Where Eagles Dare

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Where Eagles Dare
Genre: Action
Directed By: Brian G. Hutton
Produced By: Elliott Kastner
Jerry Gershwin
Based On: Where Eagles Dare by Alistair MacLean
Starring: Richard Burton
Clint Eastwood
Mary Ure
Michael Hordern
Patrick Wymark
Cinematography: Arthur Ibbetson
Distributed By: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release Date: December 4 1968 (United States)
March 12 1969 (United States)
Runtime: 155 minutes
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Budget: $7.7 million or $6.2 million
Box Office: $21 million

Where Eagles Dare is a 1968 British epic metrocolor World War II action film directed by Brian G. Hutton and starring Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood, and Mary Ure. It was distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, filmed in Panavision, and shot on location in Austria and Bavaria. Alistair MacLean wrote the screenplay, his first, at the same time that he wrote the novel of the same name. Both became commercial successes.


In the winter of 1943–44, a crack team of Allied soldiers stages a daring rescue during World War II. A U.S. general is being held captive in an imposing castle fort, high in the Bavarian Alps. The audacious plan calls for Lt. Schaffer (Clint Eastwood), Maj. Smith (Richard Burton), and other operatives to parachute down wearing Nazi disguises. They'll penetrate the mountain outpost while undercover operatives assist them from within. But their mission changes when they discover that there's a traitor in their midst.

Why It Rocks

  1. The idea of a war film about the Allies disguises as Nazis and trying to rescue an American brigadier is very creative
  2. It's extremely faithful to the novel and its source material from the book.
  3. Great acting, thanks to Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood, and the other casts.
  4. The third and final act is one of the best parts of the movie.
  5. It has likable characters, such as Maj. John Smith, Lt. Morris Schaffer, etc.
  6. Tons of awesome action sequences, such as Alf Joint who doubled for Burton in such sequences as the fight on top of the cable car, and even the final road chase scene.
  7. Clever, and original ideas, such as the TNT string traps in the Nazi imposing castle.
  8. The sets of a fictional German town including a fictional castle named Schloß Adler, with only accessible cable car were pretty good.
  9. Amazing soundtrack that was performed by Ron Goodwin, especially the main theme.

Bad Qualities

  1. Historical inaccuracy: There was a helicopter named Bell model 47G, which didn't exist until well after the war, although the Germans had a small number of working helicopters during the war (none of which would have been readily available to the filmmakers).
  2. The story at times can be very confusing.


Critical response

Where Eagles Dare was well-received by critics, and audiences alike, though many critics found the plot somewhat confusing. But nonetheless, the film enjoys a reputation as a classic and is considered by many as one of the best war films of all time. It has a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 23 reviews. On Metacritic, it has a 63/100 based on 8 reviews with "Generally favorable reviews". It has a 7.7/10 rating on IMDb.

Box office

The film became a commercial success, earning $6,560,000 at the North American box office during its first year of release. It was the 7th-most popular film at the UK box office in 1969, and 13th in the US.



  • The is Richard Burton's last successful movie at the U.S. box office.
  • Before the production began, it was delayed while filming due to the weather in Austria. The shooting took place in winter and early spring of 1968 and the crew had to contend with blizzards, sub-zero temperatures, and potential avalanches.

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