Where Eagles Dare (1968) Review

Director: Brian G. Hutton

Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Thriller, War

Runtime: 158 minutes

MPAA Rating: PG

IMDb Page

There are video games that are more accurate and realistic than this World War II-based action-adventure picture. I really don’t think that’s a hyperbolic statement. Here, a team of Allied commandos is dispatched to the Nazi-occupied Alps to rescue Carnaby (Robert Beatty), an American officer who knows of the Normandy invasion plans and has been captured by the Germans. He’s being held in an impenetrable castle and our heroes, particularly Smith (Richard Burton) and Schaffer (Clint Eastwood), have to storm it. People who have a hard time suspending their disbelief should avoid this movie like the plague.

I, on the other hand, love this crazy stuff, and find Where Eagles Dare to be a real treat. Once things start to pick up, this film is almost non-stop gunfire, explosions, scuffles, and escapes. The legendary Yakima Canutt is the second unit director here, and his action sequences are dynamite. They’re video-gamey as all get-out, but I don’t have a problem with this. Ron Goodwin provides a pulse-pounding musical score.

Listen, this is one unrealistic movie, with bad guys being knocked down like bowling pins, Nazis speaking English instead of German (except when they don’t, of course), and hand grenades tossed at our protagonists taking approximately ten hours to explode. It’s totally preposterous, and the plot quickly becomes insanely convoluted. Good luck trying to wrap your head around it. The beginning is quite slow-moving, and most people in the feature get next-to-no characterization.

I’m not going to lie. The first time I saw Where Eagles Dare, I hated it immensely. How could one movie make Medal of Honor: Allied Assault look like documentary footage and have such a ludicrously over-complicated story? Also, what’s up with the lethargic pacing? However, I’ve definitely reevaluated it, and now I think that it’s the bomb. Most of my complaints still stand, but I’ve learned not to care. Also, don’t forget to listen to the Iron Maiden song “Where Eagles Dare” afterwards!

My rating is 8 outta 10.

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