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Eye of the Needle (1981)

R  |   |  Romance, Thriller, War  |  24 July 1981 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 6,742 users  
Reviews: 50 user | 24 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.



(based on the novel by), (screenplay)
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Title: Eye of the Needle (1981)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Stephen MacKenna ...
George Belbin ...
Faith Brook ...
Barbara Graley ...
George Lee ...
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Chris Jenkinson ...
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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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

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


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


Romance | Thriller | War


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

24 July 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nålens öga  »

Box Office


SEK 5,742,895 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


(archive footage)| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film was made and released about three years after its source novel of the same name by author Ken Follett had been first published in 1978. The novel was Follett's first best-seller, with over three million copies sold prior to the production of this movie. The novel was first published in 1978 and the Mystery Writers of America awarded it the 1979 Edgar Award. The novel was originally entitled with the working title of "Storm Island", the setting of which represents the second half of both the novel and the film. See more »


1981 Juniper Films version on MGM DVD copyright 2000. The final, aerial scene edited onto this version must have been not-too-carefully reversed: one is flying away from the beach and up and around the lighthouse, and smoke is going *down* the chimney! See more »


Faber: [calling on radio to submarine] Singvogel. Hier ist die Nadel. Kommen.
["Songbird. This is the Needle. Come."]
See more »


For He's a Jolly Good Fellow
Sung by wedding guests with modified lyrics ("For They Are Jolly Good Fellows")
See more »

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User Reviews

Tight, kinetic suspenser
1 January 2005 | by (Mountains of Madness) – See all my reviews

Donald Sutherland is superb as "The Needle", a Nazi spy pursued by the British government during World War II. Circumstances land him on Storm Island, a small, wind-swept patch of land off the English coast. There he falls in love with the sensual Kate Nelligan, the unhappy, lonely wife of a crippled war vet.

The late Richard Marquand's second feature film is a gripping, suspenseful wartime drama about doomed love. The blazing glow of this film is enhanced by sizzling yet subtle scenes of lovemaking and a stunning Miklos Rosza score.

The island vistas are breathtaking and Alan Hulme's pictures are rich and moody.

33 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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