Eye of the Needle (film)
|Eye of the Needle|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Richard Marquand|
|Produced by||Stephen J. Friedman|
|Screenplay by||Stanley Mann|
|Based on||Eye of the Needle
by Ken Follett
|Music by||Miklós Rózsa|
|Edited by||Sean Barton|
Kings Road Entertainment
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|Box office||$17.5 million|
Eye of the Needle is a 1981 American spy film directed by Richard Marquand and starring Donald Sutherland and Kate Nelligan. It was written by Stanley Mann and based on the novel of the same title by Ken Follett. The film is about a German spy in England during World War II who discovers vital information about the upcoming D-Day invasion, and his attempt to return to Germany afterwards while living in the isolated Storm Island, off the coast of Scotland.
A man calling himself Henry Faber is actually a German Nazi spy nicknamed "the Needle" because of his preferred method of assassination, the stiletto. He is a coldly calculating sociopath, emotionlessly focused on the task at hand, whether the task is to signal a U-boat or to gut a witness to avoid exposure. In England, he obtains critical information on the Allies' invasion of Normandy plans. After narrowly escaping a British Intelligence agent in London, Faber tries to make his way to Germany, but is stranded by fierce weather on Storm Island, a place occupied only by a woman named Lucy (Kate Nelligan), her disabled husband David, their son, and their shepherd, Tom. A romance develops between the woman and the spy, due to an estrangement between Lucy and her husband, whose accident has rendered him emotionally crippled as well.
David is always suspicious of Faber, and when he discovers their guest's true identity, a struggle ensues, ending with the Needle throwing him off a cliff. Lucy realizes that her lover has been lying after she chances upon her husband's dead body. Meanwhile "The Needle" tries to get to Tom's radio to report to his superiors the exact location of the D-Day invasion. While he calls upon a German submarine, Lucy blows the house's fuses and stops his full message. While the German U-boat approaches, Lucy is the Allies' last chance. She chases Faber to the sea, and while he is reluctant to harm her, she has no such qualms and shoots him as he tries to escape in a boat, thwarting his attempt to reach the submarine. Soon after, the British Intelligence agent who was chasing Faber arrives with the police. He encounters a despondent Lucy, Faber's body and the fleeing German submarine.
Additional footage tells of Faber's activities four years before, and of David's accident, while another ending finds Lucy receiving help from British Intelligence.
- Donald Sutherland as Henry Faber
- Kate Nelligan as Lucy Rose
- Ian Bannen as Inspector Godliman
- Christopher Cazenove as David Rose
- Stephen MacKenna as Lieutenant
- Philip Martin Brown as Billy Parkin
- George Belbin as Lucy's Father
- Faith Brook as Lucy's Mother
- Barbara Graley as David's Mother
- George Lee as Constable
- Arthur Lovegrove as Peterson
- Colin Rix as Oliphant
- Barbara Ewing as Mrs. Garden
- Patrick Connor as Inspector Harris
- David Hayman as Canter
- Alex McCrindle as Tom
- John Bennett as Kleinmann
- Sam Kydd as Lock Keeper
- John Paul as Home Guard Captain
- Bill Nighy as Squadron Leader Blenkinsop
- Jonathan and Nicholas Haley (twins) as Joe (David and Lucy's son)
- Allan Surtees as Colonel Terry
Roger Ebert "admired the movie," stating it "resembles nothing so much as one of those downbeat, plodding, quietly horrifying, and sometimes grimly funny war movies that used to be made by the British film industry, back when there was a British film industry." On Rotten Tomatoes, 85% of critics gave the film positive reviews.