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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Epic war pic where Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood manage to unmask most
of the German spy network in England, slip Jerry the wrong plans for the
second front, kill the leading members of the Abwehr in Southern Bavaria,
and destroy half of the local Wehrmacht- all in a little over two hours.
Terrific score by Ron Goodwin, great action sequences and a commanding
performance by Burton give this the "must see" imprimateur. Meanwhile it's
obvious why the Nazis lost the war- since they rate one worse than Imperial
Stormtroopers in the "can't hit the broadside of a barn" shooting stakes.
Our plucky Allied troops more or less shoot themselves out of anywhere and
However the radio call-sign "Broadsword calling Danny Boy" is now part of British folklore; the cable-car sequence is unmatched in spectacle; and the whole film makes you cheer up and feel better about the world. For once the Brits are portrayed as cooly proficient rather than public school chumps. What with the Yanks playing second fiddle, it's almost like the good old days ....
Once a year, usually around Christmas time but always in winter, this movie
is played somewhere on British TV. Like 'The Great Escape' this movie has
become a staple of TV station classic war movies wheeled out once a year to
keep the punters happy, and it always delivers.
How can it fail? It has spectacular scenery, great actors, lots of schoolboy WWII style action and even busty wenches in maid uniforms. This film is ingrained in the psyche, you cannot see a mountaintop castle without thinking of Schloss Adler and the cable-car scenes. If I'm trudging through the snow in the woods then I hear myself humming the theme from 'Where Eagles Dare'. If I or anyone from my generation picks up a radio, it's only a matter of time before someone starts sending "Broadsword calling Danny Boy" in an imitation of Richard Burton's plummy tones. It's a given.
I know it's not the most realistic movie ever made, but Richard Burton, Michael Horden, Clint Eastwood and the gang carry it off with great aplomb and we believe every line. The pacing is excellent, leaving similar offerings such as 'Guns of Navarone' feeling like funeral marches. And talk about atmosphere! This movie reeks atmosphere, from the settings in the beautiful mountains to the scenes inside the old caste hallways to the exterior shots of people rapelling down the sides of the viciously cold walls. It's a must see, 8 out of 10 compared to all films, and 10 out of 10 for 'men on a mission' movies.
I couldn't help notice one of the postings about this movie, calling it
a snoozer. I hardly agree with that assessment. In fact, I would
categorize the film as one of the best action films ever made, whether
WWII or other. If the action isn't enough to hold one's attention, the
movie has a number of twists and turns to hold your attention until the
perhaps not-so-obvious ending.
Some postings have also been critical of the length of the movie, somewhat more than 2+ hours. Again, everything about the film keeps it moving very well.
Most of the postings rate this film on a 1-10 basis. I give it a 10 for sure.
"Where Eagles Dare" was one of the first films that my father took me to
at the cinema when I was a boy in the 1970's. Back then I was 100% caught
with the on-screen action and loved every minute of it. Now 25+ years
the film holds the exact same thrills for me as it did then. I always list
it as one of my 10 all-time favourite films.
I had no idea who Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood were at the time I first saw "WED" but I thought they were marvellous in the film. A few years later the BBC started showing it on TV (usually at Christmas!) and I always watched it each time it was on. Some years ago I was able to buy the Widescreen video of "WED" and now I can watch it whenever I like!
The music is absolutely brilliant and I often find myself humming the stirring main theme from time to time.
Not only did "WED" introduce me to Burton and Eastwood (two of my all-time favourite actors) but also to the novels of Alistair MacLean and many of his other films, such as "The Guns of Navarone", "Bear Island" and "Breakheart Pass" (all of which I recommend).
A team of elite covert agents working for the British Government is
sent to infiltrate a huge Nazi fortress. Their mission: evacuate an
Allied General who has detailed knowledge of the Normandy invasion.
Parachuting down into the Alps the team soon discovers that one of them
is dead and that there is a Nazi traitor in their midst. And that is
not all what's going on...
From opening scene to final scene Alistair MacLean's screenplay is a masterpiece of the action genre with a detailed and involving plot that unfolds in a very interesting manner. There are plenty of hairpin turns along the way that build up the suspense to a truly explosive TNT packed climax. That is all thanks to Brian Hutton's direction, which is, well, a blueprint for contemporary studio-budget action film-making. The film is long, but the real-time development of many scenes makes for terrific suspense even in slow moments and utterly breakneck action scenes. The best example is the final 45 minutes - an escape scene in real-time as our heroes breakout of the Schloss Adler. Consisting of shootouts, fights, chases, explosions, and car crashing it is probably one of the best action sequences ever made. For reasons beyond me Brian Hutton's career never fully took off into action adventure film-making, but had it, he would be the Hitchcock of action film-making. This film does to shootouts what Hitchcock did for showers! Well, almost.
Next are the stars - Clint Eastwood and Richard Burton. They are the leaders of the covert operation and they are a terrific, fearless, sub-machine gun totting duo who give the Nazis what they deserve most - pure hell. The classic corridor shootout as Eastwood fends of soldiers from the castle radio room is brilliant and ridiculous at the same time - he takes 'em all out! With a submachine gun in each hand! Make no mistake, this movie is ridiculous and wholly improbable, but if you find an action film that is more entertaining, involving, and suspenseful, along with being pure fun to watch, I'll be damned.
If that's the cake, then the icing must be Ron Goodwin's amazing score of epic proportions. First appearing in the opening credits (or the DVD main menu) it is the type of stuff that makes contemporary master film composer Hans Zimmer proud.
Action film fans, this is one of the ultimate movies for you. Take note - Watch it! 10/10
Rated PG, quite generously, for pretty extensive violence and action
This is one of the first real action movies as we know it today, ever
made. The movie has lots of explosions and gun- and fist fights. The
story is told in a fast pace with lots of cuts, even though the movie
itself isn't short at all (158 minutes.).
Even though it is still a war movie, this movie isn't as heavy and or serious as many other WW II movies made in the same period. It is kind of in the same style as "The Guns of Navarone" (Also written by Alistair MacLean.). It's more is adventurous and fun to watch than heavy or realistic. Director Brian G. Hutton later also made the other 'fun'/adventurous/WW II movie "Kelly's Heroes".
Another element that distinct this movie from other movies from the same genre is the story. The story by famous writer Alistair MacLean is just brilliant! It begins as an average WW II rescue-mission movie but as the movie progresses the story takes several twists, until at a certain point you don't even know who to thrust anymore. The ending is really action-movie-like spectacular and features a tense fight an a moving cable-car followed by the perhaps even better car chase, which really reminded of the chase were Indy and his father are escaping the Nazi's on the motorcycle, in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" Even the music sounded kind of similar! I wouldn't be surprised if Spielberg and Williams were inspired by this movie. The same goes for many other movie directors and other persons in the movie business by the way. I see similarities between this movie with 'modern' work quite often, both in story and characters as well as the action, editing and many other elements from this movie. This really is an inspirational movie, that as an action movie, just like as for instance "North by Northwest", was far ahead of its time.
It was a bit strange to see Clint Eastwood in the sidekick role. The main character of the movie is played by the legendary Richard Burton. Both actors really push this movie to an higher level with their profession and expertise and both are very believable in their roles.
An entertaining, action packed adventurous war movie with a splendid story and two wonderful performances from the two main actors.
Alistair McLean's movie adaptation is a thrill to watch.
Putting Clint Eastwood and Richard Burton together, was a masterpiece idea and it actually works!
The scenery in itself, in the Bavarian Alps, adds a touch of uneasiness about the entire story. Difficult to reach, difficult to conquer, but above all, difficult to escape from.
It's a cat and mouse game between British and German Intelligence services in World War Two. A later filmed adventure of this sort, but based on actual events, would add to the realistic perspectives shown in "Where Eagles Dare".
In fact, in 1976, a movie called "The Eagle Has Landed", inspired this time from a novel by Jack Higgins, dealt with the plan of the Third Reich to abduct and/or kill Winston Churchill!
If one considers that, "Where Eagles Dare" depicts something that could really have happened, only from the other side of the fence.
Everything in it is depicted in a very realistic and chilling manner and even if someone described it as James Bond in WWII, it is far less fantastic as one may come to think.
Granted, to perform such missions, someone ought to have been either a madman or so careless about his life, that luck would have had more importance than actual real tactics.
Nevertheless, this is an adventure movie that grips you from the very first instant and doesn't let loose to the end.
Far more paced than "Guns of Navarone", this is one of the few very good action movies ever made.
The music by veteran composer Ron Goodwin is memorable and unlike his other "war" installments so easily identifiable that you will be left humming it even when the movie is already finished.
It is more a cult movie, than an actual "history-making" one, but as i always say, they don't make them like this anymore.
Where Eagles Dare is simply wonderful. Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood are
in terrific form as leaders of a mission deep behind enemy lines. Their job:
to infiltrate a mountain top castle and rescue an imprisoned American
colonel. There's actually more to the mission than that, but to give away
the twists would be to rob anyone who hasn't seen the movie of some
The snowy backdrop is perfectly captured. The action sequences (of which there are many) are brilliantly staged, especially the fight atop the cable car, and the bus chase at the end. Each character is well cast, with Burton, Eastwood, Ure and Hordern giving commanding performances. Best of all is the little-known Derren Nesbitt who oozes menace and charm as a nasty Nazi soldier.
I've seen this film countless times and it never tires me. It has so many twists and turns and well-execute sequences that it is gripping every time you watch it. There's really no other way to say it - you need to see this film and see it soon!
A highly entertaining world war II action film with two of the greatest actors of their time at a high point of their career - Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood. The first hour or so is the setting to the action that will follow: a group of American and British soldiers is sent to a castle where the Natzis are holding an important American General. The plot of course is not that simple and has a lot of spins and surprises that accompanied by a fascinating action scenes (Very impressing for a 1968). With a beautiful filming location at the freezing landscapes of Germany and Austria this movie is truly an amazing to watch. Notable sequences are the cable car sequence and the final escaping sequence. Richard Burton gives his usual strong performance and Clint Eastwood is good as his executor. All in all a well crafted action classic that is highly recommended. 10/10
Perhaps one of the best war films ever to come out of Hollywood, WED, is
typical Boys-Own, escapist adventure, where our heroes (Burton, Eastwood et
al) can do no wrong and the action comes thick and fast.
But this isn't total mindless violence (see Rambo 2, for that kind of rubbish). WED does have a decent story and nice little plot twists, that although not totally plausible do make the film a bit more thought-provoking than just watching 148 minutes of gun fire, explosions, decapitations and soldiers being thrown off cable cars at great altitude.
Even though both Eastwood & Burton hog most of the show (and rightly so), they are ably supporting by two women (Mary Ure & Ingrid Pitt). Both women don't have chunky roles but its significant to see any females play such positive parts in what is mostly a male arena when it comes to war films.
Some of the photography is absolutely stunning even though some of the stunts are clearly filmed in the relative safety of a studio, and it shows too!
The acting, although not as po-faced, talky & self-righteous as the film's nearest rival, The Guns Of Navarone (see review), is good by most standards. Burton looks perhaps little old for this kind of all-out hero roll, but he manages to pull it off with his fierce determination and calm disposition.
As for Eastwood, well it meant a uniformed departure from his poncho, gun holster & cowboy hat from his day with Sergio Leone. He is still playing the same kind of character as The Man With No Name, and is still killing hundreds of bad guys while looking suitably cool & reserved, the only difference is the era - from the Wild West to WW2.
But surprisingly the combination of Burton's classical approach to acting & Eastwood's brash new-kid-on-the block 60s adaption works quite well and make for a good partnership as they go about kicking German Butt in their usual inimitable ways.
Brian Hutton's direction follows the pace & temperament of Alistair MacLean's sparkly screenplay although I do feel the film is a tad too long and I think about 15 minutes could've been cut without really upsetting the balance of the story.
WED doesn't challenge the brain, it is thought-provoking in its own little ways and probably bares little or no resemblance to how life was really like during the real WW2. But for all that WED is great entertainment. It doesn't insult the intelligence but then again it was never meant to. But what we are left with is a very enjoyable romp with a great cast and superb scenary.
It doesn't take itself too seriously as Guns Of Navarone does; and neither is it just mindless violence (Rambo 2). This film dares to be different and succeeds in spades.
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