The Eagle Has Landed | 1976 | Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland

The Eagle Has Landed | 1976 | Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland

Michael Caine is the only German officer ever to have been born in south London, so it’s no wonder the Nazis have locked him up (actually it’s because his Colonel Steiner doesn’t approve of certain Nazi policies. Fiendishly, though, they contrive a mission for him: to lead a disparate band of renegades, Brit-haters and soldiers, parachute into England, kidnap Churchill and bring him to Berlin. At the height of the war (it’s 1943). The trickiest part of the mission will be posing as Polish soliders on a training mission in Norfolk. "This operation could make The Charge Of The Light Brigade look like a sensible military exercise," utters Anthony Quayle’s German admiral when planning the escapade.

Caine is joined by other familiar faces, such as Robert Duvall, as the Nazi who assigns Steiner the mission; Donald Sutherland, as a IRA soldier; Donald Pleasence as Himmler; and a pre-‘Dallas’ Larry Hagman as a US colonel.

A silly adaptation of Jack Higgins’ silly book (scripted by Tom Mankiewicz, son of Joseph L), The Eagle Has Landed would prove to be Sturges’ final film. Having already left his mark with The Great Escape and The Magnificent Seven, one presumes he didn’t feel inclinded to make much of an effort. It has a certain adventure story charm, but don’t expect any great drama or gravitas, it’s more The Dirty Dozen than Saving Private Ryan.

cast
Michael Caine as Col. Kurt Steiner
Donald Sutherland as Liam Devlin
Robert Duvall as Col. Max Radl
Jenny Agutter as Molly Prior
Donald Pleasence as Himmler
Anthony Quayle as Admiral Canaris
Jean Marsh as Joanna Grey
Sven-Bertil Taube as Captain von Neustadt
John Standing as Father Verecker
Judy Geeson as Pamela
Treat Williams as Captain Clark
Larry Hagman as Colonel Pitts
Alexei Jawdokimov as Corporal Kuniski
Michael Byrne as Karl
Joachim Hansen as SS-Obergruppenführer
Maurice Roeves as Major Corcoran
David Gilliam as
Jeff Conaway as Frazier
Tim Barlow as
John Barrett as Laker Armsby

crew
production design: Peter Murton
director of photography: Anthony B. Richmond
director: John Sturges
editor: Anne V. Coates
producer: Jack Wiener
casting: Irene Lamb
producer: David Niven Jr.
location manager: Ray Freeborn
original music composer: Lalo Schifrin
sound recordist: Robin Gregory
screenplay: Tom Mankiewicz
novel: Jack Higgins

UK | 135 minutes | 1976

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