Where Eagles Dare (1968) War Themed Action

I’ve never seen Where Eagles Dare before and must say I was pleasantly surprised. It’s entertaining and cinematographically stunning.

It’s a fabulously scenic film with some pictures that would even look good in a vampire movie. Plus we get to see two great actors, Clint Eastwood and  Richard Burton who, teamed up, give this movie a special something that I found very appealing.

The story is the tale of a suicide mission. A group of mountaineering soldiers, led by British Major Smith (Richard Burton) and American Lt. Schaffer (Clint Eastwood) are sent to free an American officer captured by the Germans and held in a castle in the mountain, called Eagle’s Nest.

From the moment they parachute out of the plane it’s obvious that the mission they are on is a fake one. What they really need to do, is uncover double-agents.

From the moment they land in the snow-covered woods, until they climb into the castle, the action and tension is relentless and is even intensified, when they have to escape from the castle again.

It’s quite a violent movie, with loads of explosions and a great deal of merciless killings. But it is also very suspenseful, there is plenty of action reminiscent of a modern-day movie. (It seems as if this was Quentin Tarantino’s favourite war movie and that he wanted to do a remake. I hope he will not and that the similarities one can find in Inglourious Basterds is all there will be.)

It was a pleasant surprise to find a female agent who has quite a great role, and fights and shoots just like the men.

I loved the cinematography, the steep mountains, covered in snow and the castle, nested on the top of a hill, gave the movie a Gothic feel.

The fact that I always feel uneasy in cable-cars made watching this movie quite impressive as some of the most gripping scenes take place on the top of a cable-car.

Apparently the movie has been criticized for not being anti-war. I think, that there are for sure movies with a clearer anti-war statement, which is one of the reasons why I think this is more of an action movie with a war theme than a real war movie.

In any case,  I found it very entertaining and I loved Clint Eastwood in this.

I’ve heard that Where Eagles Dare is one of a pair, the other one being The Guns of Navarone. There is a certain likeness, logically, they have both been written by Alistair MacLean. I couldn’t say which one I prefer, I think they both have a lot to offer.

Which one do you prefer?

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8 thoughts on “Where Eagles Dare (1968) War Themed Action

  1. warmoviebuff says:

    I am glad you liked it. It is one of my favorites and although not in the Greatest 100, it should be. In my opinion, it is better than the similar Dirty Dozen, Guns of Navarone, and The Eagle Has Landed.

    The body count is laughably incredible. You can go to You Tube where people have downloaded all the deaths. Pretty cool.

    This is a great movie to see for the first time because the twists are very entertaining.

    BTW the theme music is awesome and memorable.

    • I agree about the theme music. I think I preferred The Eagle has Landed but need to watch it again.
      In any case this one has aged very well. It is in the book 100 war movies you must see before you die…. That would have been a more ineteresting list to watch through. As a matter of fact, I think it is a great list.

    • TheWarExpert says:

      Absolutely. And really [I feel], one of the great – and superbly acted! – all-time espionage/war-thrillers of all time (right up there with such classics, the likes of ‘The Dirty Dozen’ [my personal best], ‘Saving Private Ryan’, ‘Band of Bros.’, among others … ), leaving you with a story-line that perhaps needs to be viewed at least twice – at least I had to anyway[!] …

      I also agree on the musical theme, for the most part – on the onset of the film. Ron Goodwin’s score [at least for me!] not only fills the viewer with a sense of bravado, but personally, gives me goosebumps[!] each time I get the chance to see it again every few years … And I especially enjoy playing t/his score – ‘at[!]’ my opponent! – when I’m playing a game of chess. (but I suppose, only when I’m winning … )

      On a final note, no one should ever attempt to even ‘think[!]’ about undertaking a ‘re-make’ of ‘Where Eagles Dare’ – as just as with [similar inklings over] ‘The Dirty Dozen’ (first off, no one could replace the likes of Clint Eastwood/Lee Marvin in their roles) – and despite more-than-likely ‘thrown in’ special effects – I doubt if any producer/director [today] could actually improve on the basic feel of what both of these fine films were meant to be in their day. Nonetheless, one of my favourite war films of all-time – and a real ‘twister’ towards the end. Gotta go see it again! …

      • Exactly, me too, I need to watch it again, I’m sure I didn’t get everything the first time. Compared to so many of the more modern movie that have a lot of special effects and what not, this is just a great movie. The actors are great and no remake, I agree, could replace someone like Clint Eastwood.
        By the way, I haven’t seen the Dirty Dozen yet. I guess it is something to look forward too, right?

  2. warmoviebuff says:

    I have that book and you may well be right. I guess I have a project for when I finish the Greatest 100 list. Thanks. I will check to see how much overlap there is. Should be interesting. Of the movies I listed, I would put The Eagle Has Landed as last, sorry.

  3. Force 10 from Navarone is another great war movie of the 1970’s epic style.

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