The eagle has landed (film)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
German title The Eagle has landed
Original title The Eagle Has Landed
Logo eagle has landed de.svg
Country of production United Kingdom
original language English
Publishing year 1976
length 135 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director John Sturges
script Tom Mankiewicz
production David Niven Jr.
Jack Wiener
music Lalo Schifrin
camera Anthony B. Richmond
cut Anne V. Coates

The Eagle Has Landed (AKA The Eagle Has Landed ) is a war movie , the 1976 directed by John Sturges was filmed. Leading actors include Michael Caine , Donald Sutherland and Robert Duvall . It is based on the bestselling novel by Jack Higgins of the same name .


After German paratroopers freed Mussolini from captivity , Adolf Hitler had the idea of kidnapping Winston Churchill in order to rob the Allies of an important leader and to have some leverage against the British. Admiral Wilhelm Canaris , the chief of the German defense , should examine the feasibility of such an undertaking and have a corresponding plan drawn up.

Canaris commissioned Colonel Radl with this task. Canaris hopes that Hitler will forget the whole thing again and fears that Himmler will do his best to get the company going. In contrast to Canaris, Radl is of the opinion that the operation is feasible and sensible, especially since he has received the information that Churchill will soon be in the remote English coastal town of Studley Constable to watch a maneuver . He also already has two people who are considered for the company. One of them is Colonel Kurt Steiner, commander of a paratrooper regiment, who, with his men, who are absolutely loyal to him, is serving in a punitive unit on the island of Alderney , after campaigning for a Jewish woman. The other is the Irish freedom fighter Liam Devlin, who is currently lecturing at a Berlin university.

Himmler is enthusiastic about Radl's commitment to preparing the company and gives him a power of attorney (allegedly) personally signed by Hitler, through which Radl now has a free hand in the matter. Steiner and his men, disguised as Polish paratroopers , are dropped off on the English coast and received there by Devlin and Joanna Gray, a native South African who works for the German side for personal reasons, introduced to the local population and initially welcomed them warmly . However, the true identity of the alleged Polish skydivers will soon be revealed. When one of the men rescues an English child from drowning during a bogus maneuver and dies in the process, his uniform rips open and the German uniform underneath emerges, which Steiner's men von Radl allowed to wear.

The villagers present are then taken hostage and interned in the church. However, Pamela, the pastor's sister, alarms a unit of American rangers stationed nearby, whose inexperienced commander Pitts is frustrated by his military service on the stage . He now senses his great chance to achieve the longed-for battle glory. Just as energetically as arrogant and incompetent, he tries on his own to thwart the Germans' plan and has the village church surrounded where Steiner and his men have holed up. However, the American attack fails completely and costs the lives of a large number of those involved.

The Americans bring reinforcements. As a member of parliament , Captain Clark Steiner calls for negotiations. The latter then steps in front of the church door in a German uniform with a knight's cross . Steiner agrees that the hostages leave the church, but refuses to surrender his unit. He returns to the church. In the sacristy , Irishman Devlin shows him a secret door to a tunnel that leads to the village below the church.

Steiner instructs his men to hold the position in the church as long as possible so that he has enough time to single-handedly approach Churchill. All Germans in the church are killed in the attack, but also Pitts. He turns to Joanna Gray of all people with a request for help, but is shot by the latter on the stairs of her house. Joanna dies moments later in the hail of bullets from Pitt's men.

Meanwhile, Devlin and Steiner enter the village through the tunnel. Devlin drives the German colonel in his car into the woods not far from the house where Churchill is allegedly staying. After Steiner knocked down a guard, he managed to penetrate the property. He sees Churchill who has stepped out on the terrace to smoke a cigar. After a brief moment of hesitation, he fires at the Prime Minister and is then shot by his security forces. Only now does the British guards learn from one of the state officials that the dead man on the terrace is not Winston Churchill at all, but an actor . Churchill's visit was only staged to divert the attention of Germans from his real travel destinations. The real Churchill is at this point in time in Persia at the Tehran conference , where he is discussing the invasion plans with Roosevelt and Stalin , with which the final victory over Germany is to be brought about. Devlin escapes unharmed.

Deviations from the book

In many ways the film deviates considerably from the novel. Kurt Steiner is a colonel in the film, but a lieutenant colonel in the book, so one rank lower. In contrast to the film, Steiner does not lose his rank in the book through the incident with the Jewish girl whom he is trying to save. The character of Arthur Seymour has a black full beard in the book and is portrayed much colder than in the film. In addition, in the film, Seymour is shot in the back by Molly Prior at Liam Devlin's home with a shotgun; this scene does not appear in the book at all. Likewise, the boxing match between Devlin and Seymour on the back of the church does not appear in the book. Arthur Seymour survives in the book and ends up killing one of the German soldiers, an Englishman by the name of Harvey Preston, Untersturmführer of the British Freikorps - who also does not appear in the film - by hanging in the church. In the book there is a Sir Henry Willoughby, Lieutenant Colonel in the British Home Guard . This person is also not seen in the film, even though Joanna Gray mentions him. Colonel Radl is arrested by the SS in the film and shot by a firing squad. In the book, Heinrich Himmler instructs Colonel Radl to be arrested for high treason, but Radl is not shot. In the film, Liam Devlin ends up choosing to stay with Molly Prior; so he is not leaving England. In the book, he fled to the S-boat together with a Lieutenant Neumann and thus escaped to Germany. In the film, the fake Winston Churchill is shot by Kurt Steiner; this scene does not exist in the book either. Although Steiner tries to shoot him on the terrace, he is shot by Churchill's bodyguards shortly before. The scenes with the "dog trick" by Liam Devlin on the runway with the Rottweiler , with the Irish Wolfhound by Joanna Gray and the two dogs of the American soldiers are completely fictitious and cannot be found in the book either .


"Questionable action film , the war once again as a matter of honor exemplary and chivalrous men shows and half-truths and inventions as authentic issues."

- Lexicon of international film , CD-ROM edition, Systhema, Munich 1997.

“Thanks to the great star cast , the film is characterized by the different, finely polished characters. Michael Caine [...] was enthusiastic about working with John Sturges [...] During the shooting, surprisingly, there was no friction between the individual stars. This good atmosphere was also indirectly carried over to the film, which, in Sturges' opinion, should not be assessed as a pure war film, but as an adventure film about the ideals of male friendships. "

- The big film lexicon: all top films from A – Z.

"[...] a nice, old-fashioned adventure film, filled with pithy events and people, so that you can watch it relaxed without having to worry about the truth or even the probability."


  • The day of the first performance in the Federal Republic of Germany was February 24, 1977.
  • The Eagle Has Landed was filmed in Berkshire , Cornwall , Charlestown , Mapledurham , Rovaniemi , Newquay and at Twickenham Studio in London .
  • The budget was estimated at $ 6 million.
  • The film is one of the war films whose posters used an original font logo that was incompatible with German legislation. It was an eagle head in the letter G, the eye of which is a swastika.
  • The film was released from 16 until 2013. A re-examination downgraded the release to 12 years and over.


The fictional little town of the main plot Studley Constable is placed on the east coast of England in the county of Norfolk and examined by Radl actor Robert Duvall on the map: It is geographically located where the villages of Wighton and Warham are in reality . In the film, however, you can see the place Mapledurham in southern Oxfordshire with the Elizabethan Mapledurham House , in which the alleged Churchill is housed. The girl's momentous rescue operation was filmed at the Mapledurham Watermill .


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Dirk Manthey, Jörg Altendorf, Willy Loderhose (eds.): The large film lexicon. All top films from A-Z . Second edition, revised and expanded new edition. Verlagsgruppe Milchstraße, Hamburg 1995, ISBN 3-89324-126-4 , p. 40 f .
  2. Vincent Canby Eagle Has Landed on Screens With Lively Splash of Adventure. In The New York Times . March 26, 1977.
  3. Catholic Institute for Media Information [KIM] and Catholic Film Commission for Germany (ed.): Lexicon of international films . Cinema, television, video, DVD . Zweiausendeins, Frankfurt am Main 2002, ISBN 3-86150-455-3 , p. 39 .
  4. Filming locations for The Eagle Has Landed (1976). In: IMDb ., Inc., accessed March 13, 2008 .
  5. ↑ Box office earnings for The Eagle Has Landed (1976). In: IMDb., Inc., accessed March 13, 2008 .
  6. ^ Publication of the Mapledurham Estate, The Estate Office, Mapledurham, Reading, RG4 7TR