7.1/10
8,817
61 user 33 critic

Eye of the Needle (1981)

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.

Director:

Richard Marquand

Writers:

Ken Follett (based on the novel by), Stanley Mann (screenplay)
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Donald Sutherland ... Faber
Stephen MacKenna ... Lieutenant
Philip Martin Brown ... Billy Parkin
Kate Nelligan ... Lucy
Christopher Cazenove ... David
George Belbin George Belbin ... Lucy's Father
Faith Brook ... Lucy's Mother
Barbara Graley Barbara Graley ... David's Mother
George Lee George Lee ... Constable
Arthur Lovegrove Arthur Lovegrove ... Peterson
Colin Rix Colin Rix ... Oliphant
Barbara Ewing Barbara Ewing ... Mrs. Garden
Chris Jenkinson Chris Jenkinson ... German SS Officer
William Merrow William Merrow ... German Radio Operator
Patrick Connor Patrick Connor ... Inspector Harris
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Storyline

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 <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

spy | german | woman | love | u boat | See All (89) »

Taglines:

To love a stranger is easy... To kill a lover is not. See more »

Genres:

Romance | Thriller | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

UK

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

24 July 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El ojo de la aguja See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$17,583,634

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$17,583,634
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Apparently, a number of story elements from this movie were re-worked into the Bollywood film Fanaa (2006) where an Indian woman replaces the English woman and the German spy is replaced with an Indian Army Officer who is really a Kashmiri terrorist. See more »

Goofs

In the scene when needle goes to the base where all the mock-ups are, the Jeep the MPs are riding is a Willys Model M-38, which was not manufactured until 1950. See more »

Quotes

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

Alternate Versions

NTSC DVD R1 and PAL DVD R2, have different endings. European PAL DVD version ending is approx. 1.5 minutes longer. In the last scene, the helicopter arrives and lands, there is a conversation with the commander about the radio transmission being interrupted and finally the child arrives and reunites with his mother. it's sort of a happy end. This ending was cut from NTSC DVD version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

fairly generous
22 September 2004 | by loydmooneySee all my reviews

Hitchcock could have come close to the last half hour: look at his Frenzy, made seven or eight years before this for a peek at how similarly he looks in parts of this.

In fact the movie is only a notch below that film, better in some ways, much worse in others. The first two thirds being only standard thriller stuff that any decent director might have churned out. However once Sutherland reaches the island, his character takes on a kind of Frankenstein quality: the monster we thought we have been watching takes on a sudden pathos that you seldom get with run of the mill thrillers.

And for that matter, even in most Hitchcocks. Sutherland was a perfect choice for the role, and Nelligan is his equal. Very well cast these two.

The last minute of the film, without giving anything away slips a little.

It should have had that lopped off.

But that is a very minor quibble.

Also it is a very rare chance to catch one of Miklos Roszas scores. Rosza always could be picked out from any other, and he is more or less just going through the notes here, a long way from his best, but even Roszas worst were better than a lot of composers bests.

And compared to most of the thrillers of the eighties and nineties, this is a bloody masterpiece.


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