Force 10 from Navarone (1978)

Film and Plot Synopsis

In Force 10 from Navarone, Major Keith Mallory and Sergeant Donovan Miller are back after a successful mission in The Guns of Navarone. They have been given a secret mission to kill the German spy Nicolai who British Intelligence believes has infiltrated the Yugoslavian partisans. Mallory and Miller join the American sabotage unit Force 10 under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Mike Barnsby who have a secret mission of their own. However, when things go wrong, will the combined British and American forces be able to complete their mutual missions and stop the advancement of the Nazi army?

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‘Force 10 from Navarone’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
Force 10 from Navarone (1978)Force 10 from Navarone begins shortly after the events of The Guns of Navarone. Major Keith Mallory (Robert Shaw) and Sergeant Donovan “Dusty” Miller (Edward Fox) are given a mission to find and eliminate Nicolai, a German spy who betrayed the Navarone mission to the Germans. British Intelligence believes Nicolai has successfully infiltrated the Yugoslav Partisans and is going by the name of Captain Lescovar (Franco Nero). The two British soldiers join with an American sabotage unit, codenamed Force 10, in order to get to Yugoslavia. Force 10 is commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Mike Barnsby (Harrison Ford). The sabotage unit steals a bomber plane from Allied Forces to maintain the secrecy of their mission. Force 10 picks up a stowaway when Weaver (Carl Weathers), a U.S. Army sergeant arrested by military police, jumps onto the plane with the sabotage unit just prior to take off.

The plane is shot down over Yugoslavia and the unit is forced to parachute to safety. Only Mallory, Miller, Barnsby, Weaver, and Lieutenant Doug Reynolds (Angus MacInnes) survive the crippled plane. Once on the ground, Force 10 encounters a group of soldiers they believe to be partisans, but turn out to be Chetniks, Yugoslavians who work with the Germans. The Chetniks are led by Captain Drazak (Richard Kiel) who takes the men prisoner. Once back at the Chetnik base, Force 10 tells the German commander, Major Schroeder (Michael Byrne), that the unit is actually criminals deserting Allied authorities to avoid lengthy military prison sentences.

Schroeder doesn’t believe them and attempts to open Miller’s suitcase. Miller’s suitcase was filled with various explosives when they departed Allied territory. Mallory tells Schroeder that the suitcase is filled with penicillin which will spoil if opened to the air. Schroeder opens the suitcase the next morning and finds nothing but firewood in it. Confused, Mallory and Barnsby improvise an excuse and claim that they buried the samples in the hills. Schroeder sends Mallory and Barnsby to retrieve the penicillin under the guard of three soldiers and Schroeder’s girlfriend Maritza (Barbara Bach). Once they are away from the camp, Maritza kills the other three soldiers and reveals that she is a partisan and the one who removed the explosives from the suitcase and replaced it with the firewood.

Maritza begins leading the two men to the partisan camp which is under the command of her father, Major Petrovich (Alan Badel). Mallory and Barnsby escape from Maritza and run into a real Yugoslav partisan patrol. The patrol is under the command of Captain Lescovar, the man Mallory knows as Nicholai and his intended target. Lescovar takes Mallory and Barnsby to the partisan camp near a hydroelectric dam. Petrovich tells Mallory that they executed the spy Nicolai several months before and that Lescovar has his complete confidence. Nevertheless, Mallory tells Barnsby that Lescovar is the spy.

Petrovich tells Mallory and Barnsby that the Germans will soon be launching an offensive against the partisans and will use the bridge downriver from the dam to make their advance. Petrovich’s forces have been unable to destroy the bridge. Barnsby reveals to everyone that the bridge was Force 10’s target. Mallory has a plan and convinces Petrovich to organize a rescue mission to free Miller from the Chetnik camp. Mallory and Barnsby return to the Chetnik camp, posing as captives, while Lescovar and another loyal partisan Marko (Peter Buntic), pose as Chetnik soldiers.
However, Drazak is suspicious and believes that Maritza must have helped the two Allied soldiers escape. He proceeds to beat her in an attempt to get her to talk. Meanwhile, Mallory, Barnsby, Weaver, Lescovar, and Marko escape from the camp while Schroeder and Reynolds are killed during the escape. The heroes free Maritza and recover the explosives on the way out.

Once back at the bridge, Miller is able to determine that he does not have enough explosives to blow up the bridge. However, Mallory suggests using the water from the dam to destroy the bridge. Miller tells them that blowing up the dam will be much easier and the resulting flood should be enough to destroy the bridge. Barnsby arranges for a night-time air drop to resupply Force 10 for the mission. However, Lescovar, who is actually the spy Nicholai, calls in German planes to wipe out the partisans before the drop. Maritza discovers Lescovar calling in the attack, but the spy kills her before she can warn the others. The German planes kill most of the partisans.

Petrovich is furious over the loss of his men and orders Force 10 to be sent back to Italy. The team, against orders, instead decides to infiltrate a German supply depot to steal the explosives they need. They are accompanied by Lescovar and Marko. Lescovar alerts the Germans to the Allied soldiers’ presence, but Marko sacrifices himself to stop the Germans from capturing Force 10 who escape on a train. Mallory, still convinced of Lescovar’s true identity, begins questioning Lescovar as to why a German soldier would have saluted him. Lescovar confesses to his true identity, and Barnsby shoots the spy dead.

Force 10 jumps off the train near the dam. Miller and Weaver distract the German soldiers on the bridge by setting off diversionary explosives in the nearby hillside, while Mallory and Barnsby sneak into the dam. Drazak finds some of the detonator wire while looking for the partisans and gets into a knife fight with Weaver. Weaver kills the hulking Drazak, but gets stabbed himself. Mallory and Barnsby set their charges deep within the dam, but realize that they have taken to long and the German forces are likely already crossing the bridge.

They set a short fuse for the explosives, realizing that they will likely die. However, when the explosives go off, the dam remains standing. Mallory and Barnsby make their way out of the dam to confront Miller. However, the dam’s structural integrity is compromised and it slowly begins to crumble apart. Mallory and Barnsby are able to get off the dam before it is washed away. The tsunami of water destroys the bridge downriver while also taking out some of the German forces stuck on the bridge.

Mallory and Barnsby rejoin Miller and Weaver. They briefly celebrate before Mallory points out that they are on the wrong side of river, with little weaponry, and the Germans looking for them. The four men begin a long walk back to Allied forces.

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American International Pictures (AIP) released Force 10 from Navarone on December 8, 1978. Guy Hamilton directed the film starring Harrison Ford, Robert Shaw, and Edward Fox.

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