Noon: The gun battle between Spyros Pappadimos and a German officer. Both kill each other.
  • Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers!: Corporal Miller uses his cynicism as a means of avoiding responsibility for they kinds of decisions the need to be made in wartime. Captain Mallory calls him on it.
  • Single Tear: Anna gives out one, when Mallory asks her if he was right to sacrifice Franklin. It later turns out she had other reasons for crying.
  • Sound-Only Death: Mallory tells the others how Andrea Stavros killed a roomful of Germans — entering disguised as a collaborator, breaking the lightbulb, then after the shots and screams had died down, he comes out the door covered in blood.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: A woman on the radio croons a German love song as Mallory kills the sentries in a bunker.
  • Spared by the Adaptation
    • Major Franklin, whose counterpart Andy Stevens in the original book died.
    • Sessler, whose counterpart Skoda in the book also died.
  • Spy Speak:
    • "High Flight reports Indians on warpath in your territory."
    • When Mallory talks over a captured German radio, he ends up setting the Nazis on their trail, as he didn't include the proper code words (Which he didn't know, because he had killed the radio's owner) in the message. He knew that would happen, but felt he had to take the call because not answering at all would have set the Germans on their trail even faster.
  • Standard Hollywood Strafing Procedure: During the Stuka attack, a dive bomber tries to strafe the fleeing heroes.
  • Steel Ear Drums: Averted when the guns' loading crews, just before the firing, form up in ranks and on order cover their ears and open their mouths.
  • Stuka Scream: Justified as they are being attacked by Stukas.
  • Take My Hand!: Andrea with Mallory (climbing the cliff) then a Bookend with Mallory holding out a boot hook to a drowning Andrea. In both cases, the rescued party is surprised the other did it.
  • Tanks, but No Tanks: The Germans use US tanks, half-tracks, armored cars, and howitzers (presumably belonging to the American-supplied Greek military).
  • They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!: Andrea Stavros is the Colonel of a now-defunct Greek regiment. He goes into Navarone as a squad member, and wants everyone to know it.
    Mallory: I think you should all know that Mr Stavros is Colonel Stavros of the Greek 19th Motorized Regiment. In other words, he outranks us all.
    Stavros: It is of no consequence, the 19th regiment no longer exists.
    Miller: Colonel Stavros...
    Stavros: Andrea.
  • Throw a Barrel at It: During the battle at sea, Andrea throws a barrel at a German sailor.
  • Throwing the Distraction: A thrown piton, a knife blade scraping along a rock, and a shout are used to distract the clifftop guard, then maneuver him into position to be killed.
  • Title In: The current time and day of the mission, occurs each day.
  • Token Good Teammate: Lt. Muesel, who tries to stop Sessler from torturing Franklin.
  • Toplessness from the Back: Not played for fanservice as Anna's unmarked back proves she's lying about having been tortured by the Germans.
  • 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.
  • Ultimate Job Security: It's doubtful that Miller's chronic insolence would have been tolerated if it wasn't for the fact that he was the only man on the team capable of blowing the guns.
  • War Is Hell: Every win comes at a price. The line which separates right and wrong becomes very blurry in pursuit of victory. After the team escapes captivity, the Nazis torch the village of Mandrakos. Imagine what they will do to every village in Navarone now that the guns are destroyed. Finally, Butcher Brown suffers Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after his combat in the Spanish Civil War.
  • 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. Maria herself is seen to stagger for a moment in shock after killing Anna.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: The 'Australian' accent of the squadron commander doesn't sound like anything heard in Australia.
  • 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.
  • What You Are in the Dark: While helping Andrea up the cliff, Mallory slips and falls off the ledge, and Andrea catches him. Mallory freezes, knowing that Andrea - who has sworn to kill him after the war - could drop him then and there and no one on the team would question it was an accident. The look on Andrea’s face shows that he's seriously considering it... then he nods to the rope and swings Mallory over so he can grab it. When he kills Mallory, he'll do it openly.
  • Worthy Opponent: Both the novel and the film lampshade that the team has their work cut out for them, because the Germans occupying Navarone are well-trained, ruthless, and completely professional.
    • Jensen tells Mallory that because the Germans believe the southern cliffs to be insurmountable, they don't bother to post sentries at the summit. He's wrong, as Mallory finds out when he reaches it.
    • When the guard post calls the sentry to demand why he hasn't reported in, Mallory answers the phone and replies in fluent German, but because he fails to give the right code word, the guard post scrambles a patrol immediately.
    • In the novel, Captain Muesel is suspicious of the wounded Andy lying underneath blankets, and carefully approaches him and yanks off the covers to make sure he isn't concealing a weapon.
    • At the end of the film:
      Miller: To tell you the truth, I didn’t think we could do it.
      Mallory: To tell you the truth, neither did I.
  • 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.
  • You Just Told Me:
    • In the book, the saboteurs, who are posing as Greek fishermen, are confronted by a German caique. When the Germans tell them in English to lower the sails, Captain Mallory is terrified that the captain of their fishing boat and youngest member of the group, Lieutenant Andy Stevens, will fall for it and reply, because the fishermen they are posing as would not know English. Not only does Stevens stare at the German in utter incomprehension, when the man continues to give orders in English, the Lieutenant has the cheek to tell him (in Greek) that he doesn’t understand German and asks him to speak in his language.
    • Likewise when they catch the spy lurking outside the door during the Mission Briefing. Major Baker protests that he doesn’t speak English, so Miller orders Andrea to shoot him—and the man immediately bolts for the door.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: After being captured and tied up, Lieutenant Muesel says this about Mallory after refusing to tell him where the base radio is. He states Mallory wouldn't hesitate to shoot him under different circumstances, but he doesn't believe Mallory would shoot an unarmed prisoner for refusing to give up information. He's right.

Alternative Title(s): The Guns Of Navarone