The Eagle Has Landed (1976)

The Eagle Has Landed (1976)

GENRESAdventure,Drama,Thriller,War
LANGEnglish,German,Polish
ACTOR
Michael CaineDonald SutherlandRobert DuvallJenny Agutter
DIRECTOR
John Sturges

SYNOPSICS

The Eagle Has Landed (1976) is a English,German,Polish movie. John Sturges has directed this movie. Michael Caine,Donald Sutherland,Robert Duvall,Jenny Agutter are the starring of this movie. It was released in 1976. The Eagle Has Landed (1976) is considered one of the best Adventure,Drama,Thriller,War movie in India and around the world.

1943, The war is entering its final stages and Germany is teetering on the brink of defeat. An increasingly unhinged Hitler, orders a mission to have British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill kidnapped and brought to Germany. The plan seems ludicrous in the extreme, but a message sent from a German spy in the Norfolk countryside makes one German officer realize that such a mission may just feasible.

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The Eagle Has Landed (1976) Reviews

  • Enjoyable adaptation of Jack Higgins' novel.

    KEVMC2003-09-20

    After the successful rescue of Mussolini by German Paratroopers, Col.Max Radl is asked to prepare a feasibility study on an attempt to kidnap Winston Churchill. At first this seems a preposterous idea, until a message arrives from an agent in Britain which reports that Churchill will spend a weekend in the picturesque Norfolk village of Studley Constable, which is only a few miles from a deserted stretch of coastline. A plan is formulated to drop Col.Kurt Steiner and his highly experienced unit into Norfolk to carry out the mission, aided by IRA man Liam Devlin and respected local figure Joanna Grey, who is a German agent and the source of the original message. This film has been a personal favourite of mine since I first saw it on its TV premiere around 1979, aged 12. It is of course the screen adaptation of Jack Higgins bestseller. I must admit to never having read the book, so I can't testify how closely the film follows it. Produced by ITC in 1976, it boasts an impressive cast in Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland, Robert Duvall, Donald Pleasance and a pre-JR Larry Hagman. Veteran Hollywood Director John Sturges was at the helm - the man responsible for 'Bad Day At Black Rock', 'The Magnificent Seven' and 'The Great Escape' to name just three. The production values and technical credits are uniformally good. As to the film itself, it remains an entertaining romp. Your interest is held throughout, and you find yourself half wanting the Germans to get away with it, as Michael Caine and his men are such decent chaps. Donald Sutherland is full of Irish charm as Devlin, Larry Hagman is intentionally funny as the incompetent Col.Clarence T.Pitts, Robert Duvall is convincing and sympathetic as Radl, and Donald Pleasance quite chilling as Himmler. Good though the film is, it might have been better. In his autobiography, Michael Caine talks about the fact that after shooting had wrapped, Sturges headed back to California and never returned for any of the editing or post production. Caine felt let down by this, for as he correctly states, a Director can do some of his most important work at this stage. However, he also remembers the shooting of the film as a very pleasurable experience. At that time he lived at Windsor, and much of the filming was done nearby on the beautiful Mapledurham Estate, during the longest, hottest summer that most of us remember. I paid a visit to Mapledurham recently, during the fine summer that we've just enjoyed. It's instantly recognisible - the watermill, the church, the manor house, Joanna Grey's cottage - all as they appear in the film and well worth a visit. It always amuses me that the events are supposed to take place in November - a truly miserable month here - and yet its clearly mid-summer on screen. I have one major gripe. Not with the film itself, but its availability on DVD. The UK version is to be avoided like the plague. Cursed with being distributed here by Carlton, its in 1.33:1 and worse is missing some 12 minutes of footage. The US version is at least in 2.35:1, but is still missing 3 to 4 minutes of the film. Thank heavens that I still have my complete version recorded from the BBC some 12 years ago, before they decided to cut some brief moments of violence. Its really annoying when a good film that did reasonable business at the box office gets such shoddy treatment on DVD. There really is no excuse for it. When all is said and done, this is a good entertaining yarn and an intriguing idea (even if it does have echoes of 'Went The Day Well'). Maybe not a classic, but always good fun, professionally mounted and with some lovely locations. Give it a try if you haven't already seen it, just avoid that Region 2 DVD!

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  • Not a Bad Effort

    rglasby2004-10-29

    OK, to respond to the "review" from Richard WA. The movie is of course based on Jack Higgins' bestseller of the same name and like many debut books, is by far the best book he wrote - being written over a period of years as Higgins worked as a schoolteacher. It is meticulously researched and a fine read. Now the film. First, Of course an historically illiterate US teen would barely comprehend that history existed pre World War II or understand that the USA doesn't have a monopoly of the eagle as a national symbol. I read the book back in the mid-70's and never even thought about moon landings. For war movies/books, "eagles" are forever associated with Germany & that the USA also uses an eagle as a national symbol is purely coincidental. Richard WA can relax in the knowledge that few outside his peer group experienced his confusion. Second, By telling the story from the German perspective, we get a new appreciation of the German fighting man's view. Just as "Das Boot" gave us an insight into the German mind, so too does this. A similar experience can be had watching the WWII POW camp movie "The McKenzie Break" where German POW's try to escape from a British camp - quite interesting really. But I guess if you're only interested in rooting for the Red, White and Blue, this is not your thing. Third, The accents are brilliantly done. It was decided for the movie that the comical Hollywood "German" accent would not be used. The "Ve haff vays of making you tork you schweinhund" is nowhere to be seen, instead the German characters use perfect accentless English to great effect. Fourth, Sutherland's Irish character, Devlin, is not a Nazi sympathiser. He agrees to support the operation because the Germans offer to pay him a fortune to do so. Money for the cause etc. Fifth, The pre-operation phase of the movie is actually too short - as the producers wanted more of an action flick than the book delivers. In the book, the planning of the operation is analysed to infinite detail, down to the uniform details and relative attributes of allied versus German parachutes. I guess if your experience is computer games, then exposure to any kind of pre-operation detail is not something you're used to. Sixth, A newcomer in WWII Britain would certainly raise suspicion and Sutherland's character certainly does do that - not really a flaw of the book/movie but an operational problem that the Germans just had to accept given the timeframes involved. Seventh, Jenny Agutter's character is completely unbelievable. Try to ignore that part of the movie - thankfully she's there for purely aesthetic purposes. Eighth, The 5th columnist who already lives in the English village is actually a South African survivor of the British concentration camps - as explained in the movie. Perhaps Richard WA thought they were a German invention or more likely he's never heard of the Boer War and sleepwalked through that part of the movie. Ninth, The "battle" scene is deliberately short to emphasise the gulf in class between German paratroops and National Guards. When the Germans are confronted by real soldiers, they're defeated in short order. Larry Hagman's character is a poor caricature and serves only to supply a comic element that's not needed - something the movie suffers from as if the producer was scared to make the movie too gritty. Richard WA's last point is most revealing. Why should Germans fight for Germany when everyone knew that they were going to lose and were on the wrong side anyway. Who ever heard of a brave German soldier fighting to the end anyway? Despite what many think, Americans don't have an monopoly on patriotism either - I doubt if he ever wonders why Steve McQueen never settled for a comfortable life in a German POW camp! Tenth, Yeah, the tunnel is something of a contrived device...it's not in the book BTW. Eleventh, The reason for not spiriting "Churchill" away after the attempt to kidnap him was precisely because the British wanted Germany to think he was there and not in Tehran! The whole point of a decoy is that it's visible and attracts the attention while the real principal is concealed. In summery, the Eagle has Landed is a solid attempt to film a great book. I doubt, given the plot, that a universally appealing movie could've been made but the greatest movies ever are not universally appealing. Movies you love as children are not regarded in the same way in adulthood. The Eagle has Landed is in many ways like "The Day of the Jackal". Most of the action goes on inside the principals' heads. Deception, mental thought processes and subterfuge don't make good cinema. However the movie has some very good points: Great locations. Great actors doing good jobs (Jenny Agutter excepted) - especially Donald Pleasance doing the best ever spine-chilling portrayal of Himmler. Good twist at the end. Challenging portrayal of "the enemy". I recommend it - it's not "A Bridge Too far" but it's pretty good.

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  • A Fine Good Bye for John Sturges

    ragosaal2006-12-08

    "The Eagle has Landed" is a fine World War II fiction film placed in England that deals with a German commando operation planned to kidnap (or kill) Winston Chruchill. The pìcture is most entertaining right from the start -when the plan is designed- and keeps up all along when it comes to the operation's achieving. A good script, excellent British outdoor locations, well made action sequences and a most competent cast are highlights of the film. Its also interesting that the German commandos are shown as decent and even likable men, professional soldiers that just like the allies fight a war for their country even if they don't agree with the Nazi regime that rules it. "The Eagle has Landed" is also a good farewell from movies for director John Sturges (this is his last work in direction) a prolific man that gave us movie and western fans very good titles of the genre such us "Gunfight at OK Corral", "The Magnificent Seven", "Last Train from Gun Hill" and the more contemporary "Bad Day at Black Rock". A most entertaining and enjoyable film in the genre.

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  • Generally gets the thumbs-up, but has a couple of slightly disappointing features.

    barnabyrudge2004-05-13

    Based on a best-selling tall story by Jack Higgins, and featuring an all-star cast that must've cost half the budget just to get to sign up for the project, The Eagle Has Landed is an enjoyable but slightly overlong wartime actioner. German soldier Max Radl (Robert Duvall) comes up with an audacious plot to deliver a devastating blow to the Allied forces by kidnapping Winston Churchill from a Norfolk village. A team of deadly German spies, led by Kurt Steiner (Michael Caine), are smuggled into England to carry out this sinister scheme. Aided by an Irish mercenary (Donald Sutherland), the German forces rapidly and ruthlessly close in on their target. Only an inexperienced American garrison, posted in a quiet corner of Norfolk, can stand in the way of a devastating German victory. The Eagle Has Landed is one of the few films where the all-star cast doesn't have a detrimental effect. In films like A Bridge Too Far and The Longest Day, the presence of so many stars actually results in a game of "star-spotting", and this diverts the audience's attention away from important plot developments. In The Eagle Has Landed, each actor brings depth and charisma to their strongly written roles (especially Sutherland as the devious Irish rogue, and Duvall as an eye-patch wearing Nazi). This film's faults lie elsewhere. The opening hour and a quarter goes on rather too much and ought to have been trimmed by at least fifteen minutes. Also, the plot rides its luck with increasingly less likely, less plausible developments (especially the unpersuasive "twist" ending). For these reasons, The Eagle Has Landed isn't quite the excellent film you might be hoping for. What it is, however, is an enjoyable, well-acted and very watchable slice of escapism.

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  • It's not the best example of seventies war movies, but it works

    philip_vanderveken2005-06-30

    Partially thanks to my father I've always been a fan of war movies and that's how I already saw several of them as a kid. But of course as a kid I wasn't as critical towards them as I am today. Several of the war movies from the sixties and seventies now seem dated and very unbelievable (think for instance of "Where Eagles Dare" from 1968, which many people seem to like, but which lacks all realism as the Allies seem impenetrable by German bullets). But that doesn't mean that they all are bad. Take for instance "Cross of Iron", "All Quiet on the Western Front" (the TV remake), "A Bridge Too Far",... which are one by one excellent movies. If I have to give this movie a place in between these two categories, than I would say right in the middle. It isn't the best war movie from that time period, but it's far from bad. Based on the novel by Jack Higgins, this movie tells the story of Colonel Steiner, a German parachute unit commander, who has been court-marshaled for opposing the SS in rounding up Jews. To avoid further imprisonment and certain death, he is offered the chance to go on an assignment in England. He and his unit will have to kidnap the British Prime Minister Winston Churchil on a covert mission. They decide to go for the seemingly impossible assignment and dressed as Polish soldiers on a training maneuver, they soon take over a small English town, waiting for the visit of the Prime Minister who will take his vacation there... Even though I have read the book, I'm not really able to tell you whether the adaption to the movie has been a success or not. I read the book about ten years ago and it's impossible for me to remember all the details. However, as I already said, this certainly isn't a bad movie. The acting for instance is very nice. People like Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland, Robert Duvall,... all did a nice job. Especially Donald Sutherland stole the show playing the IRA militant and full time playboy Liam Devlin. What I also liked was that the 'Germans' didn't speak with some funny accent, but spoke fluent English. I prefer to hear the Germans speak German, but when that it isn't possible, this option is the best to go for. There is nothing more hateful than a well-known Hollywood actor who tries to make you believe that he speaks a language other than English (it never works and only brings down the quality of a movie). Overall this is a good WWII movie that shows the war from a different perspective, namely from the German side. For some that will probably make it uninteresting as they see the Germans as the stupid bad guys, unable of doing some daring operations, but for me it works. I really liked this movie and all its aspects. The story is nice, the action scenes look more than OK, the acting is very good,... I really liked it all and that's why I give this movie a 7.5/10.

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