The Eagle Has Landed

book by Jack Higgins set during World War II

The Eagle Has Landed is a 1976 British film directed by John Sturges. Based on the novel The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins, the film is about a German plot to kidnap Winston Churchill during the height of World War II.

In 1943 sixteen German paratroopers landed in England. In three days they nearly won the War. (taglines)
I have no intention of dying now. But if I'm going to, allow me to choose where and how. ~ Kurt Steiner

Oberstleutnant Max RadlEdit

  • [Reading signed orders] "Herr Oberst Radl is acting under my direct and personal orders in a matter of the utmost importance to the Reich. All personnel, military and civil, without distinction of rank, will assist him in any way that Oberst Radl sees fit to demand... Adolf Hitler."


  • Admiral Wilhelm Franz Canaris: Kill Churchill when we've already lost the war? Im sure you've done a good job Radl; very thorough. But this operation would make the Charge of the Light Brigade look like a sensible military exercise.
  • Oberstleutnant Kurt Steiner: It has been a privilege to serve with you. (last lines to his troops before the final battle)


[A pistol fires, and the prisoner Steiner just freed falls dead on the passing freight train. A group of Waffen-SS arrive, led by a general]
SS Obergruppenführer: Identify yourself.
Oberstleutnant Kurt Steiner: Oberst Kurt Steiner, commanding the 12th Parachute Detachment.
SS Obergruppenführer: A salute is customary for a general, Herr Oberst. Even to one of SS. You didn't seem quite so discriminating a moment ago.
Oberstleutnant Kurt Steiner: I have nothing for or against Jews, personally. But I've seen too many men die for cause, to watch a young girl be killed for sport!
SS Obergruppenführer: Sturmbannführer Stauff was doing his duty!
Oberstleutnant Kurt Steiner: He reminds me of something that I occasionally pick up on my shoe in the gutter! Very unpleasant, on a hot day. And if you have the dubious honour of commanding this senseless slaughter, I'd advise you to keep him downwind at all times! That is, of course, if YOU can tell the difference anymore.
Oberleutnant Ritter': For God's sake, Kurt...
SS Obergruppenführer: [Feigning amusement] What am I to do with you, Herr Oberst? You are a military hero, awarded the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords for gallantry. Yet responsible for the attempted escape of an enemy of the state. [Furious] Abetted by the mutinous conduct of your men! By rights you should all be court-martialled!
Oberstleutnant Kurt Steiner: Difficult decisions are the privilege of rank, Herr Gruppenführer. [The SS general smiles thinly] But as for my men... they seem to feel a certain loyalty to me. I- don't suppose you could content yourself with my head, and... overlook their part in this thing? [Hopefully] Huh?
[The Obergruppenführer just smiles unpleasantly]
Oberstleutnant Kurt Steiner: [Turning to Ritter] There you go. You see, Hans? It's infallible. I can always tell a thoroughgoing bastard when I see one.

Liam Devlin: [To the pilot] How do I jump out of this thing?
Pilot: Undo your safety belt. I turn the aircraft upside down, you drop out.
Liam Devlin: [Turning to Radl] Has it occurred to you that piece of paper you keep waving about could just be a clever forgery?
Colonel Max Radl: Why don't you fly to Berchestgaden and ask him yourself?
Liam Devlin: Oh, let's not bother the man!

Colonel Pitts: You speak English?
Corpral Kuniski: Yes.
Colonel Pitts: I'm gonna give you five minutes to lay down your arms, and surrender your hostages. You understand what I'm saying?
Corpral Kuniski: Yes.
Colonel Pitts: Where's your commanding officer?
Corpral Kuniski: Yes.
Colonel Pitts: Are you makin' fun of me, soldier?
[Kuniski just grins]

[Captain Harry Clark, having taken command of the Rangers after Colonel Pitts is killed after charging into an ambush, is meeting outside the town church with Oberst Steiner during a truce.]
Oberst Kurt Steiner: And what can I do for you, Captain Clark?
Captain Harry Clark: Surrender.
Oberst Kurt Steiner: [Amused] Surrender?
Captain Harry Clark: Mr. Churchill is safe and under guard. Your associate Mrs. Grey is dead, and her radio has been confiscated. It's all over, Colonel.
Oberst Kurt Steiner: [Gestures to the church behind him] I have hostages.
Captain Harry Clark: [Looks pointedly at Steiner] Well... I can't see you bringin' 'em out, women and children in front of you.
Oberst Kurt Steiner: [Smiles slightly, realising Clark is right] No. [Turns to face the door] Let the villagers go, Altmann.
Oberst Kurt Steiner: Goodbye, Captain Clark.
Captain Harry Clark: Colonel- there's no such thing as death with honor. Just death.
Oberst Kurt Steiner: [Calmly] I have no intention of dying now. But if I'm going to, allow me to choose where and how.

Oberstleutnant Kurt Steiner: Mr. Devlin, you are an extraordinary man.
Liam Devlin: Colonel Steiner, you're an extraordinary judge of character.


  • In 1943 sixteen German paratroopers landed in England. In three days they nearly won the War.
  • The daring World War II plot that changed the course of history.
  • The best seller is now a major motion picture.


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