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Operation Crossbow

From Internet Movie Firearms Database - Guns in Movies, TV and Video Games
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Operation Crossbow
Crossbow poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Country UKD.jpg United Kingdom
Directed by Michael Anderson
Release Date 1965
Language English
Studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Distributor Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Main Cast
Character Actor
Lt. John Curtis/Erik van Ostamgen George Peppard
Nora Van Ostamgen Sophia Loren
General Boyd John Mills
Professor Lindemann Trevor Howard
Duncan Sandys Richard Johnson
Robert Henshaw Tom Courtenay
Bamford Anthony Quayle
Frieda Lilli Palmer
Phil Bradley Jeremy Kemp
Maj. Gen. Ziemann Paul Henreid

Operation Crossbow (alternate title: The Great Spy Mission) is a 1965 war/spy film with George Peppard, Sophia Loren, Trevor Howard and John Mills leading an all-star cast. Directed by Michael Anderson (The Dam Busters, Around the World in Eighty Days,) it is a heavily fictionalized account of the real Operation Crossbow, which was the Anglo-American effort to neutralize German V-weapons during World War II.

Although top-billed, Sophia Loren actually had a small role. She was brought in to bring in viewers, and casting her was not difficult as she was married to the producer, Carlo Ponti. She did not succeed, however, as the film did poorly in its initial release. Blaming the title for perhaps suggesting that the film was about actual bows and crossbows, it was re-released under the more obvious title, The Great Spy Mission.

The following weapons were used in the film Operation Crossbow:


Walther P38

German officers are armed with Walther P38s. Bamford (Anthony Quayle) appropriates one from one of them.

Walther P38 WWII dated with black grips - 9x19mm
Bamford with a P38.
As good of a shot as they come.
A P38 next to a dead officer.

Beretta Jetfire

Frieda (Lilli Palmer) uses a suppressed Beretta Jetfire in one scene.

Beretta 950B Jetfire - .25 ACP‎
Frieda reveals her Jetfire.
Crossbow Jetfire 02.jpg

Submachine Guns


German troops are armed with MP40 submachine guns. Lieutenant John Curtis/Erik van Ostamgen (George Peppard) makes extensive use of one in the ending.

MP40 submachine gun - 9x19mm
This MP40 actually appears to be missing a piece.
Despite being a fighter pilot and an engineer, Curtis does what so few do in WWII movies: firing the MP40 using the extended shoulder stock.
Crossbow MP40 04.jpg
Crossbow MP40 05.jpg

MP40 (mockup)

A mockup MP40 is used by one of the German guards at the factory. It's possible it is a SMG modified to look like a MP40.

The magazine holder looks loose and the bottom housing looks very different than a genuine MP40.
OperationCrossbowMP40 (2).jpg


Karabiner 98k

German troops are armed with Karabiner 98k.

Karabiner 98k - German manufacture 1937 date - 7.92x57mm Mauser
Crossbow K98K 01.jpg
Crossbow K98K 02.jpg


Bofors 40mm

A Bofors 40mm is seen in the background in one scene. Almost all the AAA scenes in the film used existing wartime stock footage, so an actual gun (or mockup) was rare.

Bofors 40mm L/60 AA gun in a wheeled trailer mounting - 40×311mmR
The Bofors 40mm can be seen in the background.

Alternate poster

The Great Spy Mission (1965)

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