The Eagle


The Eagle

Critics Consensus

The Eagle has a pleasantly traditional action-adventure appeal, but it's drowned out by Kevin Macdonald's stolid direction and Channing Tatum's uninspired work in the central role.



Total Count: 155


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Movie Info

In 2nd-Century Britain, two men - master and slave - venture beyond the edge of the known world on a dangerous and obsessive quest that will push them beyond the boundaries of loyalty and betrayal, friendship and hatred, deceit and heroism...The Roman epic adventure The Eagle is directed by Kevin Macdonald and produced by Duncan Kenworthy. Jeremy Brock has adapted the scr eenplay from Rosemary Sutcliff's classic novel The Eagle of the Ninth. In 140 AD, the Roman Empire extends all the way to Britain - though its grasp is incomplete, as the rebellious tribes of Caledonia (today's Scotland) hold sway in the far North. Marcus Aquila (Channing Tatum) arrives in Britain, determined to restore the tarnished reputation of his father, Flavius Aquila. It was 20 years earlier that Rome's 5,000-strong Ninth Legion, under the command of Flavius and carrying their golden emblem, the Eagle of the Ninth, marched north into Caledonia. They never returned; Legion and Eagle simply vanished into the mists. Angered, the Roman Emperor Hadrian ordered the building of a wall to seal off the territory; Hadrian's Wall became the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire - the edge of the known world. Driven to become a brilliant soldier and now given command of a small fort in the southwest, Marcus bravely leads his troops during a siege. Commended by Rome for his bravery, yet discharged from the army because of his severe wounds, Marcus convalesces, demoralized, in the villa of his Uncle Aquila (Donald Sutherland), a retired army man. When Marcus impulsively gets a young Briton's life spared at a gladiatorial contest, Aquila buys the Briton, Esca (Jamie Bell), to be Marcus' slave. Marcus is dismissive of Esca, who harbors a seething hatred of all things Roman. Yet Esca vows to serve the man who has saved his life. Hearing a rumor that the Eagle has been seen in a tribal temple in the far north, Marcus is galvanized into action, and sets off with Esca across Hadrian's Wall. But the highlands of Caledonia are a vast and savage wilderness, and Marcus must rely on his slave to navigate the region. When they encounter ex-Roman soldier Guern (Mark Strong), Marcus realizes that the mystery of his father's disappearance may well be linked to the secret of his own slave's identity and loyalty - a secret all the more pressing when the two come face-to-face with the warriors of the fearsome Seal Prince (Tahar Rahim). A Focus Features presentation in association with Film4 of a Duncan Kenworthy production. Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell. The Eagle. Donald Sutherland, Mark Strong. Casting by Jina Jay. Music by Atli Örvarsson. Costumes by Michael O'Connor. Editor, Justine Wright. Production Designer, Michael Carlin. Director of Photography, Anthony Dod Mantle, BSC, DFF. Co-Producer, Caroline Hewitt. Executive Producers, Tessa Ross, Miles Ketley, Charles Moore. Based on the novel The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff. Screenplay by Jeremy Brock. Produced by Duncan Kenworthy. Directed by Kevin Macdonald. A Focus Features Release.-- (C) Focus Features


Channing Tatum
as Marcus Aquila
Tahar Rahim
as Seal Prince
Donald Sutherland
as Uncle Aquila
Bence Gerö
as Celt Boy/Young Marcus
Denis O'Hare
as Lutorius
Aladár Laklóth
as Flavius Aquila
Istvan Goz
as Cohort Centurion
Marcell Miklós
as Fort Legionary 1
Bálint Magyar
as Fort Legionary 2
Ferenc Pataki
as Fort Legionary 3
Bálint Antal
as Young Legionary
James Hayes
as Stephanos
András Faragó
as Captain of the Gladiators
Pip Carter
as Placidus
Ben O'Brien
as Milecastle Guard
Róbert Bánlaki
as Young Rogue Warrior
Brian Gleeson
as Traveller 1
Jon Campling
as Traveller 2
Thomas Henry
as Seal Boy
Ned Dennehy
as Seal Chief/The Horned One
Ralph Aiken
as Patrician 1
Granville Saxton
as Patrician 2
Walter Van Dyke
as Patrician 3
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Critic Reviews for The Eagle

All Critics (155) | Top Critics (39) | Fresh (62) | Rotten (93)

Audience Reviews for The Eagle

  • Sep 19, 2015
    I'm quite a big swords and sandals fan but not a big Channing Tatum fan and I couldn't imagine him playing a good roman, But eventually I watched it and Tatum wasn't the problem really, He played his part ok it just didn't ever get going, The story is easy enough to follow but it was told so boring and with little action there isn't allot to keep us entertained, It doesn't really know what it's going to do next and it makes the ending pretty poor so apart from the first 20 minutes which were good, There's nothing here that hasn't been done better before.
    Jamie C Super Reviewer
  • Jul 06, 2014
    The historical drama The Eagle is an intriguing and entertaining adventure. Based on a novel, the film follows a Roman centurion named Marcus Aquila who attempts to recover the lost eagle emblem of the Ninth Legion, which was lost when the legion disappeared while on a campaign in Northern Britain. Starring Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, and Donald Sutherland, the casting is pretty good. However, the performances are rather underwhelming; particularly Bell's. Still, the sets and costumes are especially well-done, as are the fight sequences. The Eagle delivers a fair share of thrills and excitement, but overall it's a pretty by-the-numbers sword and sandals film.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 28, 2012
    Solid, but rather unimaginative adaptation.
    Daniel P Super Reviewer
  • Jan 29, 2012
    I have to admit, I'm kind of a sucker for sword and sandal period type pieces, in spite of there being so few good ones. The Eagle starts earnestly enough, and for the first half is somewhat entertaining, giving at least a decent view into what military life must have been like for the legions stuck in Britain. But once the action moves above Hadrian's wall, the film devolves into a buddy film with no chemistry that includes some gaping inaccuracies, like portraying the highlanders as something very kin to 17th century American Indians. The main flaw of the film however is that it hangs much of the characters motivations on the tired saw of "honor". The main character, Marcus, whose father was the leader of the famed 9th legion; a group who traveled about the wall, 5,000 strong, and were never heard from again, wants to restore the family name and honor by finding the legion's standard, the title of the film. OK, that works... then you have the Brit slave who is rescued from the death decreed in the gladiator pits because he refused to fight (he is given the old "thumbs down" by the rabble, only to be saved by Marcus who sees valor and bravery in his refusal to fight). The Brit later tells Marcus that he hates everything Marcus stands for, but since Marcus saved his life, will fight and die for him, figuring that he owes Marcus a debt of honor... well, kinda works, but weak. There are some good battle scenes early on, and I though the earthen walls of the roman fortress to be passably accurate, and I liked the way the film made use of the famed roman "turtle" formation, which took good advantage of their tall shields. But that's all in the first half of the film (which is only marred by a quirky, off the wall performance by Donald Sutherland as Marcus' uncle. The second half has Marcus and his slave traveling in the woods and lochs of Scotland, infiltrating a band of "savages" who are believed to hold the Eagle. The film shoots for a tone of gravitas, but comes off as almost comic, with battles punctuated by sad overdubs and a truly weak morality play that looks almost Shakespearian when compared to the film's "well I guess I showed you" closing as Marcus returns the Eagle all the way to Rome (which, by the way, would have taken over a year back then). The final frames show Marcus and slave having a true buddy-buddy moment of bon homie, which was non evident in the remainder of the film. It just makes you wonder if they ran out of script, or if the script writer was abducted by aliens, or perhaps the studio just put pressure on him in the attempt to give the film an alleged wider viewing audience. Regardless, the effort failed and the film fell on its own sword.
    paul s Super Reviewer

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