The Eagle Has Landed (1976)

PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Thriller  |  25 December 1976 (Finland)
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Reviews: 91 user | 35 critic

A German plot to kidnap Winston Churchill unfolds at the height of World War II.



(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Colonel Steiner
Colonel Radl
Captain von Neustadt
Captain Clark
Colonel Pitts
Alexei Jawdokimov ...
Corporal Kuniski
Richard Wren


Oberst Steiner, a German parachute unit commander, is sent to England on a covert mission to kidnap Prime Minister Winston Churchill and bring him to Berlin. The seemingly impossible assignment becomes more and more feasible as the mission grows nearer with Steiner and his men arriving in England to a very real possibility of success. Written by Anthony Hughes <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In 1943 sixteen German paratroopers landed in England. In three days they nearly won the War. See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

25 December 1976 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

L'aigle s'est envolé  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$6,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (TV) | (extended) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

(35 mm prints)| (70 mm prints)| (some 35 mm prints) (London premiere print)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


A funny thing about having a small stunt team: One of the German soldiers shoots & kill the driver of an American jeep, so it crashes into the pond. Both the German AND the driver of the jeep is played by the same stuntman Jim Dowdall. He kills himself, so to speak... See more »


The story is set on the North Norfolk coast, which is flat and marshy (and the Donald Sutherland character takes the job of Marsh Warden). Unfortunately many of the coastal shots show cliffs, bays, creeks and sand dunes which just aren't there. For example, the wooded creek where the converted MTB picks up Hans, could not be in North Norfolk. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: [WWII News Story] September 12, 1943, German paratroopers snatched Mussolini from his mountaintop prison in Italy.
See more »


Spoofed in Veep: Joint Session (2015) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

It's not the best example of seventies war movies, but it works
30 June 2005 | by (Tessenderlo, Belgium) – See all my reviews

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.

25 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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