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|
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. 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. In his attempt to return to Germany with the information, he travels to the isolated Storm Island off the coast of Scotland to rendezvous with a U-boat, but his plans are thwarted by a young woman resident.
A man calling himself Henry Faber is actually a German 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 has obtained critical information on the Allies' invasion plans. Trying to make his way to Germany, he is stranded by a fierce storm on Storm Island, 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.
When David 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. "The Needle" must get to Tom's radio to report to his superiors the exact location of the D-Day invasion. Lucy is the Allies' last chance. He is reluctant to harm her, but she has no such qualms and shoots him as he tries to escape in a boat.
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
- Stephen MacKenna as Lieutenant
- Christopher Cazenove as David Rose
- 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
- Ian Bannen as Inspector Godliman
- 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.