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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for The Eagle can be found here.
The Eagle is based on Rosemary Sutcliff's historical adventure novel The Eagle of the Ninth (1954). It is the first of a sequence of novels that are connected through one Roman, and later British, family. The books are labeled as young adult fiction.
Yes. The 9th legion (Legio IX Hispana) disappeared around the 2nd century, but in quite unclear conditions (when, where, how). The wall of Hadrian (and others) existed, built to protect from Scottish tribes, but not necessarily due to a big defeat. One of the biggest happened in the first century, circa 9 CE, in Germania (Augustus was Emperor at the time), the famous "clades Variana" or Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, where three complete legions, six cohorts of auxiliary troops and three squadrons of cavalry were slaughtered—15,000 to 20,000 men. The head of Roman forces was Publius Quinctilius Varus; the head of the Germanic alliance Arminius (who was his advisor and planned the trap). Arminius (Armin, Hermann) had lived in Rome as a hostage in his youth, where he had received a Roman military education—knowledge which he used in the battle.
For the theatrical release in the US, the aim was to get a PG-13 rating, hoping for a wider audience. The film is rather tame on things like "dirty language", nudity or violence, compared to the HBO TV series Rome, which deals with a similar historical era. But still it seems that there had been need for censorship to achieve the aimed PG-13 rating. The unrated cut, which can be found on the DVD released on June 21st, 2011, in the US, differs only slightly in running time, but several scenes with different material reveal modifications made for the theatrical release. These modified scenes can only be found in the rarely seen battle scenes in the film, which turn out to be a bit more bloody and more violent. A detailed comparison between both versions with pictures can be found here.
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