on July 13, 2003
A great movie that is easy to enjoy again and again. Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood make an unlikely, but excellent team set on literally storming the castle, behind enemy lines, during World War II. The film is an incredible example of how it is possible to make one of the best action movies of all time without any modern day special effects. The locations give the film a realistic backdrop to a story that is more like a classic serial. Where Eagles Dare is filled with explosions, twists, great escapes and characters you love to hate (the Nazi SS for example). An outstanding soundtrack compliments the movie perfectly. Good versus evil and the Allies win against the Nazis in this one too. About a decade late on arriving to DVD, but worth the wait.
Where Eagles Dare
Part of Clint Eastwood collection is misleading. Made in 1969, Clint is a quiet second eclipsed by Richard Burton's effective performance as the leader of the team. Eastwood is an American Ranger sent on a British mission behind enemy lines because he's American. Burton works behind the scenes w/ a female agent unknownst to the team. In fact as the members of the team die and only Burton knows they are murdered the who reason for the mission -- get the general and get out -- is called into question.
The members of the team were picked because of their black ops training or were they? As the story unfolds and the mystery increases the movie becomes more and more fascinating. Burton is phenomenal as always and Eastwood shows glimmers of the actor he will become. The support cast are well-know British actors you will recognize.
the plot is convoluted and spell-binding as the story changes from scene to scene until finally all is revealed and there is a exciting climax. Well written, well acted and well directed. Add this to your war/espionage collection.
on February 18, 2013
Many war movies of the 1960s are unremarkable but "Where Eagles Dare" is different in at least two respects. Women characters figure significantly and the leading actors of the time in the classical and action genres, Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood respectively, are brought together in a rare partnership. It's a recipe for variety which works with Alistair MacLean's rather outrageous story by enabling a constant shift of focus to keep the viewer guessing.
Action is relentless (watch for a hair-raising cable car fight!), hilarious one-liners abound and credulity stretches to the limit but never quite beyond it. The plot is a complex one about a British military intelligence operation to unmask traitors under the cover of rescuing an Allied general from the Schloss Adler ("Castle of the Eagles"), a German alpine stronghold in southern Bavaria.
Eastwood plays an American Ranger on a commando team led by Burton who steals the limelight as Major Smith, a role he performs with obvious enthusiasm. Mary Ure gives a thoroughly professional performance as a trusted MI6 agent and Ingrid Pitt lights up the screen with her character of a flirty barmaid spying for the Allies. Wintry mountain exteriors, shot in the Austrian Alps, provide a forbiddingly steely backdrop to heighten the sense of mission impossible, while Ron Goodwin's memorable theme music catches exactly the right mood.
To criticize the slightly dated combat special effects and obvious German villains would be easy but also churlish. Enjoy this movie for what it is: a 'sixties war actioner with some unusual extras which elevates it to special status.
"Do me a favour, will you? Next time you have one of these things, keep it an all-British operation."
The above is said at the end of this thrilling World War II action movie starring Richard Burton (1925 to 1984) and Clint Eastwood.
The title of this movie "Where Eagles Dare" comes from (Act 1 Scene 3) of William Shakespeare's history play "Richard III" (circa 1593): "The world is grown so bad, the wren makes prey where eagles dare not perch."
It was directed by the same person who directed "Kelly's Heroes" (starring Clint Eastwood). Alistair MacLean (known for his fictional thrillers or adventure stories) wrote the novel of the same name and this movie's screenplay at the same time.
The mission of eight military agents (one of them a women [Mary Ure, 1933 to 1975], all of them British except one who's American) is straight-forward: get in, get or rescue an American General, and get out ALIVE.
The problem is that the American General is being held at the German Schloss Adler, the "Castle of the Eagles." This fortress is only accessible by cable car (or helicopter).
This mission is led by Major Smith (Burton) with Lieutenant Schaffer (Eastwood) doing the dirty work. Problems plague the mission right from the beginning.
You'll have to pay attention when watching this movie or you'll get confused. It has many twists and turns (that really kept me interested). Schaffer says it best when Smith reveals some important information:
"Major, right now, you got me as confused as I ever hope to be."
All actors do a good job in their roles but I have to give special kudos to Richard Burton as the leader of the mission. He gives a magnificent performance.
Also look for "scream queen" Ingrid Pitt in a small but essential role.
The background music adds to each scene. And the cinematography is just first-rate. (This movie was filmed on-location in Austria and Bavaria.)
The action in this movie is literally "explosive." The action on the cable cars is unforgettable.
Finally, the DVD (the one released in 2010) has three extras. One of these extras is a twelve-minute featurette which I found interesting.
In conclusion, this movie is a thrilling classic that you must see in order to understand why it was the biggest box-office draw in the year that it was released!!
(1968; 2 hr, 35 min; wide screen; 42 scenes)
<<Stephen Pletko, London, Ontario, Canada>>
on September 4, 2012
Years ago reading a history book i thought the assassination plot of hitler would make an interesting shoot...and years later of all people somewhat uncharacteristically Tom Cruise took up the challenge, going from movie star to character actor starring in a film. People found him different, and its a change of pace, and he may have found it unfamiliar terrain, but he received much media attention worldwide, and more intense scrutiny as an actor than the other roles he plays..sometimes tabloid nonsense takes away from an actor's reputation. Here we have the war again with richard burton sans liz who is a great actor by the way in films like night of the iguana and wild swans and other films with clint eastwood in a character type role also which is also a change of space, and there's a spy side plot and the location of a building at film's end, but there is much visual scenery beautifully photographed, many special effects,stunts,burnings,...here we have a visual movie with some acting and big stars. The movie is almost dramatized through imagery like a silent film. There is not much dialogue...and the imagery brings the scenes together but it's not really violent as in many films today and the climbing sequences and mountain peaks are interesting. Burton in a commentary compares eastwood to gary cooper in a more favourable light, and he could have worked more in europe but probably never took up the offers. He made two later war type films Kelly's heroes and Heartbreak Ridge for the interested viewer(forms part of clint's retrospective multidisc package)...Burton is great as always...he's always a joy to watch and brings something special in all his films, not only Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
If you're looking for a simple and common shoot'em up and blow'em up war movie, then this won't be a good choice for you.
This movie has a complex plot, and it focuses on that other than simple guns and shooting and killing that so many war movies focus on. There is an intricate spy story in this movie, and those who wish for simple action will miss the compelling plot that Alistar Maclean wrote specifically for this movie. (He wrote the screenplay before he wrote the actual novel).
Richard Burton was an excellent choice as the British spy, and his sidekick Clint Eastwood was another fine choice. They both play their parts very well. Some may say that Richard Burton is 'over the top' in this movie, well, you are correct. But Richard Burton ALWAYS plays his parts like that. Anybody who knows the work of the screen legend would not accept otherwise.
Do not listen to the naysayers here. This is an excellent movie that gets right into the thick of things very quickly. There is no annoying sub-plot. Everything may seem overwhelming at first glance, but there's a reason behind everything done and said. As I said prior - pay attention, you are watching one of the best war/action/adventure movies ever made.
Pay attention when you watch this one.
on May 31, 2004
Richard Burton was in need of hit, as his last several films didn't do great. He had seen The Guns of Navarone and liked the idea. So after talking to the author of the book Alistair MacLean, an idea was developed. Six weeks later MacLean handed Burton a copy of the script he had wrote called. "Where Eagles Dare." Burton stars as (Major Smith)a tough British Commando who leads a group of seven men into a rough mountain area located in the Alpines . Eastwood is (Lt Schaffer) the only American in the bunch. Although the group that lands in the mountains understands what their for (to rescue an American General who knows information about the upcoming D-Day landings) questions are still unanswered. Unkown to anyone except for Major Smith is Mary Elison (Mary Ure) who is there to help in the mission because she has connections with the Germans and SS! As Major Smith and Lt. Schaffer walk to the town around the castle in German uniforms they get a first hand account of what they are really in for. Rescue a American General and then get away. Suicide mission nonetheless, they take it and run. What happens in the first hour is nothing to what takes place in the hour plus that follows. Where the film gets touchy is the scene of the undercover agent. It takes place in a room with Nazi officals as well with Schaffer and Smith. What Elison is really along for during the mission is answered quickly (To get info and bail out Schaffer and Smith if and when they need it.) This is where the action starts and doesn't quite till the end. Some is well done and real, other parts aren't as well done. Filmed at great locations in Europe you can feel how cold and dangerous it was. I won't give away what else happens. It's a classic WWII war film with lots of action, shooting and explosions. Grade: B+
on March 4, 2004
While many may find it easy to embrace the lack of realism and other problems with this movie, some will find it jarring. Eastwood must have been carrying his own body weight in small arms ammunition to lay down the volume of fire he produces. Unlike "The Guns of Navarone," the only Alistair MacClean movie worth watching, there is little tension and the twisting plot seems more time consuming than interesting. Both of the lead actors did much better in other WWII movies (e.g., Eastwood's Kelly in "Kelly's Heroes" gives us a far more interesting character; Burton's burned-out RAF pilot in the longest day is far more watchable than his spy in "Eagles"). Given all the movies before and since whose primary dialogue has been automatic weapons fire, I'm afraid there is little to recommend in this movie to raise it above the rest. The scenery is pretty, the action sequences are well managed, and aircraft watchers will love seeing the old airplane (Junkers 52). But for the rest... Get a copy of "The Guns of Navarone" for a good WWII adventure movie.
on January 28, 2004
There are very few movies out there that can combine great acting, intrigue, action and excitement like "Where Eagles Dare" can.
First you have smooth and sauve Richard Burton in a wonderful performance as Major Smith: What are his plans? To whom do his allegiances lie? What exactly is he doing?
You can also ask these questions of the whole movie as the plot thickens soon after Burton, Clint Eastwood and a crew of English commando's descend into the Bavarian Alps to, what the viewer thinks, rescue an important Allied general. Sharp observers will note early on that all is not as it seems.
Thus begins a roller coaster ride of chases, explosions, suspense & thrills.
From a wild fight atop a cable car, to the final "unmasking" of everyone's true identities, there isn't a chance to pause and take a breath.
Although Burton is fantastic, Clint is the real star as he seemingly transports his quiet and deadly "Man With No Name" personna to the film as only he can.
This movie has it all.
on October 22, 2003
Where Eagles Dare is one of the first WWII movies I have ever watched, and watching it now, as then, I am still totally enthralled by this non stop action movie that offers the viewer over two hours of good old fashioned entertainement.
Surely there are things in the movie that nearly two decades later I see with more judgemental eyes, little flaws that are rarely committed in modern films,
The blood that looks exactly like paint blotches,
The German dialogue that is confused between English for German, German accented English for German, and a smutterings of German (the essential 'Schnell' in all WWII movies) for German,
And the two men that manage to destroy a whole Nazi battalion in the Reich's heartland with no more than a bullet scartch on the hand,
All these are way over the top and quite unbelievable,
But then again Where Eagles Dare offers something that many modern films caught up in too much technicalities and digital experimentation do not offer, pure sheer escapist old fashion entertainment! The breathtaking scenery, the almost Dvorakian and very underrated score, the acting, and the non stop dare devil action and decent stunts for its time, are more than enough to compensate any flaws, and to take the boredom out of sunday afternoons.A Must Buy!