Andrea W. from REDDING, CA Reviewed on 9/10/2012...
As always, the book is far better. Still, the movie was good, and it didn't change too much from the book.
Non-stop espionage & adventure to please WWII buffs........
P. Ferrigno | Melbourne, Victoria Australia | 11/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"At long last, one of my favourite "fictional" World War II films is finally out on DVD and the transfer is excellent all round. And even better, there is now a "Special Edition" Region 2 release available on the Amazon UK website with an additional 17 minutes of footage, interviews with Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland & Donald Pleasance, theatrical trailers, biographies on cast & crew plus interviews from British news programs !
The 1970's was a decade when war movies were filled with mercenaries, commando's and full guns blazing action....and "The Eagle has Landed" is no exception, but a better told tale than many others !
Director John Sturges ( "The Great Escape", "The Magnificent Seven", "Ice Station Zebra" ) in his final directorial role shows once again why he was one sharpest action / suspense film directors of the 1960/70's with this exciting filming of the best selling Jack Higgins novel. What makes this film so enjoyable, and able to withstand repeated viewings is the talented cast at the centre of this twisting tale of spies and espionage. German officer Kurt Steiner (Michael Caine) is the disgraced leader of a group of crack German paratroopers that have been exiled to operate an MTB boat in the English Channel. Opportuntity comes their way in the form of Colonel Radl (Robert Duvall), with an incredible plot to secretly parachute into England and kidnap Winston Churchill from a country retreat. Donald Pleasance turns in a chilling performance as SS leader, Heinrich Himmler...Donald Sutherland in fine form as the IRA ally, Liam Devlin...Larry Hagman is the pompous and foolhardy Colonel Pitts and Treat Willians (in his first movie role) as the wiser and more wary American Ranger, Captain Clark. Attractive Jenny Agutter contributes the love interest as Molly Prior, and icy Jean Marsh puts in a cold blooded display as the Nazi sympathasier, Joanna Grey.
"The Eagle has Landed" has some great twists and turns and never lets the viewer relax as the story holds a keen balance between action, suspense, romance and tragedy. Highly recommended for those who like intrigue and adventure in their WWII movies !!
A highly entertaining and different WWII film that stands out from the rest."
Steven Hellerstedt | 10/10/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"What if you're German, the march to victory has been stalled, D-Day looms, and you're facing a decidedly unfavorable endgame in World War Two? You learn that British Prime Minister Winston Churchill is going to holiday in a secluded village in the north of England. Are times desperate enough to attempt a kidnapping of Churchill and, perhaps, hold him hostage to a negotiated peace?
If you're novelist Jack Higgins, or later director John Sturges, the answer is yes. THE EAGLE HAS LANDED takes that `what if' and, more or less, delivers solid entertainment. The all-star cast is headed by Michael Caine, who plays Col. Kurt Steiner, a maverick leader of a group of seasoned German paratroopers. Robert Duvall is the brains behind the project, eye-patch wearing Col. Max Radl. Donald Sutherland, sporting a shock of red hair and a rolling brogue is Liam Devlin, an Irish Nationalist with a deep and abiding hatred of the British Empire.
There are a lot of things to like about THE EAGLE HAS LANDED. The premise is certainly plausible enough. Action movies on this scale don't reward in-depth character studies, and the all-star cast is able to deliver on those terms. The actors have to indicate rather than explore their character's personality, a shorthand approach that builds sympathy by indication rather than examination. Stars with a capital S seem uniquely able to deliver on these terms, and the three stars don't disappoint. Director John Sturges is even able to accomplish that most difficult of tasks - incorporating a love story, of sorts, into the picture - between the young and romantically foolish Jenny Agutter and the duplicitous Sutherland character - without interfering with or derailing the action.
There are things to dislike about the movie, though. Larry Hagman, as a shrill American colonel, is introduced late in the movie and adds a sour note to things. The Caine character, who the movie goes out of its way in the early goings to establish sympathy for, ends his career in the film on a jarring note as well. I won't give anything away but I didn't buy, at all, his last action.
Still, the acting is good (ignore, if you can, the Cockney accent that Caine seems incapable of burying completely,) the English village is convincing - I believed I was in a real English village circa 1943 - and the `what if' quality was intriguing enough to keep me involved. A good enough movie for us fans of war stories, endorsed with reservations. "
A Great Action Film Based On A Good Action/Suspense Novel
A. Calabrese | NJ--United States | 12/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Eagle Has Landed a film based on the Jack Higgins novel of the same name is a great film. This is story telling at its best. I read the book when it was published back in the 1970's and enjoyed it immensly. It was a real page turner. And, that is what is great about the film version of this story. The Film holds true to the novel, which in my opinion, is the exception and not the rule in film making.
Director, John Sturges, lays the story out visually, bit by bit, building to a great conclusion. In this age of over the top special effects, and especially the extreme portrayal of the violence of war, we see in many films Sturges gets his point across by painting a picture with a good screen play and great acting. Sturges grabs the viewers attention and does not let go.
The story involves a once hero of the Nazi regime, exiled to suicidal duty for refusing to round up Jews for the SS. I am not giving away too much when I tell you that it involves a German plot to assasinate Winston Churchill, which may have some basis in fact. Michael Caine plays the professional German soldier, but now disgraced in the eyes of the Hitler regime, part of Col. Steiner. What I appreciated about Caine's performance is that he plays this doomed character as the professional soldier he is and avoids the pit falls of a fanatical over the top killing machine. Larry Hagman as the incompetent, politically connected American Colonel, is hilareous. Finally, Donald Sutherland as the Irish Patriot come Nazi spy is chilling. Simply, there is not a bad performance in this film.
The Eagle Has Landed is a great film to watch if you need a break from the over the top realism of more recent films and series about World War II. It is a good action packed story that can be enjoyed by the whole family. This one is a recommended buy for your DVD collection."
Thoughtful action drama
M. G Watson | Los Angeles | 12/10/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A war film with heart, that shows fleshed-out characters on both sides of the conflict, instead of one-dimensional, heroes-vs-Colonel Klink stereotypes, this is everything "Where Eagles Dare" was not. It's a drama with a lot of action, or an action film with a lot of drama, depending on how you look at it. Jack Higgins wrote the book, which is supposedly based on a real-life 1943 operation by German intelligence to kidnap Winston Churchill. Robert Duvall (Radl) and Michael Caine (Steiner) are the Germans but not the bad guys in a film that is all the more sad because there are no real bad guys as such -- just professionals doing their jobs on each other for their respective countries. Donald Pleasance is cooly briliant as Himmler and Donald Sutherland is alternately clownish, charming, and ruthless as the IRA triggerman Devlin. Treat Williams gives a moving turn as the American ranger who has more respect for his German opponent Steiner than his commanding officer, played with delightful cartoon villainy by Larry Hagman. The battle scenes are long in coming, but worth the wait, and both Caine and Duvall
are first-rate as two equally likable but very different professional soldiers taking on a task both knows is not only ulikely to succeed, but almost certain to get both of them killed. Action movies are almost never antiwar in theme, but "The Eagle Has Landed" makes as good a case as "Saving Private Ryan" of the stupidity and waste inherent in war."