Eye of the Needle - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Eye of the Needle Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ September 9, 2015
Claustrophic and taut espionage tale with an impressive second half and overall enormously benefited by a good measure of romanticism, both in its coastal setting and in its musical score, courtesy of the great Miklos Rozsa, who would sadly go into retirement soon after.
Super Reviewer
½ December 10, 2012
Eye of the Needle is a well constructed, entertaining dramatic thriller with a great cast. Donald Sutherland plays a German spy who has vital information on D Day, and he is trying to get out of Britain. The film keeps you engaged from start to finish and the cast do a fine job in their performances. Director Richard Marquand crafts a terrific film that has a wonderful story, and should appeal to any movie fan. This is enjoyable entertainment for what it is and it manages to be an effective thriller, one that is very memorable. At times the film has weak points, but there's enough good material presented on-screen to make this one worth seeing. I really enjoyed the film, and this is among the best thrillers of the early 1980's. With a great plot, good cast and constant thrills, director Marquand overcomes the film's weaknesses to convey a film that no viewer will soon forget. Richard Marquand would go on to conclude the Star Wars trilogy with Return of the Jedi, but we see hints of a great director who knows how to keep his viewers satisfied and interested. Eye of the Needle is a well crafted film, one that will appeal to genre fans and to other viewers looking for a well constructed, well acted picture. I've seen many films with Donald Sutherland, and The Eye of the Needle is one of his best films that I have seen due to his on-screen presence and his well written character. The film could have been reworked slightly, but most of the time, it succeeds at being a terrific film that in my opinion is a must see due to its plot, acting and effective directing. I found this film to be quite underrated and it's far better than what most critics have said about it.
Super Reviewer
½ January 18, 2009
Donald Sutherland is a ruthless German spy operating in war-torn England during WWII. He's relentless. He's cold-blooded. He must be stopped. What more do you need to know?
Super Reviewer
January 23, 2010
Classic spy movie of ww2 based in a classic book by Ken Folett.
½ September 11, 2012
Sutherland is outstanding, as usual, in this super thriller. Must see after The Eagle Has Landed, of course.
½ July 24, 2011
Don't expect marriage to be uninterrupted pleasure

A German spy has infiltrated the English militia and is in the process of returning secrets to Adolf Hitler when his boat is caught in a storm and crashes on a small island. A small family resides in the light house on the island and initially helps the spy. The wife falls in love with the spy, but when she discovers his background, their relationship is strained.

"The word surrender is not to be found in the German vocabulary."

Richard Marquand, director of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Until September, and The Legacy, delivers Eye of the Needle. The storyline for this picture is a nice blend of World War II drama and horror thriller. The acting and action sequences were outstanding and the film contains a perfect conclusion. The cast includes Donald Sutherland, Kate Nelligan, Stephen MacKenna, and Philip Martin Brown.

"These planes are made of plywood."

I have been DVR'ing Donald Sutherland movies religiously since reading a reference to his characters in a recent novel. I will say some of my favorite Donald Sutherland pictures are placed during the World War II era (Kelly's Heroes, The Eagles has Landed, and Eye of the Needle). This movie starts a little slowly but has an ending that reminded me of The Shinning. This movie is definitely worth your time and a classic thriller set in an interesting time period.

"I am going to the house of death, said the swallow."

Grade: A-
½ November 27, 2010
Unconventional thriller set during the days before the d-day invasion. A few too many similar killings by Sutherland makes them a bit comical by the end, but to shoe horn a love story in the middle of this was something I didn't expect. Plus the same director as Return of the Jedi.
½ January 9, 2010
WWII spy film from the novel by Ken Follet. Well worth watching as super cool Nazi spy Donald Sutherland kills anyone in his path. Highly suspenseful, this one will keep you on the edge of your seat. Wear a raincoat, because once our German spy reaches a UK island, there is nothing but rain, rain, rain.

The crux of the plot is that Sutherland is a German spy who uncovered the Anglo-American scheme to keep General Patton up north in a fake generalship, something the Germans never thought possible since he was a respected opponent of theirs since his success against them in the Africa campaign and into Italy.

But now here comes the spy with proof that can blow the lid off the hoax that the Allies have hatched for the D-Day invasion.

Unfortunately, our spy stumbles on an island with a lighthouse and radio (very important to the plot) plus a husband and wife. The husband is a crippled RAF flier who uncovers the spy's true intents and almost succeeds in killing him... but that doesn't work and its up to the woman who has a child and wants sex worse than anything.... until she too discovers everyone, including her husband, is ending up dead.

The light goes on in the mind our little lady of adultery. Seeing everyone around her dead, she figures her newfound "lover" is nothing but a snake in the grass.

A thriller to the very end, watch this on a rainy night if possible, as rain is everywhere in the plot. I had to dry out my clothes more than once just watching this one.

Diabolical David Sutherland is at his best in this war flick, very well shot, acted and directed. The bed scenes are a bit tame for our times, but no doubt were risque for the eighties. By the way, I could predict the woman would get into bed with Sutherland since her hubby had no use of his legs. I use mine all the time to great effect.
Super Reviewer
July 30, 2010
(1981 Director: Richard Marquand) What strikes me about Donald Sutherland starring in this movie as Faber, an undercover top-tier German informant during WW II is that it is so different from Donald SUtherland's role in "The Dirty Dozen," certainly an amazing film.

Ian Bannen co-stars as Percy Godliman as a leading military role trying to stop the talented and illusive Faber. Not unlike Scotland Yard their efforts more the most part almost lend a feel of "Keystone Cops" to the Brits.
[more review to follow)
March 17, 2010
Here's a pretty underrated film that needs some attention. A good WWII spy thriller with Donald Sutherland excelling as a Nazi spy.
August 2, 2008
Henry Faber aka "the Needle", has a hankerin' for some shankerin', and shank he does...pretty much everyone.

I wanted to try to write something clever, but how can something clever come from something so boring? Here's the best I can do...

It seems to me that they tried to throw in every ticket-selling element they possibly could. A spy, plenty o' murders, war, a massive storm, a wedding, a cripple, a fire, a character shipwrecked on a remote island, a horridly cliche (and awfully despicable) love affair, an alcoholic, and a little kid.

Though the love story element is by far the most irritating.

The wife of a man confined to a wheelchair, happily cheats on the father of her child with a complete stranger, while the understandably depressed hubby sleeps upstairs. What's more, even after learning that this creepy lover has beaten and thrown her legless husband off of a cliff , she still decides to sleep with him one more time - but not before drugging her child so they can get down in peace. Is this supposed to be romantic? The cheesy music during the cringe-worthy love scenes sure suggests it.

Meanwhile, back in the "spy" side of the story, Sutherland is a good actor, but I just don't buy his performance in this role. And though a ruthless german super-spy with the outcome of the war in his hands, this character would rather picnic with this boring married woman than carry out his duty.

½ February 14, 2006
7.5/10. Powerful old fashioned thriller, Hitchcock like. Great cast, the superb setting gives film an edge. Kate Nelligan is terrific. Tense throughout.
Super Reviewer
½ September 9, 2015
Claustrophic and taut espionage tale with an impressive second half and overall enormously benefited by a good measure of romanticism, both in its coastal setting and in its musical score, courtesy of the great Miklos Rozsa, who would sadly go into retirement soon after.
March 26, 2015
There's some incredible performances in this film. Even people who don't like movies about war may like this for the acting. In my opinion, Donald Sutherland is one of the creepiest actors and he's never been darker than in this film.
½ April 10, 2015
Well done slow burn of a spy movie.
½ March 18, 2011
Cool spy movie. Classic suspense.
½ May 23, 2009
In the vein of WWII thrillers that supposedly happened (The Eagle Has Landed), Eye of the Needle has a fantastic performance from Donald Sutherland as a dangerous Nazi spy who gets vital info about D-Day, but must get out of Britain before getting captured. He gets caught in a storm and gets integrated into a broken family, the father an ungrateful soldier who lost his legs in combat. Donald Sutherland and Kate Nelligan have lots of chemistry, a lot being said with just a glance. The nuance is off the charts in this thriller, even if the ending is a bit on the soft side.
½ September 6, 2014
The war has come down to the two of us... Sutherland proves that making love is easier than riding a bike--Nelligan steals the show with her beauty...Tight, Kinetic, Well-sustained Tension and Suspense!!
May 28, 2013
Since it is an old movie it was pretty good - very sad and very violent
January 2, 2013
How about this film with a John Cusack in it. Have read this book when i was 19 years old and i love it. And now i imagine Cusack as The Needle... Sure thing.
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