Grunts, Guns and Grenades: Great Commando Films

These are films featuring a small band tasked to carry out a mission against heavy odds.
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The Guns of Navarone (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A British team is sent to cross occupied Greek territory and destroy the massive German gun emplacement that commands a key sea channel. (158 mins.)
Director: J. Lee Thompson
“ Probably the best of the genre; tense thriller with great acting. You can feel the clock ticking away right to the end. ” - grendelkhan
Where Eagles Dare (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Allied agents stage a daring raid on a castle where the Nazis are holding an American General prisoner... but that's not all that's really going on. (158 mins.)
Director: Brian G. Hutton
“ Another great one from Alistair Maclaine. Commandos in search of a captured general. Their mission: get him out or silence him, but there are doublecrosses galore. Great cast. ” - grendelkhan
The Desert Rats (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Richard Burton plays a Scottish Army officer put in charge of a disparate band of ANZAC troops on the perimeter of Tobruk with the German Army doing their best to dislodge them. (88 mins.)
Director: Robert Wise
“ Not strictly a commando film, but commando missions are at the center. Richard Burton must lead a band of men on a raid behind German lines to harass them until the British are ready for a counteroffensive against Rommel. ” - grendelkhan
Force 10 from Navarone (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
During World War II, several oddly assorted military experts are teamed in a mission to raid and destroy a bridge vital to enemy strategy. (118 mins.)
Director: Guy Hamilton
“ Not a favorite of many, but it has its moments. I particularly enjoy the back and forth between Edward Fox and Robert Shaw. Harrison Ford is a bit too reserved here. ” - grendelkhan
The Devil's Brigade (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
An American colonel who has never been in combat is assigned to create a special forces unit from Canadian Army troops and a ragtag group of U.S. Army misfits. (130 mins.)
“ Again, not strictly a commando film, but it is a special forces unit, so it counts, in my book. Great cast, with a nice mix of comedy and drama. ” - grendelkhan
The Dirty Dozen (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A US Army Major is assigned a dozen convicted murderers to train and lead them into a mass assassination mission of German officers in World War II. (150 mins.)
Director: Robert Aldrich
“ A commando team of condemned prisoners. Copied by everyone under the sun, this is the original and the best. Lee Marvin is completely authentic. ” - grendelkhan
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a wookiee and two droids to save the galaxy from the Empire's world-destroying battle-station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader. (121 mins.)
Director: George Lucas
“ An odd choice, but the infiltration of the Death Star is a basic commando film staple. ” - grendelkhan
Raid on Rommel (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
Captain Foster plans on raiding German-occupied Tobruk with hand-picked commandos, but a mix-up leaves... (99 mins.)
Director: Henry Hathaway
“ It reuses footage and is rather far-fetched, but is carried on the strength of Burton and Wolfgang Preiss. If nothing else, it's a bit different. ” - grendelkhan
The Wild Geese (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A British banker hires a group of British mercenaries to rescue a deposed African president from the hands of a corrupt African dictator. (134 mins.)
“ Mercenary commandos, hired to free a deposed African ruler. Things don't work out as planned (as is usual in these things) and improvisation is essential. Steals quite a bit of plot from Forsyth's The Dogs of War. ” - grendelkhan
The Dogs of War (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Mercenary James Shannon, on a reconnaissance job to the African nation of Zangaro, is tortured and deported. He returns to lead a coup. (118 mins.)
Director: John Irvin
“ This adaptation of Forsyth is a bit shaky. It has some good moments and Walken carries things through the rough parts. Tom Berenger is a bit too over the top, but it is mostly satisfying. ” - grendelkhan
You Only Live Twice (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Agent 007 and the Japanese secret service ninja force must find and stop the true culprit of a series of spacejackings before nuclear war is provoked. (117 mins.)
Director: Lewis Gilbert
“ OK, really a spy film, but it has a pretty entertaining, if rather over-the-top commando mission in the climax. You can't beat modern (for the 60s) ninja commandos attacking a volcano fortress! ” - grendelkhan
Dark of the Sun (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A band of mercenaries led by Captain Curry travel through the Congo across deadly terrain, battling rival armies, to rescue $50 million in uncut diamonds. (100 mins.)
Director: Jack Cardiff
“ Another mercenary film, with a team sent via railway to rescue white mine workers from a Simba attack. This one gets pretty nasty and illustrates that the mercenaries aren't particularly heroic and the whites aren't exactly innocent victims. More complex than others of the mercenary genre. ” - grendelkhan
Krull (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
A prince and a fellowship of companions set out to rescue his bride from a fortress of alien invaders who have arrived on their home planet. (116 mins.)
Director: Peter Yates
“ A fantasy commando raid on an enemy fortress, to rescue a princess. Ken Marshall is pretty bland, but the supporting characters make up for it and the visual effects serve the story well. ” - grendelkhan
The Professionals (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
An arrogant Texas millionaire hires four adventurers to rescue his kidnapped wife from a notorious Mexican bandit. (117 mins.)
Director: Richard Brooks
“ A Western commando mission to rescue the kidnapped wife of a rich and powerful man. Lee Marvin puts together a team of specialists, including Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan, and Woody Strode. Great turn of the century stuff, where things aren't black and white. ” - grendelkhan
Kelly's Heroes (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A group of U.S. soldiers sneaks across enemy lines to get their hands on a secret stash of Nazi treasure. (144 mins.)
Director: Brian G. Hutton
“ A nice twist on the commando genre, with a group of opportunists out to steal some gold. Great character actors and Clint Eastwood. You can't get much better than that. ” - grendelkhan
Objective, Burma! (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A platoon of special ops are tasked to parachute into the remote Burmese jungle and destroy a strategic Japanese radar station, but getting out isn't as easy. (142 mins.)
Director: Raoul Walsh
“ Errol Flynn leads of band of men deep into enemy territory in Burma. Things don't quite work out and they have to go on the run. A bit of a departure for Flynn and war movies of the era. It has its overly patriotic parts, but never turns into a complete cartoon. ” - grendelkhan
The Heroes of Telemark (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
Norwegian resistance tries to stop German efforts to produce an atomic bomb component during World War II. (131 mins.)
Director: Anthony Mann
“ A combination of commandos and partisans attempt to sabotage the German nuclear program by destroying a heavy water plant. Plenty of cat and mouse and arguments about the moral nature of war. ” - grendelkhan
The Green Berets (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
Col. Mike Kirby picks two teams of crack Green Berets for a mission in South Vietnam. First off is to build and control a camp that is trying to be taken by the enemy the second mission is to kidnap a North Vietnamese General. (142 mins.)
“ About as one-sided as they come, and not strictly a commando film; but the second half fits squarely in that territory as the special forces team must capture a North Vietnamese general, deep in enemy territory. Mike Henry's death scene is beyond ridiculous but is a crowd favorite. Don't miss the imfamous sun setting in the East shot. ” - grendelkhan
Bravo Two Zero (1999 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
This is the true story of the most highly decorated British patrol since the Boer war: an eight man... (122 mins.)
Director: Tom Clegg
“ Based on the actual mission of the SAS patrol Bravo Two Zero. The group is tasked to carry out reconnaisance of the Iraqi scud sites, but things go sour quickly. There is plenty of debate about the accuracy of Andy McNab's book, but the film carries out the drama well. ” - grendelkhan
Raid on Entebbe (1976 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
True story of a daring Israeli commando assault on the Entebbe Airport in Uganda to free hostages of a terrorist hijacking. (145 mins.)
Director: Irvin Kershner
“ One of two films produced nearly simultaneously about the amazing Israeli rescue mission. Charles Bronson is his usual low key self, but there are plenty of great character performers, especially Yaphet Kotto as Idi Amin. ” - grendelkhan
Never So Few (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
During WW2, the American O.S.S. mounts covert operations against the Japanese army in the jungles of Burma. (125 mins.)
Director: John Sturges
“ Another that is more special forces than commando raid, but who cares? Frank Sinatra leads a combined group of American, Brits, and Kachins against the Japanese in Burma. They have to launch a strike against a Japanese base deep in enemy territory but also find that their supposed allies aren't exactly trustworthy. Nice performance by Steve McQueen. ” - grendelkhan
Tobruk (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A Canadian POW major is rescued by a special British military unit made up of Germans to help lead an attack on a major Nazi fuel depot in Tobruk, Libya. (107 mins.)
Director: Arthur Hiller
“ Decent little actioner, with Rock Hudson, George Peppard and Nigel Green. Commandos try to infiltrate and destroy the fuel dumps in Tobruk, as well as silence a gun emplacement. It owes a bit to Guns of Navarone, but it's a pretty exciting film on its own. Footage was later reused in Raid on Rommel. ” - grendelkhan
The Cockleshell Heroes (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
During WW2, German ships are "safely" docked upriver at Bordeaux, but the British send a team of kayakers to attack them. (97 mins.)
Director: José Ferrer
“ Directed by Jose Ferrer, this film dramatizes the Royal Marine raid on Bordeaux Harbour, using canoes. It has the luxury of the cooperation of the Royal marines. ” - grendelkhan
'Gung Ho!': The Story of Carlson's Makin Island Raiders (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
The true story of Carlson's Raiders and their World War II attack on Makin Island. (88 mins.)
Director: Ray Enright
“ Highly fictionalized account of the Makin Island raid, carried out by Carlson's Raiders. It was wartime, so propaganda overwhelms historical accuracy. The actual raid was a mixed bag, with major problems demonstrated and little strategic value. Carlson was better able to showcase his ideas at Guadacanal. ” - grendelkhan