Once an Eagle (1976)

TV Mini-Series  -   -  Drama | War
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The story of two Army officers, one a ruthless, career-obsessed schemer, the other his exact opposite, and their personal and professional lives from the end of World War I to the beginning of Vietnam.

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Title: Once an Eagle (1976–1977)

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1977   1976  
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Series cast summary:
 Courtenay Massengale (7 episodes, 1976-1977)
Darleen Carr ...
 Tommy Caldwell (7 episodes, 1976-1977)
 Emily Pawlfrey Massengale (7 episodes, 1976-1977)
 George Caldwell (7 episodes, 1976-1977)
 Sam Damon (7 episodes, 1976-1977)


The story of two Army officers, one a ruthless, career-obsessed schemer, the other his exact opposite, and their personal and professional lives from the end of World War I to the beginning of Vietnam.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Duty. Honor. Country.


Drama | War





Release Date:

2 December 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Eens een adelaar  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In the World War One scenes (set in 1918), the German soldiers are shown wearing the 1914-style uniforms with spiked helmets, which were phased out in 1916. See more »

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User Reviews

Why has this not been released?
10 August 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a stunning movie. I saw it when I was very young, with my Father. Sam Damon represented to me what it meant to be a man. Sam Elliot's performance is understated and nuanced, and is remarkable for its restraint... what he Doesn't say is shown in his eyes, and smoking under the surface. He is a man of few words but very powerful obligations which people can either understand or not, he doesn't care. He is not driven by what others think, but by what he knows is right.

I spoke to a gentleman a few years back who said there were political reasons why this series would "never" be released. Having seen it again recently, I think I understand why it won't be released at least for a few years. I would NOT call the movie anti-war, but I would call it anti-stupidity. I would say it stands for war as a last resort, showing the loss and reality of war, and how even when a cause is just, stupid men are put in positions of authority sometimes, and lo and behold, give stupid orders for good men to follow and be killed. Regardless of, and sometimes ignorant of, the big picture and rationale behind the war.

Good men understand their cause, and fight for that cause together. Through a common purpose they find strength and camaraderie. Weak men use the war to justify their own petty purposes, regardless of their attained rank, and sometimes this puts their men in direct contradiction to the more noble and publicy marketed reasons for the conflict. Good men must sometimes follow weak men and stupid orders, if they are to be considered good soldiers. That's a tough position to be in... and it kind of flies in the face of what the military pushes... you must follow orders or you risk your life, and the lives of everybody in your company. Where would the military be if people were allowed to question orders, or question the character and motivations of the people giving those orders? Yet, where would the world be if we all blindly followed leadership despite what we knew was right or wrong?

This contradiction is what this miniseries meant to me, then, as a 12 year old, and again to me today as I write this. From what I understand, the rights to this are still owned by a major network who is being told not to release it. I don't know if that is true or not... it might be just a fancy and/or self-serving lie. But the more I think about it, the more I realize it just might be true. If it is true, it's a damn shame. If it's not true, then, I tell you one thing:

It's pretty bizarre that given the quality of the mini-series, and the star power of some fine actors in their prime, that this has never been released, isn't it?

13 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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