Set in the Aegean Sea during World War II, They Who Dare recounts the exploits of Britain's Special Boat Squadron. Sent on life-or-death commando missions, the squadron hops from island to island, sabotaging Axis air bases. The impressively staged centrepiece of the film is a bold assignment led by Lt. Graham to dynamite German airfields on the island of Rhodes. Veteran director Lewis Milestone insisted that the basis of the film be taken verbatim from the reminisces of the squadron's two survivors. Alongside the experience of Dirk Bogarde - who had an impressive career in army intelligence during World War II - this lends the film a level of authenticity and depth of characterisation lacking from many other men-on-a-mission movies popular in the 50s.