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The Eiger Sanction (1975)

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A classical art professor and collector, who doubles as a professional assassin, is coerced out of retirement to avenge the murder of an old friend.

Director:

Clint Eastwood

Writers:

Hal Dresner (screenplay), Warren Murphy (screenplay) (as Warren B. Murphy) | 2 more credits »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Clint Eastwood ... Jonathan Hemlock
George Kennedy ... Ben Bowman
Vonetta McGee ... Jemima Brown
Jack Cassidy ... Miles Mellough
Heidi Brühl ... Mrs. Montaigne (as Heidi Bruhl)
Thayer David ... Dragon
Reiner Schöne ... Freytag (as Reiner Schoene)
Michael Grimm Michael Grimm ... Meyer
Jean-Pierre Bernard Jean-Pierre Bernard ... Montaigne
Brenda Venus Brenda Venus ... George
Gregory Walcott ... Pope
Candice Rialson ... Art Student
Elaine Shore Elaine Shore ... Miss Cerberus
Dan Howard Dan Howard ... Dewayne
Jack Kosslyn Jack Kosslyn ... Reporter
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Storyline

Jonathan Hemlock is an art history professor and collector who finances his hobby by performing the odd sanction (assassination) for an obscure government bureau. He is forced to take a case where he must find out which of the members of a mountain climbing team is the Russian killer he has been given as a target by joining an expedition to climb the treacherous Eiger. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

EASTWOOD is the man . . Eiger is the location . . and the sanction - is a licence to kill! See more »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 May 1975 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Im Auftrag des Drachen See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$14,200,000, 31 December 1975
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This shoot marked the last time that anyone was allowed to climb the "Totem Pole" in Monument Valley, Arizona. In return for permission to film there, climbers with the production had to remove all of the pitons, which had accumulated from years of climbing, on their way down. See more »

Goofs

At about 64 minutes into the film, Hemlock and Bowmen climb that high, thin, pillar-like formation, when Hemlock helps Bowmen onto its top, you can see the shadow of the camera, first on Bowmen as he crosses in front of it, and then on Hemlock's white t-shirt where for a moment you can also see the shadow of a cable as well. See more »

Quotes

Jemima Brown: Is this hotel always so crowded?
Dr. Jonathan Hemlock: Only when there's a climb. Then the Eiger birds start flocking in.
Jemima Brown: Eiger birds?
Dr. Jonathan Hemlock: Yeah, jet setters, assorted zombies, come here to watch a climb. If they're lucky, they get to see a man die on the mountain.
Jemima Brown: That's grim.
Dr. Jonathan Hemlock: So's the Eiger.
See more »

Alternate Versions

An early cut of the movie showed, in detail, a man slitting Henri Bach's throat, reaching in, and retrieving microfilm that he had just swallowed. This was deemed too graphic, so the scene was edited to its current version. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great climbing sequences make this hidden gem worth watching!
30 April 2006 | by A_RoodeSee all my reviews

Clint Eastwood stars as a former government assassin turned art teacher who is blackmailed into coming out of his retirement to pull off a difficult last job. A former colleague has been murdered. Eastwood will climb the Eiger face and kill the assassin along the way. The only problem is he isn't sure which of the three other climbers is his target.

'The Eiger Sanction' is very much a product of the 1970's, and comes from a difficult grey area of Eastwood's career. He was transitioning between Westerns and Dirty Harry and films like 'The Eiger Sanction' got lost in the mix. On the surface the film is a spy thriller, or a gorgeously shot mountain climbing/survival film. I think it doesn't get enough credit for being very tongue in cheek. It gently pokes fun at both Eastwood and 70's action movies -- Clint giving a female student a playful pat on the rump, the foxy brown flight attendant/girlfriend, and of course "damn that Brando" when Clint's Native American trainer pushes him too hard. Throw in the promiscuity and the way homosexuality is dealt with (rival gay hit-man with the little dog) and the film runs pretty nicely as a satire.

'The Eiger Sanction' is really about the third act though where the climbing takes place. Brilliantly photographed, I didn't find much not to enjoy about this film. Quite possibly the best climbing film that I've ever seen and it is certainly superior to things like 'Cliff Hanger' or 'Vertical Limit' -- which owe a great deal to 'The Eiger Sanction.' Clint Eastwood has acted in better movies and he's directed better movies. That said, this one is an unpolished gem and worth taking a look at if the opportunity arises.


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