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Lieutenant Schaffer, Don't worry Eastwood fans, he's only disguised as a Nazi.

"Broadsword calling Danny Boy... Broadsword calling Danny Boy, come in, over."
Major Smith


They dared to go where no one would try

They chose to fly where eagles dare

Where Eagles Dare is a 1968 seminal action thriller set in World War II starring Clint Eastwood and Richard Burton. It follows in the footsteps of Guns of the Navarrone, where there was a shift in war movies, eschewing historical accuracy in favour of exploding Nazis, and a very high HSQ in order to appeal to a new generation of moviegoers.

A bunch of seven Allied paratroopers are dropped behind enemy lines in the Alps, ostensibly to find and rescue a captured American general who's a key player in the plans for D-Day. However, after some members of the group appear to have been assassinated by a member of the gang and then the local Nazis are informed of their presence, it's clear to the viewer that there's a traitor in their midst. Is everyone in the team who they appear to be? Can the team accomplish their mission against all odds? And how many Nazis can be killed in just one castle anyway? [1]

As with any film involving shady deals and double crossing, spoilers ahead.

Where Eagles Dare provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Mary takes this title by the end of the film, where she and Schaeffer gun down hordes of Nazis from the back of the bus.
    • Also Heidi.
  • Adventure Duo: Smith and Schaeffer.
  • America Wins the War: Played with. Schaefer, as a Ranger, single-handedly mows his way through two thirds of the Wehrmacht, but it's quite clear that Smith is no slouch in the killing department. It's also made clear that Schaefer is there only because Smith needs an ally, as the Brits can no longer trust their own team.
  • Anti-Hero: Schaffer kills a number of soldiers in cold blood; in fact, the others tend to leave him to that kind of work, such as when Smith stands back to allow Schaffer to stab the radio operator in the back rather than do it himself. (Although it doesn't go as planned.)
  • Badass: Smith and Schaefer both. In fact, individually they'd be classed as a One-Man Army.
  • Badass Crew: Smith, Schaefer and Mary.
  • Batman Gambit: Admiral Rolland's scheme to uncover the lead mole in England.
  • Blond Guys Are Evil: Major Von Hapen.
  • Booby Trap: And how. Smith and Schaefer smuggle enough tripwire/timer-activated TNT into the castle to... well, blow it and everyone in it into smithereens.
  • Broken Bridge: KABOOM!
  • Cable Car Action Sequence: A lengthy one is the climax of the movie.
  • Car Fu: Smith's escape in a snowplough-equipped bus full of machine guns
  • The Chessmaster: Admiral Rolland and, to a lesser extent, Smith The entire operation, right down to finding a lookalike for an American general and shooting his plane down over the right part of Germany was all planned months in advance by Rolland, who confided in Smith and relied on his skills at roulette to see it through to execution.
  • Double Agent: Half of the commando party are double agents working for the Nazis. Smith is a triple agent who's managed to convince the Nazis he's a double agent working for them when in fact he's working for British counter-intelligence.
  • Dressing as the Enemy
  • Every Car Is a Pinto
  • Face Heel Turn / Heel Face Turn: Smith manages both in the space of five minutes in order to first convince the Nazi generals that Schaefer is an American assassin in order to gain their trust, and then back again when he's collected the information he needs and kills the generals.
  • Fake Defector: Smith turns in Schaefer to the German command after his apparent Face Heel Turn
  • Five-Bad Band:
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Gambit Roulette: Played with. All of the commanders are aware that some of the commando group are loyal whilst others are double agents. However, only Smith, Schaefer and Rolland are aware of each other's loyalty but aren't sure which members of their own group are loyal. Part of the overall plan is to expose them.
  • Grenade Hot Potato: Played perfectly straight with Schaefer throwing back a grenade when under siege. He later retreats when they start throwing two grenades at a time.
  • Guns Akimbo: Schaeffer's CMOA is dual-wielding MP40s to hold of dozens of soldiers.
  • Leave Behind a Pistol: Smith cautions Schaffer against shooting Colonel Turner, noting "We mustn't cheat the hangman," but raises no objections when Turner chooses to throw himself out the plane's door rather than face trial.
  • Made of Explodium: Whilst most objects in this movie end up exploding quite legitimately, there's at least two vehicles that burst into flames and explode just from pushed down a hill.
  • Meaningful Name: John Smith/Johann Schmidt is the man you can't trust to be who he says he is, Schaefer (Shepherd) is there to protect Smith, Colonel Turner is the traitor.
  • Mind Screwdriver: Whilst almost impossibly convoluted, the plan is revealed in retrospect.

 Colonel Kramer: It's incredible![2]

Smith: Yes. But to the British very, very simple.


Smith: Lieutenant, in the next fifteen minutes, we have to create enough confusion to get out of here alive.

Schaeffer: Major, right now you got me about as confused as I ever hope to be.

  • The Mole: Colonel Turner. Whilst it's only revealed at the end of the film, it becomes apparent that the British have suspected him as the mole for a long time and organised the mission to secure proof. Not to mention all the other moles who were killed in getting that information.
  • Mooks: Nazis are, in some scenes, literally lining up to be shot.
  • More Dakka: Many occasions throughout the film.
  • Most Common Superpower: Referenced when Smith introduces Mary to Heidi.

 Smith: Heidi's been one of our top undercover agents in Bavaria for years. And... eh... what a disguise.

  • Nazi Germany
  • No Seat Belts: This caused the death of the Mooks who were escorting Smith and Schaefer into custody.
  • Not with the Safety On, You Won't: Subverted in that Rolland removed the firing pin from Turner's gun before the mission started.
  • Rated "M" for Manly: The celluloid was practically impregnated with testosterone prior to filming.
  • Reverse Mole: Smith
  • Rule of Cool: Quite possibly one of the earliest examples of an entire movie being built on this.
  • So My Kids Can Watch: Specifically written by Alistair McLean to give his mate Richard Burton a good old-fashioned adventure romp to show the kids.
  • Storming the Castle: The Schloss Adler can be approached only by cable car, under (over?) the watchful eye of an entire battalion of Nazi troopers.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Pretty much every prop and set used throughout the film gets exploded.
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler: Nazis with helicopters!
  • Those Wacky Nazis: A classic reinforcer of a lot of the stereotypes. There's the sinister, backstabbing Gestapo officer, the aristocratic generals and the tight-lipped torture-frau, not to mention the soon-to-be-exploded Mooks shown to be continually living it up in Bierkellers.
  • Throw-Away Guns: Our good guys seems to have a never-ending supply of MP40s.
    • Seeing how many Mooks they mow down, it's rather justified.
  • Truth in Television: Whilst the events of the film are ridiculously fictitious, the British Secret Service went to extraordinary lengths to weed out German agents in Britain, with such success that it's safe to say the Allies were running western Nazi intelligence by the end of the war.
    • But because of that, the idea that the Germans had a number of highly-placed moles in the Allied camp by that stage of the war is ridiculous.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: When Schaeffer asks Smith what the hell is going on, the cameraman wanders off. Turns out Smith probably lied anyway, considering he pulls a gun on Schaeffer later and calls him a second rate punk.
  • Windmill Crusader: Played with/inverted; all of the team are sent in to the castle to rescue the general, but only Smith and Mary are aware that the whole setup is a complete fabrication, and most of the rest of the team are the bad guys.
  • Xanatos Gambit: The secondary plan to expose all of the other German spies present in Britain, deliver bogus D-Day plans and assassinate key officers of the Alpenkorps under the guise of a rescue attempt.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Smith's part in Rolland's Batman Gambit is to continually fiddle the plan to either expose or eliminate the double agents whilst the treacherous members of his team try to eliminate the loyal ones.
  • You Just Told Me: Used as part of the Xanatos Gambit; because he's convinced Schmidt is actually a double agent working for the Germans, Kramer voluntarily gives Smith the notebooks containing the lists of spy contacts working undercover in Britain and confirms the name of the lead mole.
  1. A lot.
  2. And at this point, he doesn't know even half of it.