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5 Films To Watch Before/After Guy Ritchie’s ‘THE MINISTRY OF UNGENTLEMANLY WARFARE’

The old adage that truth is stranger than fiction rings true time and again, as real-life tales of intrigue, adventure, triumph and tragedy prove to be more compelling than even the most imaginative works of fiction. This is why so many films are based on true stories as they carry the weight and emotional resonance of reality.

This phenomenon can be seen across countless films based on actual military or other governmental agency operations including Guy Ritchie’s forthcoming The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, based upon recently declassified files of the British War Department and inspired by true events.

Directed and co-written for the screen by Ritchie, from a screenplay he wrote with Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson and Arash Amel, adapted from Damien Lewis’ book “The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare: How Churchill’s Secret Warriors Set Europe Ablaze and Gave Birth to Modern Black Ops,” The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare tells the extraordinary story of the first-ever special forces organisation set up in the Second World War by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and a small group of military officials, including author Ian Fleming. The covert combat unit, comprising a motley crew of rogues and misfits, embarks on a daring mission against the Nazis using highly unorthodox and downright ‘ungentlemanly’ fighting techniques. Their reckless tactics ultimately changed the course of the war and laid the foundations for the British SAS and modern Black Ops warfare.

To celebrate the impending release of The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare this April 19, what follows is a list of expertly crafted films centered on top-secret missions and the brave soldiers who carry them out; all perfect companion pieces to enjoy around the release of Ritchie’s latest action-packed production.

Carl Foreman’s World War II epic The Guns of Navarone, based on Alistair MacLean’s novel, remains a gripping adventure decades after its release. Inspired by the real-life Battle of Leros during WWII, the film follows an ensemble of Allied commandos, including Gregory Peck, David Niven, and Anthony Quinn, as they embark on a daring mission to infiltrate and destroy a formidable German fortress. Thanks to its tense plot and cast of complementary characters with unique dynamics, the film continues to engage and thrill audiences with its compelling ensemble and memorable action sequences.

Operation Crossbow, later re-released as The Great Spy Mission, is a gripping 1965 British espionage thriller that dramatizes the little-known but impactful real-life events of Operation Crossbow during World War II. Directed by Michael Anderson, this thrilling film brings together an ensemble cast including Sophia Loren, George Peppard, and Trevor Howard. Set in the final years of WWII, it focuses on the covert British operations to sabotage Nazi Germany’s secret development of terrifying new long-range weapons like the V-1 flying bomb and V-2 rocket. Although the characters themselves are fictional, the film authentically captures the daring exploits of real British intelligence operatives and Resistance fighters who courageously infiltrated German factories and bases to stop the technological advances. Vividly alternating between the Nazis’ rapid progress and the agents’ intense missions, the film builds suspense around the race against time to prevent devastating attacks on London. Operation Crossbow pays tribute to the unsung heroes who helped thwart Nazi Germany’s last-ditch efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction and turn the tide of the war.

Who Dares Wins, or The Final Option as it is also known, is a pulse-pounding action thriller that provides a fictionalized take on the dramatic 1980 siege of the Iranian Embassy in London by the British Army’s elite Special Air Service (SAS). Though taking liberties with the real-life event, Who Dares Wins captures the perilous bravery of the SAS and their commitment to protecting the innocent no matter the cost.

After witnessing the Iranian Embassy siege firsthand, film producer Euan Lloyd was inspired to quickly develop a movie based on the event before someone else had the same idea. Author James Follett then adapted an initial synopsis by George Markstein into the novel “The Tiptoe Boys” in just 30 days, sending each chapter as it was finished to screenwriter Reginald Rose in Los Angeles, who used it to write the final script.

Starring Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster and Yousuf Azami, Sole Survivor follows a four-man Navy SEAL reconnaissance team tasked with tracking down a notorious Taliban leader in Afghanistan. After encountering local herders in the mountains, the team faces an impossible choice – engage the herders at the risk of their own lives, or let them go at the risk of the mission.

Despite the blatantly spoilerific title implying the team’s doomed fate, director Peter Berg skillfully builds an emotional connection between the audience and the characters. We find ourselves hoping against hope that these likeable soldiers might somehow survive against the odds. Berg’s empathetic character-building overrides the title spoiler, leaving us desperately rooting for the team’s survival against near-impossible odds.

William Eubank’s modern action thriller blends classic genre elements into an electrifying film. An Army ODA team faces a deadly ambush during a covert mission. Their only hope is Air Force JTAC Liam Hemsworth, a last-minute addition, and Russell Crowe as a witty drone pilot guiding them through a brutal 48-hour battle. Hemsworth shines as the stoic hero in peril, but Crowe steals scenes as his wisecracking mentor. Their clever exchanges echo the iconic Die Hard rapport between Bruce Willis and Reginald VelJohnson. Fans of retro-tinged thrill rides will have a field day with this one.

The Ministry Of Ungentlemanly Warfare releases in theaters this April 19 and we’ll leave you with a glimpse of the Ministry’s highly unorthodox tactics.


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