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The Eagle Has Landed
cast: Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland, Robert Duvall, Jenny Agutter, and Donald Pleasence

director: John Sturges

132 minutes (15) 1976
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
Prism Leisure DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by Debbie Moon
You know what it's like - your boss comes up with some mad idea, and you're the one who has to make it happen. And when your boss is Hitler, and the idea is to kidnap Churchill from a country weekend in a small Norfolk village, failure is not an option.

Luckily, too-decent-for-his-own-good German officer Michael Caine is on hand with his crack paratroopers and his English education, and war-weary Irish Republican Donald Sutherland will be the inside man. However, everyone's reckoned without the plucky villagers, bored US officer Larry Hagman and his troops, and the lovely Jenny Agutter capturing the heart of one of the conspirators.

There's still something rather disturbing about seeing armed troops shooting it out on an English village green, but otherwise, this is the kind of war movie they don't make any more; the sort where even the enemy has courage and decency, everyone respects the lives of innocent civilians, and honour is just as important as victory. It may be a little slow and obvious by modern standards - not least since we all know Churchill didn't get kidnapped - but the story does create a certain amount of tension, particularly towards the end. Caine makes a surprisingly good German officer, but Sutherland has the showiest and most sympathetic role, and makes the best of it.

A solid piece of alternative history peppered with familiar faces and sympathetic characters, The Eagle Has Landed is still an enjoyable watch, and a must-own for any fan of classic war movies.

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