The Challenge (1970 film)

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The Challenge
Directed by George McGowan (as Alan Smithee)
Produced by Jay Cipes
Ed Palmer
Written by Marc Norman
Starring Darren McGavin
Distributed by ABC Television
Release dates
  • February 10, 1970 (1970-02-10)
Running time
74 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Challenge is a 1970 made-for-television movie starring Darren McGavin and Mako. Director George McGowan chose to hide his involvement by using the pseudonym Alan Smithee. This was the last film appearance of Paul Lukas.


An American space satellite lands in an uninhabited area of the Pacific. To resolve a dispute over its possession that threatens to escalate into all-out war, the United States and an unnamed Asian country agree to settle the matter with a duel to the death between two champions on a deserted tropical island. As Vietnam veteran Jacob Gallery Darren McGavin (armed with two Madsen M-50 9mm submachine guns placed side by side) and Yuro (Mako) stalk each other, a bond of respect forms between them.

However, both countries cheat, each covertly sending a second man. Outraged, Gallery and Yuro eliminate their backups and continue with their deadly contest. In the end, Gallery emerges victorious, but before he can signal the outcome, he succumbs to his wounds.



Interestingly, in the 17th episode of TV's The Time Tunnel (1966), Mako played a similar role, as a Japanese solder in World War II in a 'battle to the death' on an island with the two regulars of that show. The American[who?] when he "wins" was supposed to signal his win. Due to his disgust with the interference by both countries and his respect for his adversary, he destroys the transmitter before dying.

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