|Where Eagles Dare
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Scorned by reviewers when it came out, this concentrated dose of commando death-dealing to legions of Nazi machine-gun fodder has acquired a cult over the years. In 1968 Clint Eastwood was just getting used to the notion that he might be a world-class movie star; Richard Burton, whose image had been shaped equally by classical theater training and his headline-making romance with Elizabeth Taylor, was eager to try on the action ethos Eastwood was already nudging toward caricature. Alistair MacLean's novel The Guns of Navarone had inspired the film that started the '60s vogue for World War II military capers, so he was prevailed on to write the screenplay (his first). The central location, an impregnable Alpine stronghold locked in ice and snow, is surpassing cool, but the plot and action are ultra-mechanical, and the switcheroo gamesmanship of just who is the undercover double (triple?) agent on the mission becomes aggressively silly. --Richard T. Jameson
- Where Eagles Dare
When I order this product, I could not find a "Full Screen" one for this particular movie.
I HATE WIDE SCREEN!! Wish you would have more Full Screen DVDs/Videos....more info
- Gift for a friend
I gave Where Eagles Dare to a friend on DVD for Christmas. He had the VHS but was happy to know it was available on a DVD! Thanks- Paul T....more info
- THE Quintessential War Action/Adventure/Spy Picture!!!
Year of Release: 1968
Writer: Alistair MacLean
Director: Brian Hutton
Runtime: 2 hours 34 minutes
THE PLOT: Richard Burton leads a group of UK paratroopers to a German castle lair high in the Alps. Along for the ride is Clint Eastwood, who plays the sole American agent of the operation. Their initial mission is (seemingly) to rescue a captured American general.
WHAT WORKS: The opening credit sequence features the paratrooper's plane flying over the incredibly scenic Alps with Ron Goodwin's magnificent score blaring. This is undoubtedly THE best film opening in the entire history of cinema. It's so emotionally stirring it'll give ya friggin' goosebumps. Name your all-time favorite film opening (e.g. "Conan the Barbarian," "Apocalypse Now," "The Last Valley," etc.) "Where Eagles Dare" is BETTER or, at least, just as outstanding in its own unique way. Goodwin's composition is one of the greatest musical pieces I've ever had the pleasure to hear; it's absolutely exhilarating!
Richard Burton is ultra-charismatic as the quick-witting, utterly confident leader of the operation. This is a leader amongst leaders, pure and simple. Eastwood's Lt. Shaffer sort of just tags along beside or behind him the whole film. In other words, as great as Eastwood is, Burton blows him out of the water in this film (at least).
The picture features a seemingly never-ending slew of highlights: mysterious deaths, romantic rendezvous, remote military outposts, German pub scenes, beautiful women, castles, intense combat, cable car fights, chases, escapes, plot surprises and then... well, let's just say it's not over till it's over.
The scenic Austrian and Barvarian locations are breathtaking.
WHAT DOESN'T WORK: Some understandably criticize how unbelievably Burton's team mows down scores of Krauts. While this is a valid criticism, and I myself wish the film were more realistic in this respect, allow me to point out that the action is highly believable for the first TWO HOURS (unlike, say, "Rambo II" and "III" which are unbelievable from start to finish and therefore cannot be taken seriously at all). It's not until the group escapes the castle that they become nigh invincible. Because the first two hours are so captivating and generally realistic the viewer is completely CAUGHT UP in the story & mission and WANTS the team to successfully escape and obliterate the enemy. In other words, the story is so skillfully presented that the viewer is absolutely rooting for the protagonists at the 2-hour point, even to the point that s/he willingly and joyfully suspends disbelief and accepts the implausibilities. In fact, while watching the film you'll be convinced that their escape IS plausible. It's not until afterward that you start to realize that it's a bit of a British fantasy picture.
An additional complaint is that the film is "totally unbelievable," as my brother put it. He said this in reference to the mysterious blond that secretly parachutes from the plane and other Hollywood-style spy contrivances. The reason this turned him off and tuned him out was because he was expecting a straight war flick in the manner of "A Bridge Too Far" or "Platoon," but this isn't the case. As noted above, "Where Eagles Dare" was written by Alistair MacLean, who has a penchant for adding James Bondish spy elements to his adventure/war yarns. In other words, the viewer must be braced for a war flick with a Bondish flair in order to fully appreciate it.
Another criticism is that the film is needlessly brutal, like when Eastwood slits the helicopter pilot's throat or when Burton kicks the man off the cable car. Sorry, but this is WAR and Smith (Burton) & Shaffer (Eastwood) were picked for the operation precisely because they are professional killing machines. It's not that they revel in what they do, it's simply their job, their purpose, and they perform it in a heartless, matter of fact manner. They have no choice.
I had two cavils with the story: Since the cable car room at the castle is the ONLY WAY in or out, why isn't it more heavily guarded? Also, when the group is preparing to leave via the cable car, why do the Germans use sledge hammers to break down the door to the room (which naturally takes TOO LONG)? Why don't they just blow open the door?
BOTTOM LINE: "Where Eagles Dare" is EXHILARATING cinema at its finest. Certainly one of the BEST action/adventure/spy films ever made. Actually, it's WAY more than a mindless (and boring) action flick; there's some great dialogue-driven material here and the plot surprises will keep your head spinning.
In addition, the score and locations are breathtaking.
Lastly, if you don't get all the hoopla over Richard Burton, see this film. ...more info
- Well made and exciting but rubbish
The novels of Alistair MacLean are invariably exciting yarns which the reader can't put down and this film is a good cinematic equivalent. MacLean wrote the screenplay and he piles one incredible sequence on another.
The adventure entails the capture by British agents of a bogus hostage from Germans located in an impenetrable castle/fortress in Austria. Richard Burton plays the enigmatic leader and Clint Eastwood a professional assassin. The characters are completely one dimensional, epitomised in the one note performance of the ossified Eastwood. The settings are superb and the film is very well made but the Germans are no match for Eastwood. How he and his colleagues manage to navigate through the fortress to their escape is completely unbelievable and I have to admit that I started to fast forward the DVD: the dialogue was irrelevant, the violence gratuitous and the plot development absurd. The film ends with one of the corniest lines ever from Eastwood.
The DVD print is excellent and the package contains the original trailer and a short "making of" featurette made at the time of the film's release to help promote it. The trailer is a great example of clever marketing because it really tantalises the viewer. The "making of" featurette suffers from a style which was trendy at the time - jump around the subject and avoid an easily followed narrative. It is OK.
You will enjoy the film as a ripping yarn but don't take it seriously....more info
- excellent movie, casting and acting. On top of all, great soundtrack
The first thing I always remembered about this good movie was its superb soundtrack.
It's not just a war movie, it is also a puzzling thriller. This movie is where great stars collided: Clint Eastwood, Richard Burton... and they have done a good job. Except for a few silly errors like the helicopter scene (which in fact didnt exist at the time) this movie has no problem IMO. I wish Hollywood made movies like this these days. There are a lot of stories out there that can be made into movies. Love it!...more info
- High Octane Adventure
Based on the Alistair Mclean novel (author of the GUNS OF NAVARONE), this terrific mix and action and intrigue showcases Richard Burton as an undercover operative sent with a team to rescue from a Nazi fortress and American general before he can spill the plans for D-Day. Clint Eastwood plays an American Ranger on the team and Mary Ure as Burton's love interest. When making this movie Eastwood figuring that Burton would (acting-wise) steal the show, reportedly told director Brian Hutton, "Just give ME a gun and let me do my thing." ...more info
- Clint E.
A good war movie with Richard Burton and a younger Clint Eastwood. For those of you who haven't seen it before the ending is good....more info
- Were Eagles Dare
I find this to be another good movie for Clint Eastwood. He does the War Storys very well. All the Support Actors are top drawer. It was well written and flimed. The action and suspense keeps You'r attention. Thank You, Jerry...more info
- A Different Take
Lots of action, great actors, a fast-moving plot -- but the real suspense-builder is the music -- the same theme building in tempo and orchestration throughout the movie -- this is one of the best action scores I've heard. Don't just watch -- listen!...more info
- My Favorite Movie Ever
My Dad took me to see this at a theater when I was 8 years old. Probably not the best movie for an 8 year old girl, but I loved it. My Dad was a big Clint Eastwood fan, and my Mom loved Richard Burton, how cool is that.
Hollywood doesn't make them like this anymore, that's for sure. The location, the story, the actors make this one of the greatest "war" movies ever.
This is one of those movies when it's on TV, you've just got to sit there and watch it til the END, again.
I'm buying my Mom & Sister copies for Christmas. ...more info
- THE BEST MAN FOR THE JOB
IF YOU WISH TO SEE THE MAGNIFICENT ACTING ABILITIES OF RICHARD BURTON EVEN WHEN FACED WITH A MEDIOCRE ROLE THIS MOVIE IS FOR YOU. ...more info
- WHAT HAPPENS WHEN "THE LIEUTENANT AND MYSELF HAVE JUST UNCOVERED A PLOT TO ASSASSINATE THE FUHRER??"
ANSWER: SEE SCENE 27 IN 'WHERE EAGLES DARE' AND YOU'LL KNOW TOO!
Brian Hutton - Director
Alistair MacLean - Author - Scriptwriter
Richard Burton - John Smith
Clint Eastwood - Lt. Morris Schaffer
Mary Ure - Mary Ellison
Michael Hordern - Vice Adm. Rolland
IN A NUTSHELL: WHERE EAGLES DARE DEFINES THE OVER-THE-TOP WAR DRAMA!
'Where Eagles Dare' is about an over-the-top rescue and even more over-the-top escape. Disguised as Nazi officers, special agent Major John Smith [Richard Burton], American Ranger Lt. Schaffer [Clint Eastwood] along with six other special force types parachute behind enemy lines upon a frozen wasteland. Their mission is to find and rescue an American general, held in custody within an impenetrable Alpine fortress. Unbeknown to everyone except Major Smith, two Allied undercover agents Mary (Mary Ure) and Heidi (Ingrid Pitt) are also on hand for special support. Like other Alistair MacLean plots, this one has a vile betrayal at the center of the action, much like the 'Guns of Navarone which MacLean also wrote.
WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT: IF YOU LIKED 'THE GUNS OF NAVARONE' YOU'LL ENJOY THIS
Throughout the action packed scenario there are a number of plot twists and they lead very nicely to a very fast paced and well told story. Although this story is not really plausible, it is so well and fluidly played, in quick violent action by Eastwood, and in fiery rhetoric by Burton, that its over-the-top tone from beginning to end is completely acceptible. More than that, this is an incredibly entertaining film that really has it in the action and dialogue departments where Eastwood and Burton compliment each other as friendly opposite types, in every way. In essence, Eastwood has never caused so much explosive carnage, and rather quietly and Burton has never spoken faster or more sharply.
ABOUT THE DVD: CLINT EASTWOOD COLLECTION EDITION
-* WIDESCREEN LETTERBOX FORMAT
-* ALL NEW DIGITAL TRANSFER & REMASTERED SOUNDTRACK IN DOLBY 5.1
-* 'MAKING OF WHERE EAGLES DARE' - FEATURETTE
-* ORIGINAL THEATRICAL TRAILER
-* CLINT EASTWOOD FILM HIGHLIGHTS
-* ENGLISH or FRENCH LANGUAGE & SUBTITLES IN ENGLISH, FRENCH or SPANISH
BOTTOM LINE: OVER-THE-TOP DELIGHT & THIS EDITION IS A TRUE BARGAIN
Okay, so Alistair MacLean liked how 'The Guns of Navarone' turned out so well that he wrote a direct to film book which led to a very similar film that featured more action, violence, wild dialogue though somewhat less character development. Brian Hutton, who also Directed 'GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K CORRAL' treated us to the same kind of intensity in this film, but in 'Where Eagles Dared' that intensity never flagged and the pace only increased as the film trucked along. Nevertheless, this is one 150 minute long film that you'll have no trouble watching straight through and staying awake for.
- Where Eagles Dare
A great and often forgotten about WW II movie from the 60's that stars Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood. The plot involves a team of Allied special ops forces attempting to infiltrate a German fortress deep in the Alps to rescue a captured American general. Where Eagles Dare is full of plot twists, tense moments and some of the best action scenes of any war movie, including an epic hand-to-hand battle on a gondola hundreds of feet above a frozen Alpine river. The movie provided much of the inspiration for the acclaimed PC game Return to Castle Wolfenstein....more info
- Action and Intrigue
Exciting and tense World War II drama. Similar to the Guns of Navaronne in the need to penetrate a mountain fortification. Excellent acting. Richard Burton plays his role of the expedition leader well....more info
- Where Eagles Dare
An excellent movie about the extraction of a US General held captive in an Alpine fortress during WWII. Its pack with action, intrigue and convoluted snips that keep the viewer guessing, never a dull moment. I've seen it more then once and I keep going back to see it again....more info
- Men on a mission at its best
It would have been hard for author Alistair MacLean to top his previous WWII commando movie, The Guns of Navarone, but he does it with Where Eagles Dare, another adventure thriller with a group of commandos on a suicide mission. It's winter of 1944 when an American general's plane is shot down and he is captured by the Germans. This isn't any general though, he knows all the plans for the second front, the D-Day invasion. A team of espionage experts are dropped in to the area to rescue him. The catch? He is being held in the Schloss Adler, the castle of the eagles, high up on a German mountaintop in a town that houses the SS and a battalion of crack troops. That's the most basic storyline, but the movie is built on a huge twist that is filtered out with clues early on. The first half of the movie deals with the team moving in and preparing for the rescue, the second half is one great action sequence after another that never slows down. Throw in a memorable score by Ron Goodwin, great Austrian locations, and you can't miss with Where Eagles Dare.
One of the better actors of his time, Richard Burton shows off his chops as an action star playing the part of Major Smith, the leader of the commando team charged with rescuing a key American general. Burton is cool, calm and collected throughout, you're never quite sure if he's really who he is or what his motives are. Clint Eastwood stars as Lt. Morris Schaffer, the lone American in the team. Eastwood and Burton are perfect together, Burton as the smooth-talking leader and Eastwood the cold-blooded assassin always ready with a one-liner. Mary Ure plays Mary Ellison, an agent working with Smith behind the scenes. Patrick Wymark and Michael Horden have small but very important parts as the commanders monitoring the rescue attempt from London. Derren Nesbitt makes a memorable appearance as a suspicious Gestapo officer while Donald Houston, Peter Barkworth, and William Squire are three members of Smith's team. German actress Ingrid Pitt plays Heidi, an undercover agent also helping Smith's efforts.
The DVD, part of the Clint Eastwood Collection, has the movie in its widescreen presentation that isn't a great print, but it's still above average. Special features include a 12-minute featurette, "On the Set: Where Eagles Dare," a very cool, very 60s making of mini-doc, a trailer, and some cast/crew info. Definitely one of the best WWII action/adventure movies, don't miss out on Where Eagles Dare!...more info
- Broadsword Calling Danny Boy!
Burton, Eastwood, some beautiful frauleins, great mountain scenery, some deliciously evil Nazis, what more could you ask for in a World War II thriller? The plotline may seem far fetched, but the action and adventure make up for it. The movie could have actually been entitled "MP40" because there is more German MP40 submachine gun ammo expended in this film than any other movie in the history of Hollywood. However, this is pure escapism and a real treat to watch. The movie keeps you guessing right down to the last scene and the musical score pounds and races just like your heartbeat. Dont miss this classic war film!!...more info