Guns of Navarone was an extremely popular Anglo-American movie, released in 1961 and directed by J. Lee Thompson. The film utilizes some of the most famous actors of the time, including Gregory Peck, James Robertson Justice, David Niven, and Anthony Quinn. The film was based on Alistair MacLean’s novel, The Guns of Navarone. Guns of Navarone was wildly popular upon its release; it grossed more than $28 million at the worldwide Box office and became one of the top two films of 1961. The plot is simple, focusing on an Allied commando team’s efforts to defeat Nazi Germany, during World War II.
The film was released during a time period of great global unrest. The United States was in the middle of the Vietnam War and American’s fear of other cultures rose along with global distaste for American involvement in conflict. Global relations were stressed and America was loosing ground in the race for dominance in the world stage. The Guns of Navarone served to reinvigorate the American people in their zeal for wartime and reaffirm American status and power in the world. The main character and leader of the crew, Mallory, is American and represents the United States’ natural place at the forefront of the war effort. The group, led by an American, is trying to save a group of stranded British soldiers on an island near Navarone. This helpless placement of the powerful British army and the ease with which the group dominates all other non-American foes clearly makes a statement of American power and dominance.
The Guns of Navarone also focused on working together with other cultures that have similar values. The film built on the variation in the action genre focusing on a team of specialists each of whom brings his or her personal skill to a dangerous mission. The Guns of Navarone was among the first of the “global productions” that started in the ’60s and continue to this day. With a characters and cast assembled from a variety of nations (the U.S., England, Mexico, Greece, Ireland and Wales), the film was designed to have the widest possible appeal at the international box office, but also sent a message of cooperation to the United States allies. This statement was essential during this time period due to the almost universal distrust and disenchantment with the United States across the world, even among the United States’ supposed allies.
The universal appeal of the action genre, the diverse cast, and the broad, global advertisement base allowed The Guns of Navarone to be a worldwide statement of allied unity and American pride. Unity and cohesive attitudes were essential during this time of war in the United States. Even its own people were rejecting the Vietnam War, its goals, and its methods of combat utilized by US troops. The United States needed support from its people and also any global support systems in order to further their goals in Vietnam.