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The Guns of Navarone (1961) Poster

Goofs

Continuity 

When Miller puts on his German uniform, the sleeves are too short. As the group leaves the German headquarters, his uniform fits perfectly.
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Jump to: Anachronisms (4) | Audio/visual unsynchronised (2) | Continuity (18) | Factual errors (12) | Miscellaneous (1) | Plot holes (1) | Revealing mistakes (18) | Spoilers (3)

Anachronisms 

After the team has scaled the cliff the Germans respond to an alarm jumping on trucks and driving towards the mountain. When driving off the you can clearly see printed Dodge on the back latch of one truck. Germans did not drive Dodge trucks in the second world war.
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The map featured at 7:10 into the film is a map showing the post war map with territorial boundaries of Germany and Poland that were not made and recognized until well after 1945.
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The tanks that are being used by the Nazis near Navarone are American M24 Chaffee light tanks. The M24 did not see service until 1944, but the story takes place in 1943.
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In the opening sequence at the airfield, Mallory looks out toward smoke rising from a crashed plane. The film takes place in 1943, but on the right side of the shot a c.1960 pick-up truck is clearly visible.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

Aboard the motorboat, Maria makes a statement directly to Andrea, leaving him room to answer her. In the audio, he answers, "Yes." In the video, he nods, and his mouth stays shut, lips not moving.
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When Anna regains consciousness at the ruins and sits up in fear, Maria grabs her and tells her, "They're friends - our friends." She then repeats the phrase "Our friends" in Greek, dubbed in on the soundtrack, while her lips clearly form the words "Our friends" in English.
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Continuity 

At the British Army base, when Franklin asks Pappadimos, "Do you have your silencer?" Pappadimos answers "Yes," and screws it onto the barrel of his gun. Yet he was shown doing that earlier, while the team was waiting for Major Baker at the pier.
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When James Darren has his final showdown with the German officer, there is a brief shot of the officer walking towards Darren prior to either firing. In this scene the officer's uniform already shows the bullet wounds which he has yet to receive.
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When the Mallory team arrives by boat at the British Army post at 1600 hours on the first day, Mallory clearly has his briefcase handcuffed to his right armed as it had been at the Middle East airfield office. A few minutes later, while walking around on the dock, waiting for Major Baker to arrive, the briefcase is clearly no longer on his right arm, but then reappears again on his right arm just a few seconds later.
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A grenade is thrown from the fishing boat into the Nazi patrol boat while they are right next to each other. In the next shot, when the patrol boat blows up, it is shown from a greater distance, and the fishing boat is nowhere in evidence.
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Mallory and Anna sit together when Mallory has taken the first watch. In the first closeup (from Mallory's side) she has no tears on her cheeks, but in the opposite shot (from Anna's side) there are tears on her cheeks.
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Miller (David Niven) places a fake rat on the right cannon before jumping into the water. However, when the German soldier discovers it he plucks it from the left cannon.
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In the shot establishing the outdoor cafe, a waiter is seen serving two men at a table. This exact shot is used again later to establish that the action has returned here. Other shots a re-used as well.
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There is a close-up of the bride dancing in a circle during the wedding that is re-used a second time.
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When Stavros rips open Anna's dress to look for the scars on her back, medal ribbons appear and disappear on his uniform between shots.
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When Miller goes to tell Mallory about Franklin's injuries, Pappadimos and Brown are seen in the background standing by the unconscious Franklin, and Pappadimos starts to turn to his left to go to pick up his rifle. But in the close-up, as Brown expands on Miller's description of Franklin's medical needs, Pappadimos is suddenly back standing next to Brown, then turns to his right to go retrieve his gun.
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When Mallory is dangling from the cliff, he is repeatedly shown using his left hand to hold on to Andrea. However, in a couple of long shots, Mallory is shown using his right hand to hold on to Andrea. It would have been impossible for Mallory to change hands without falling off the cliff.
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The steering wheel on the second truck the saboteurs hijack and use throughout the remainder of the film, is on the right, indicating it is a British, not German, vehicle. But in the scene immediately following their taking the truck, as Maria, Mallory and Andrea watch the bombing of the nearby town from the truck's cab, the steering wheel is suddenly back on the left.
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As Mallory and Miller are carrying explosives towards the guns building, just before they close the steel doors, their shadows change from being almost underneath them to being well to one side.
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The ascent of the cliff and most of the action atop it all take place in a driving rain, but when Andrea throws the German sentry off the cliff in the midst of the storm, there is no rain at all.
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In the briefing about the mission, Mallory is seen examining a photograph of the cliff on Navarone. The shot looking at the photo shows him holding it in his left hand, with a magnifying glass in his right. But in the shot immediately following, of Mallory at the table, he is holding a cigarette, not the magnifying glass, in his right hand.
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In the prologue, the guns are shown firing, and as they do large clouds of smoke are emitted all around the bases of the guns. But after a couple of seconds the smoke abruptly disappears and the area is clear again.
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In the wedding scene, Anna wears a blue checked dress. In a few of the following shots, the dress seems to change to a black color. This could be a lighting or film stock artifact.
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After the team has landed on Navarone and scaled the cliff there is a meeting that occurs between Gregory Peck and Stanley Baker regarding Baker's failure to kill one of the Germans that boarded the team's boat on their way to Navarone. Peck refers to Baker's failure as occurring "this afternoon" when, in fact, a night separates the encounter with the German patrol boat and the time of this discussion.
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Factual errors 

When the Germans are searching the gun positions for explosives, German soldiers are using mine detection equipment and 'sweeping' the tracks leading up to the guns. This is a useless activity since the detection equipment is a metal detector and would give off a signal due to the steel rails.
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In the opening moments, the guns of Navarone are shown firing interspersed with footage of ships sinking. One of the ships shown exploding is the British battleship HMS Barham, which was not hit by coastal artillery but was sunk after being torpedoed by a German U-boat.
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Starting about 1:00:10 into the film, the commandos encounter snow. The operation takes place in the Dodecanese Islands between September & November, 1943. It hardly snows at all in the Dodecanese Islands, let alone in Autumn.
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Oberleutnant Muesel calls SS officer Sessler by the rank of "Hauptmann". This is a German Army rank, equal to Captain, but was not used by the SS. The equivalent SS rank was "Hauptsturmführer," or "head storm leader". Further, Sessler's collar insignia appears to have only two stripes below the three pips, which is correct for an SS Obersturmführer, which was one rank lower. The insignia for an SS Hauptsturmführer had four white stripes below the three pips.
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Most of the "British" destroyers in the rescue convoy at the end of the film are American surplus WWII ships that had been transferred to the Greek navy.
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The 6x6 armored cars which appear repeatedly throughout the movie are not German SDKfZ series vehicles, but rather, American Ford M8 'Greyhound' armored cars, which were used by the Allies, but not the Germans. In addition, the tanks featured in the film appear to be American M24 Chaffee light tanks, which not only weren't in service in Germany, but did not enter production until 1944.
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On the "2nd day, 07.30 hours" there is a scene on the boat at harbor in which Col. Stavros' shadow is directly beneath him, not off to the side as it would be at 7:30 am.
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When the Germans cut through the door into the gun tunnel, they only cut one of the two doors. By cutting out the wheel that pushed the locking rods up and down into the locking receptacles, the locking rods are freed up so that one side can be opened. The top rod would naturally fall down and unlock, but the bottom rod would have to be pulled up out of its receptacle and held there while the door was being opened. However nobody is reaching through the hole to hold up that rod when the doors are opened (in reality the steel that was cut with the torch would be too hot for a while to do this, and they were in a great hurry to reach the guns before they were sabotaged). Furthermore, only one door was 'freed' yet both doors were opened at the same time, right after the wheel on the one door was cut out with a torch.
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During the boarding of the sail ship by a German patrol boat, you get a close view of the Ensign (flag) of the German ship. The flag is incorrectly designed; The position of the Swastika and the absence of the right number of lines.
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Most of the light cargo/utility vehicles (including the one dropped off the cliff) are not German in origin. The majority of the vehicles appear to be Dodge T214 and T215 series vehicles, manufactured in the USA, and passed on to the Allies through the Lend-Lease act - but not the Germans.
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"German" squad marching past in the British style (quick march, arms swinging high) when the allied team steals the truck after escaping from German custody.
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The guns are located high up on a cliff in a cave on the island of Navarone. It is evident from the gun carriages that the guns would be unable to depress (point down) enough to target vessels at sea that were somewhat close to the island. At a guess, the convoy of destroyers could likely have sailed by Navarone with impunity in navigable waters under 1,000 yards, and possibly up to a mile or more, from the guns, making the entire mission unnecessary.
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Miscellaneous 

Near the end the Germans search the fortress for explosives and one German is seen using a metal / mine detector over rail tracks!!.
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Plot holes 

Maria explains that Anna has been whipped by the Germans and has gruesome scars on her back. She also says that since then Anna has not spoken a single word. In a later scene, it becomes obvious that Maria has never seen these scars. There seems to be no realistic way of convincing Maria of the existence of these scars when Anna is not speaking.
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Revealing mistakes 

After the boat sinks and the unit is stranded on the island, Mallory begins to climb the cliff face. As the camera pans to the top, we see stars in the night sky above, even though it is raining profusely.
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At the start of the film, we see a plane coming in for a crash-landing on an air strip. As the plane heads in, we see another plane, which looks like a bomber, defying gravity and quite clearly suspending itself in mid air. A few moments later, as the plane lands, a second bomber is seen clearly suspended in mid-air.
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The "German" patrol boat that intercepts the team's decrepit fishing boat is actually a British HDML (Harbour Defence Motor Launch).
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When Major Mallory throws the first grenade at the German Patrol Boat, you can see the grenade still in the air as the explosion occurs.
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A number of instances of "screeching tires" sound effects when vehicles are on gravel roads.
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When the German patrol boat first stops alongside the fishing boat, and its captain calls out, "Lower your sails," the incorrect shot has been edited in: the German is clearly not speaking, and Mallory, instead of facing him, is looking back toward the stern, which he did not do until a few moments later when he speaks to his own crew in Greek.
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Following the "killing" of the previously 'mute' girl, it can be clearly seen she is still breathing as she lies on the ground. Slight movement of her back can be seen. My guess is, there was a mistake in her not realizing the camera on her was still rolling.
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When Mallory and Miller are sitting in the truck below the guns, they use a small flashlight to illuminate the map. As they move the flashlight across the map, the circle of light stops but the flashlight continues to move for a moment after the circle of light stops moving; Mallory quickly moves it back. This shows the flashlight is not the light source on the map.
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When the saboteurs push the captured German truck off the mountain road, a pyrotechnic triggering cable attached to the rear of the truck can be seen dragging across the road surface.
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On SS officer Sessler's uniform, shoulder boards, as well as the "German Eagle" emblem on upper left arm, are missing.
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When a German truck is driven to a spot where there is an ambush waiting, a grenade is thrown and the truck blows up. However, you can see the truck move slightly, where the film crew have moved the original truck, and then put in a dummy or mock-up truck which can be blown up.
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When the saboteurs in the Greek fishing boat attack the Germans on the patrol boat, a hand grenade is thrown at the German boat at the beginning of the attack, and the camera angle switches to view the grenade coming at it. An explosion occurs before the grenade lands in the spot where the grenade is clearly about to land and you can still see the grenade in flight for a split second after the explosion.
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When the German scout plane makes its final pass over the fishing boat, it's shown banking in toward the boat at a steep angle, low over the water, but in the very next shot it's flying straight and level directly over the boat, at a higher altitude and from a different direction.
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When Franklin starts to edge his way up the "chimney" in the cliff, at the very top two small figures can be seen looking down at him - presumably Mallory and Miller. But at the start of Franklin's climb, all the men are busy securing their equipment, and it is not until several moments later that first Mallory, then Miller, go over to the cliff's edge to check on Franklin.
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When the boat piloted by Maria is shown coming to pick up Mallory and Miller in the sea, the person seen operating the boat in the initial long shot is plainly not actress Irene Pappas, who played Maria.
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After the team arrive at the top of the cliff, the German headquarters telephones the sentry post at the top of the cliff. Failing in Mallory's attempt to fool the HQ officer, the officer triggers the alarm to send a patrol to the cliff top. When the troops file into the trucks and they drive away, there is clearly a DODGE brand name visible on the second trucks' tailgate. It is unlikely that the German army was purchasing their trucks in the states.
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During the storm scene where Anthony Quayle, Gregory Peck and later David Niven are in the fishing vessel's wheelhouse, the rainfall and sea spray seen gently dripping outside the rear window of the wheelhouse is always near a 90° angle to the floor despite the vessel pitching to the port and starboard sides and the fact that in a storm the action of the vessel, wind, rain and sea spray would be far more random.
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The mouth of the cave is much narrower than the cave itself. This would limit the the range and field of fire of the guns.
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Spoilers

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Continuity 

As Pvt. Spyros Pappadimos is shot a stone block is shifted along the top of the wall he slumps onto. When his body is shown a few moments later, the block is back in place.
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When Miller is slapping the grease on the pole, his hands are covered with a very thick layer of it, but when he puts the rat on the cannon supposedly a few minutes later, his hands are completely clean. There was not time to clean his hands so thoroughly.
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Revealing mistakes 

Obvious use of miniature fortress when it explodes in the climactic shot near the end of the film.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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