The Eagle Has Landed (1976)

PG   |    |  Adventure, Drama, Thriller


The Eagle Has Landed (1976) Poster

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


6.9/10
18,669

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13 May 2004 | barnabyrudge
6
| Generally gets the thumbs-up, but has a couple of slightly disappointing features.
Based on a best-selling tall story by Jack Higgins, and featuring an all-star cast that must've cost half the budget just to get to sign up for the project, The Eagle Has Landed is an enjoyable but slightly overlong wartime actioner.

German soldier Max Radl (Robert Duvall) comes up with an audacious plot to deliver a devastating blow to the Allied forces by kidnapping Winston Churchill from a Norfolk village. A team of deadly German spies, led by Kurt Steiner (Michael Caine), are smuggled into England to carry out this sinister scheme. Aided by an Irish mercenary (Donald Sutherland), the German forces rapidly and ruthlessly close in on their target. Only an inexperienced American garrison, posted in a quiet corner of Norfolk, can stand in the way of a devastating German victory.

The Eagle Has Landed is one of the few films where the all-star cast doesn't have a detrimental effect. In films like A Bridge Too Far and The Longest Day, the presence of so many stars actually results in a game of "star-spotting", and this diverts the audience's attention away from important plot developments. In The Eagle Has Landed, each actor brings depth and charisma to their strongly written roles (especially Sutherland as the devious Irish rogue, and Duvall as an eye-patch wearing Nazi). This film's faults lie elsewhere. The opening hour and a quarter goes on rather too much and ought to have been trimmed by at least fifteen minutes. Also, the plot rides its luck with increasingly less likely, less plausible developments (especially the unpersuasive "twist" ending). For these reasons, The Eagle Has Landed isn't quite the excellent film you might be hoping for. What it is, however, is an enjoyable, well-acted and very watchable slice of escapism.

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