MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 87 this week

Eye of the Needle (1981)

R  |   |  Romance, Thriller, War  |  24 July 1981 (USA)
7.1
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.1/10 from 6,545 users  
Reviews: 49 user | 18 critic

A ruthless German spy, trying to get out of Britain with vital information about D-Day, must spend time with a young woman and her crippled husband.

Director:

Writers:

(based on the novel by), (screenplay)
0Check in
0Share...

On Disc

at Amazon

IMDb Picks: May

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in May, sponsored by COVERGIRL.

Visit the IMDb Picks section

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 45 titles
created 15 Oct 2010
 
a list of 35 titles
created 13 Aug 2011
 
a list of 41 titles
created 04 Dec 2012
 
a list of 40 titles
created 22 Aug 2013
 
a list of 31 titles
created 8 months ago
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Eye of the Needle (1981)

Eye of the Needle (1981) on IMDb 7.1/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Eye of the Needle.

User Polls

1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Music | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.4/10 X  

A reclusive musician, once a huge rock star, takes a young female protegee. While on a tour she meets a younger, more popular rocker and switches her loyalties.

Director: Richard Marquand
Stars: Bob Dylan, Fiona, Rupert Everett
The Legacy (1978)
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A millionaire and a million-dollar prostitute, a star-maker and a nation-killer, a woman whose lusts are as cold as graveyard snow...Five of the most powerful people in the world, gathered ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Marquand
Stars: Katharine Ross, Sam Elliott, John Standing
Jagged Edge (1985)
Crime | Thriller | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

San Francisco heiress Page Forrester is brutally murdered in her remote beach house. Her husband Jack is devastated by the crime but soon finds himself accused of her murder. He hires ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Marquand
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Glenn Close, Peter Coyote
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

An account of The Beatles during the Hamburg years, their signing with Brian Epstein and their inevitable rise during the early sixties.

Director: Richard Marquand
Stars: Stephen MacKenna, Rod Culbertson, John Altman
Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

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

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland, Robert Duvall
The Key to Rebecca (TV Movie 1985)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

In Cairo during World War II, a German agent tries to infiltrate the British command to lay the groundwork for Erwin Rommel's conquest of Egypt.

Director: David Hemmings
Stars: Cliff Robertson, David Soul, Season Hubley
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A high-ranking Polish politburo member is banished from the party, and must find out why. Set in 1979 Poland before the Solidarity events.

Director: John Irvin
Stars: Donald Sutherland, Anne Archer, Paul Freeman
S*P*Y*S (1974)
Action | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.3/10 X  

In 1974, flanked by such filmic monuments to paranoia and corruption as Chinatown and The Parallax View, Elliott Gould and Donald Sutherland tried to re-create the screwball nonchalance of ... See full summary »

Director: Irvin Kershner
Stars: Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Zouzou
Bear Island (1979)
Action | Adventure | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

On the remote Norwegian Bear Island, used as a submarine base by the Germans during WW2, U.N. scientist Larsen sends a distress signal using an emergency NATO frequency and is received by scientific vessel Morning Rose.

Director: Don Sharp
Stars: Donald Sutherland, Vanessa Redgrave, Richard Widmark
A War Story (1981)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A Canadian doctor interned at a Japanese POW Camp during WWII must tend to his fellow British prisoners who are being worked to death in a mine.

Director: Anne Wheeler
Stars: Donald Sutherland, David Edney, Frank C. Turner
Lie Down with Lions (TV Movie 1994)
Adventure | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Her friend, doctor Peter Husak, introduces the American Jack Carver to his friend nurse Kate - and it's love on first sight. But when she learns in a dramatic incident that Jack's a CIA ... See full summary »

Director: Jim Goddard
Stars: Timothy Dalton, Marg Helgenberger, Nigel Havers
Bethune (TV Movie 1977)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Based on the true story of Canadian doctor Norman Bethune, this film traces his life from his beginnings with his deeply religious family in Ontario, through his medical studies in school, ... See full summary »

Director: Eric Till
Stars: Donald Sutherland, Kate Nelligan, David Gardner
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Stephen MacKenna ...
...
...
...
George Belbin ...
Faith Brook ...
Barbara Graley ...
George Lee ...
Arthur Lovegrove ...
Colin Rix ...
Barbara Ewing ...
Chris Jenkinson ...
William Merrow ...
Patrick Connor ...
Edit

Storyline

A German spy carrying information that will reveal the target of Operation Overlord becomes involved with the wife of a crippled man on an isolated island off the Scottish coast while he waits to be picked up. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

german | love | spy | u boat | murder | See All (88) »

Taglines:

Codename: "The Needle". Only one person can stop him: The woman who loves him ! See more »

Genres:

Romance | Thriller | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

24 July 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nålens öga  »

Box Office

Gross:

SEK 5,742,895 (Sweden)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(archive footage)| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The U-53 is portrayed by a British S-class submarine. See more »

Goofs

The car which is driven by David Rose on the island is a German 4WD type DKW Munga, which was built after the war between 1956 and 1968. See more »

Quotes

Faber: The war has come down to the two of us.
See more »


Soundtracks

When My Little Pomeranian Met Your Little Pekinese
(1933) (uncredited)
Written by Jack Little, Ira Schuster and Dave Oppenheim
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

The war has come down to the two of us.
1 November 2004 | by (Bookseller of the Blue Ridge) – See all my reviews

So, at first I had trouble deciding if this film was great or just another war film that would be forgotten about as the years progressed. It was a tough decision that required a day of thought. There were definitely scenes in this film that would embarrass even the most novice movie goer, yet there is something about the story and the humanistic approach to a non-human element that seeps from this film's pores. The scene that stands out the most in my mind is when Sutherland is running to the rain to catch Lucy. You can obviously tell that he is on a sound stage and water is being thrown in his face. His acting and the way that that particular scene was set up was appalling. It made me laugh instead of feel any sort of suspense or fear. It forced credibility for Sutherland's character right out the door. There were several other scenes that just didn't seem to fit in this film that made you question the theatrical release of this film or if it was a straight-to-television production. If you can get through these few lapses in the director's train of thought, then you will be able to see the powerful story that lies within.

When I first saw the box to this film I didn't know what to expect. To my utter enjoyment, Eye of the Needle is one of those gems hiding in a mud puddle. After you wipe it off (look away from the DVD cover), you will begin to see the beauty of this film. As we begin our story, we see Sutherland as a normal person, but as the film advances, our idea and interpretation of his character blows our mind. When most war films simply believe in keeping you in your theater seats by showing graphic images of battle and chaos, this film goes in the completely other direction. This is a story between two people and the small battle that they fight for their beliefs. I mentioned earlier that I felt this was a very humanistic film. The reason for that statement is because we witness the human element to war. Billy is the perfect example of a man who has lost a portion of his life, yet is too depressed to see the happiness in front of him. Normally in war films this comes late story, but in Eye of the Needle it is shown right up front. Next, we hardly ever are given a very human side to the villain in these stories. Normally, they kill without remorse, but again, not in this film. What we witness are two humans caught between a hard place with nobody else to turn to.

While war is being raged overseas with thousands of troopers, it is impressive to see stories like this that revolve around just two people. These two people can have the same effect on the war as a brigade of soldiers. I never saw their reaction to each other coming. I wasn't expecting a message in this film. I brief history lesson about the day to day activities surrounding this dark cloud of our world's history. Also, I wasn't expecting to see such powerful acting from Donald Sutherland and Kate Nelligan. Together they created more sparks on screen than most duos today.

What they create is better and more realistic than most Hollywood jargon.

It is impressive to see this in a war film. I cannot stress that enough. This film surprised me and I am normally not a huge war fan. I think the reason that it stood out was because director Richard Marquand develops two amazing characters and places them in a war torn country, only to uproot them again into a place of beauty and nature. We go from one spectrum to the next with Marquand and it works. Ken Follett, who wrote the novel that this film is based, has done a great job of taking a world that is huge and bringing it down to just these two characters. It is not often that you see that in a war film, especially one made in 1981.

Overall, I flip-flopped my decision all around until I finally made a choice. This film was amazing. I can look past the low-budgeted scenes that make this film dated in the 80s, and see the amazing truth behind the characters and story. This is one of the most impressive stories that I have seen come from Hollywood. I could literally watch this film again and probably catch more that I missed the first time. This isn't your average spy film; this is instead a film about humans and the comfort we need in our lives. Also, I must end with this note, if any villain (without saying who) can use his trademark kill six times in forty minutes, you should realize that this film is going to be a great ride.

Grade: **** out of *****


20 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Again, the last scenes... Helicopters? I don't think so... gblawson
How terribly lonely Lucy was Kathleenr88
Question about the ending Ted-Striker
Won't watch the movie bdgone75
Imagine an Extended Ending The-Demon
Need help with this movie? branpick
Discuss Eye of the Needle (1981) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page