A fearsome rumor reaches Britain's World War II command. The Nazis are developing rocket technology that could rain death on London and, then, New York. Quickly, England develops a plan to send saboteurs into the sites man... more »ufacturing the rockets. Just moments after the carefully chosen commandos parachute into the drop zone, their pilot receives an urgent message. The mission may be compromised. Abort. Operation Crossbow is the partly fact-based tale of how that team succeeded against daunting odds. Michael Anderson (The Dam Busters, Logan's Run) directs, guiding a huge cast in a film that builds to a spectacular finale, yet never neglects war's unsparing personal costs. As a record of a wartime espionage incursion and as an intrigue-filled thriller, Operation Crossbow is on both counts Operation Accomplished. DVD Features:
Featurette:Vintage Featurette A Look Back at Crossbow
Alejandra Vernon | Long Beach, California | 06/30/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"With a terrific international cast and excellent effects, this fast-paced thriller about spies infiltrating a German rocket installation is entertaining, and though much of the antics are improbable, especially in the final sequence, it does have a historical context to it. There was an Operation Crossbow, when Winston Churchill (well played by Patrick Wyman) was concerned about what misslies and rockets the Nazis were making.
The V-1 "Buzz Bomb" was a nightmare for those living in London in the summer of '44, and perhaps the most gripping part of the film is its depiction of London being hit with these dreaded missiles, with some amazing cinematography by Erwin Hillier.George Peppard is a smooth spy, and does many scenes speaking German, though he looks 100% American, perhaps because of the hat he wears pushed back on his head, which would have been a givaway had he really been in enemy territory.
Richard Johnson is wonderful as Duncan Sandys, who believes action is imperative and that "in war, decisions almost always have to be made on incomplete knowledge; if you wait until you're certain, you're sure to be too late", and goes against Trevor Howard as Professor Linderman, who is not convinced that the situation is serious, or even exists.
(Duncan Sandys was Churchill's son-in-law, and not a very popular fellow with the RAF, because he thought the future of air warfare was in missiles and rockets, and not in manned flight).Other top-notch actors are Sophia Loren looking beautiful, Tom Courtenay, John Mills, Jeremy Kemp, Anthony Quayle, Richard Todd, and Lilli Palmer marvelous as a resistance worker in Holland.
The film has a certain stylish slickness that it probably owes to the popularity of the James Bond films in the early '60s, and in the Bond tradition has many lovely ladies in all levels of the work force (even as a German engineer/test pilot) and lots and lots of action. A film that almost makes it to 5 stars but just misses the mark, it still makes fine viewing, with some history (though a little jumbled) thrown in for good measure.
Total running time is 115 minutes."
Richard S. Garris | Berlin, New Hampshire | 02/02/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This engrossing war drama places stars George Peppard and John Mills as trained sabatuers in an underground factory where V-1 and V-2 "Buzz-bomb" rockets were being manufactured in Germany during world war II. This gripping drama is as suspensefull as it is realistic. Their mission is to destroy Hitler's ability to manfacture those terrible incendiary rockets which were terrorizing London during the latter stages of the war. Sophia Loren, thinking her husband already dead, discovers George Peppard impersonating him, and the action accelerates from there. This movie has it all, romance, great suspense and special effects as well as a thrilling climax. Several scenes are in German with English subtitles, and as a high school German teacher, I found this a pleasant addition to the film. This movie has aged well since its release in 1965. Give it a try."
Best film about Nazi sabotage of its era I've ever seen
Richard S. Garris | 01/23/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I loved this film when it first came out in 1965 (keep in mind the war was over for fewer than 20 years at that point, so the public's collective memory of the V-1 and V-2 weapons was much crisper then). The movie is superbly cast, despite producer Carlo Ponti's insistence that wife Sophia Loren get top billing. Paul Henreid (Casablanca) has a minor, but important role as the general in charge of testing the flying bombs. Lili Palmer plays her usual anti-Nazi resistance role with great believability. George Peppard, young at this point, plays the role as the central allied saboteur -- ably assisted by Jeremy Kemp and Tom Courtenay. The Loren character (a mother of two looking for her Nazi-loving husband) is superimposed over the mission to penetrate the underground Nazi missile factory and destroy it. The photography is spectacular, with thoughtfully conceived dissolves and segues that look just as good today as they did in 1965. For anyone who remembers London during the blitz, this is a must-see. No doubt, it will produce chills. Buy this movie, before some dope in Hollywood decides to cut it out. They should only transfer it to DVD. It's a real treasure. Take the phone off the hook when you watch, so you're not distracted."
Please release this entertaining WWII spy movie on DVD
Darren Harrison | Washington D.C. | 05/29/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the same vein as "The Guns of Navarone" and "Where Eagles Dare" comes the 1965 WWII espionage movie "Operation Crossbow," which ranks among my personal favorites and will hopefully arrive soon on my favorite format - DVD. With a stellar international cast this movie curiously gave Sophia Loren top-billing even though her role is little more than an extended cameo. It appears that the producer wanted to give the movie a greater appeal at the American box-office and so he asked his wife (Loren) to play the role of wife to the character which Peppard's character (an Allied agent) is impersonating. As such her appearance is unnecessary and feels tacked on (as it probably was). But never matter, this is a solid war movie and the cast all handle their roles well. As far as stars go it's a virtual embarrassment of riches with the likes of Sir John Mills, Trevor Howard and Anthony Quayle (this time as a German agent) all performing admirably. Taking as it's basis the development by Nazi Germany of the rocket technology that terrorized London in the closing days of the war this movie follows the initial British investigation into the possibility of a rocket threat (with Howard as the sceptic and Mills as the lead proponent), through the recruitment of German and Dutch speaking agents and on to the infiltration of the Germans underground bases. It's all handled very well and is in fact a very handsome production with some excellent sets and locations. The suspense is also ratcheted up nicely in the closing minutes as the bombers close in on the base, looking and looking for the agents on the ground to "light" the target. This movie comes recommended and here is hoping that Warner (who own the rights even though it was initially made by MGM) will finally release this movie on DVD. UPDATE - Yes! Finally this movie has made it onto my favorite home video format. Very glad to see it will be released in December. As soon as I saw this I immediately ordered a copy."
An Excellent Unsung Movie about Unsung Heroes
Rob | Texas | 06/12/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I've been a War movie fan for decades. One of the first I remember is seeing Hell is for Heroes when I was eight. Yet somehow, until recently, I was totally unaware of Operation Crossbow. I assumed it would be a low-budget affair of little consequence. To my delight, I was totally wrong and found it to be a rare gem of Mid-Sixties War Cinema.
From what is said about the film, we learn it didn't do well at the box office. Some claim it was a lackluster script, some even blame the title (which I think is great). I won't talk about why I'm sure the movie didn't do well now, but I will save that for the last paragragh because if you haven't seen it, it will spoil the suspense. Rest assured it does not have a bad script! In fact, it is VERY well done in examining the un-uniformed secret men and women who fought with incredible distinction in WWII. I couldn't help but be reminded of the various escapades from the book, A Man Called Intrepid, and would recommend that for further reading for anyone who is interested in Operation Crossbow.
Technically, OC is better than The Guns of Navarone. Yes, that's right and I stand by that statement! The program for Germany's V-1, V-2, and impending "New York Rocket" is convincingly portrayed. The sets are worthy of a top-notch 007 film and I have to admit, when the lady pilot rode the V-1 in a death-defying research flight, I was cheering her on until I came to my senses and thought, "Oh great, now they can kill thousands of innocent women and children!". George Peppard and cast are excellent, restraining melodramatic acting from penetrating their highly dramatic situation. Sophia Loren is an absolute knock-out, but is in a supporting role, which must have disappointed fans seeing her name on top in the cast list. Tom Courteney, Anthony Quayle, Lilli Palmer and Richard Johnson are marvelous in support. How can anyone claim this is a poor script when the entire cast, no matter how big their part, stands out and makes a memorable impression on the viewer? So why didn't the movie do better with the general public? I can tell you why, but watch the movie first before reading on.
Where The Guns of Navarone succeeds is that it was made for entertainment. It is a high-adventure story made for the screen. There is war and death, but there is also survival. Imagine The Magnificent Seven where the villagers win, but ALL the Seven die. In Operation Crossbow, they all die. They succeed, but for the audience, the price seems too high to yield "entertainment". This kind of a bummer is not good for box office. Tom Courtney's death is tough to deal with. Even though Anthony Quayle is a Nazi, his pleading with Courtney to avoid execution is heart-breaking. Courtney dies heroically, yielding nothing to his captors, but in the end is he nothing more than another body in a ditch? This provokes uncomfortable thoughts in a moviegoer who might have come in looking for a good Alistair MacLean type plot. The real nail in the coffin at the box office is Sophia Loren's role. Her death is a slap in the face by the reality of war and leaves the audience with a very poignant, painful witnessing of seeing children orphaned from their mother who was only trying to bring them home. From that point, the viewer has passed what I call, the point of redemption. Nothing, no matter how good, just, or heroic will overcome the bad that has transpired. The villains, in this case just the conditions of war, have done something so barbaric, that the audience cannot get past that, no matter what the heroes accomplish. This by no means makes Operation Crossbow a bad movie, because it is just realistically portraying war. And as we all know, the truth sometimes hurts."