The Eiger Sanction (1975) - Plot Summary Poster


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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.

  • 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.

  • Dr. Jonathan Hemlock is a professor of art, highly skilled mountain climber and a former assassin for the US government. He is lured out of retirement when a former colleague is murdered. The targets: the men who killed his friend. One catch: killing one of them will require him to climb his nemesis, the mountain that he has twice failed to scale: the Eiger.

  • A man who was a government assassin who was sent to terminate or as they call it sanction anyone who killed an American agent. His former employer asks him to sanction 2 men who killed an agent. When he refuses, his employer threatens to expose the artwork he has amassed with the money he earned working for them, to the IRS, knowing that he can't account for how he acquired them. So he agrees to one job only which he does. When he refuses to do the second one, a woman he picked up took the money he was paid. Knowing his employer sent her, he confronts the man and tells what he can do with himself. That's when he is told that the agent who was killed is an old friend of his, and the reason why they need him is because he's a mountain climber and the second man though unknown, is part of group who will be climbing the Eiger, which is a mountain that he tried to climb twice and failed. When he accepts after demanding a large fee, his employer tells him that a man whom he has sworn vengeance against though not involved with the death of his friend, so he was not deemed a sanction but he was the one who transported the information that was taken from him so they'll allow him to go after him. So he proceeds to go to a friend's mountain climbing school to train for the climb. While there the man shows up and wants to make a deal with him.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Dr. Jonathan Hemlock (Clint Eastwood) is a college Art professor whose former life as an international assassin comes back to haunt him when a ruthless leader of a secret agency called C-2, Dragon (Thayer David) pulls him back into action. Hemlock is given a large amount of money and security for his priceless collection of original paintings, but when he is double-crossed by government agent Jemima Brown (Vonetta McGee) and discovers a loyal Army friend of his has been murdered, he agrees to go to Switzerland to kill a secret agent that he has been told is one of a team who will attempt to climb Eiger Mountain. Knowing that he needs to be coached for such a climb Hemlock looks up his old friend Ben Bowman (George Kennedy) who trains him for the climb. During his training he is visited by traitor Miles Mellough (Jack Cassidy) who informs Hemlock that the murderer may be closer than he thinks. Once in Switzerland Hemlock starts the climb with a group of younger climbers and suspects each as the possible killer he is seeking, but when they meet with heavy snows on the mountain top and encounter a series of problems Hemlock struggles to save his life and those of his team.

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