Caine as a German, Pleasence as Himmler, and Sutherland as a member of the I.R.A.-what's not to get excited about in John Sturges' adaptation of Jack Higgins' The Eagle Has Landed? Throw in Duvall with an eyepatch, Jenny Agutter in nymph mode and even J.R. Ewing as a blood and guts Colonel out of his depth, and you have a high concept war movie begging to be remade by the likes of Tarantino or Rodriguez.
In places it resembles Midsummer Murders or an episode of The Archers due to its country setting until battle ensues amongst the idyllic village. Caine's troops obliterate an inexperienced American convoy with a ruthless efficiency and are in turn annihlated at the hands of superior firepower later on-almost a microcosm of WW2 in itself.
As good as the action is, it is really the all star cast playing off one and other that makes the film. Scenes between Sutherland and Duvall reveal how fascinated their characters are with one another, whereas Duvall's meeting with Pleascences' Himmler is quietly disturbing. Sutherland's arrival in the village is wonderfully handled releasing pent up sexual frustration in Aguter's country girl that ends in murder.
But at the centre of it all is Caine's Colonel trying to look after his decimated troop of elite paratroopers. So good is he that you want him to succeed in killing Churchill and win a negotiated peace for the Nazis. But Eagle has so many twists and turns that nothing can be taken for granted.