6.9/10
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The Eagle Has Landed (1976)

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

Director:

John Sturges

Writers:

Tom Mankiewicz (screenplay), Jack Higgins (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Caine ... Oberst Kurt Steiner
Donald Sutherland ... Liam Devlin
Robert Duvall ... Colonel Radl
Jenny Agutter ... Molly
Donald Pleasence ... Himmler
Anthony Quayle ... Admiral Canaris
Jean Marsh ... Joanna Grey
Sven-Bertil Taube ... Captain von Neustadt
John Standing ... Father Verecker
Judy Geeson ... Pamela
Treat Williams ... Captain Clark
Larry Hagman ... Colonel Pitts
Alexei Jawdokimov Alexei Jawdokimov ... Corporal Kuniski
Richard Wren Richard Wren ... Hans Altmann
Michael Byrne ... Karl
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Storyline

Oberst Steiner, a German parachute unit commander, is sent to England on a covert mission to kidnap Prime Minister Winston Churchill and bring him to Berlin. The seemingly impossible assignment becomes more and more feasible as the mission grows nearer with Steiner and his men arriving in England to a very real possibility of success. Written by Anthony Hughes <husnock31@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The daring World War II plot that changed the course of history. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | German | Polish

Release Date:

25 December 1976 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Adler ist gelandet See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV) | (extended) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono (35 mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| 4-Track Stereo (some 35 mm prints) (London premiere print)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The British Major Corcoran wears the collar badge of The Royal Sussex Regiment. See more »

Goofs

Colonel Radl wears the Iron Cross 2nd Class (IC2) and the Knight's Cross with Oakleaves and Swords (KC), but he is missing the Iron Cross 1st Class, which was almost always awarded before the wearer could be considered for the KC. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: [WWII News Story] September 12, 1943, German paratroopers snatched Mussolini from his mountaintop prison in Italy.
See more »

Alternate Versions

A new Region 2 Special Edition 2 Disc DVD set was released in June 2004 to coincide with the 60th Anniversary of D-Day. It contains both the full Theatrical version running 130 mins (25 fps), and the Extended version running 145 mins (25 fps). Both versions have been fully restored and are presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The Theatrical cut has a 5.1 surround mix and the Extended cut has a Stereo surround mix, despite the packaging incorrectly stating that it is a mono track. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Discussing the Pod (2013) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
"By this time next year pigeons are going to be crapping on statues of you across the whole damn state of Nebraska."
17 November 2005 | by bensonmum2See all my reviews

The German's hatch a plan to kidnap Churchill. Using a local citizen sympathetic to the German cause and an IRA operative, the Nazis move a group of specially trained commandos into England disguised as Polish paratroopers. But their cover is quickly blown while on maneuvers when one of the German soldier's true identity is revealed after he jumps into a canal to save a little girl. It's up to some U.S. National Guard troops stationed nearby to root out the Nazis and save Churchill.

It's hard for me to put a finger on it, but there's just something about The Eagle Has Landed that's not quite right. I've narrowed it down to a couple of things that really distract from my overall enjoyment of the movie. The first is obvious - Larry Hagman's performance as Col. Pitts. To be blunt, he's terrible. For whatever reason, John Sturges had Hagman play his character as comic relief. It's completely out of place and really harms the mood of the movie. A "straight" performance would have been much more preferable.

The second thing I find distracting about the movie is very difficult to explain, but it has something to do with the overall look of the film. Other than a few shots of gore as the American soldiers are being hit by bullets, much of the movie has a cheap, made-for-TV look to it that also takes away from the tone of the movie. It's not as "gritty" looking (for lack of a better word) as it should be. The battle scene doesn't look as real as it should. The soldiers look like actors.

That's not to say that I don't find things enjoyable about The Eagle Has Landed. Other than Hagman, the acting is first-rate. Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland, Robert Duvall, and Donald Pleasence give terrific performances. The plot is an interesting idea although I would have preferred more on the planning of the kidnapping. Not being much of a student of history I have no idea how much is true, but it certainly seems feasible as presented. And finally, I really enjoy the Nazi operative played by Jean Marsh. The look on her face after her cover is blown and the local priest confronts her is priceless. It's a nice moment of acting.


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