During World War II, a British aircraft is shot down and crashes in Nazi held territory. The Germans capture the only survivor, American Brigadier General George Carnaby (Robert Beatty), and take him to the nearest S.S. headquarters. Unknown to the Germans, the General has full knowledge of the D-Day operation. The British decide that the General must not be allowed to divulge any details of the Normandy landing at all costs, and order Major Jonathan Smith (Richard Burton) to lead a crack commando team to rescue him. Amongst the team is an American Ranger, Lieutenant Morris Schaffer (Clint Eastwood), who is puzzled by his inclusion in an all British operation. When one of the team dies after the parachute drop, Schaffer suspects that Smith’s mission has a much more secret objective.
A great wartime thriller
Where Eagles Dare is simply wonderful. Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood are in terrific form as leaders of a mission deep behind enemy lines. Their job: to infiltrate a mountain top castle and rescue an imprisoned American colonel. There’s actually more to the mission than that, but to give away the twists would be to rob anyone who hasn’t seen the movie of some wonderful surprises.
The snowy backdrop is perfectly captured. The action sequences (of which there are many) are brilliantly staged, especially the fight atop the cable car, and the bus chase at the end. Each character is well cast, with Burton, Eastwood, Ure and Hordern giving commanding performances. Best of all is the little-known Derren Nesbitt who oozes menace and charm as a nasty Nazi soldier.
I’ve seen this film countless times and it never tires me. It has so many twists and turns and well-execute sequences that it is gripping every time you watch it. There’s really no other way to say it – you need to see this film and see it soon!