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The Eiger Sanction

4.0 out of 5 stars 200 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Clint Eastwood directs and stars in this international intrigue action thriller that takes place on the Swiss Alps.Hemlock, a retired professional assassin (Eastwood), who has turned toward the calmer pursuit of art collecting, is suddenly forced out of retirement to hunt a deadly double agent who murdered a close friend. The hunt takes Eastwood on a breathtaking journey up the Swiss Alps with a team of mountain climbers - one of whom is the man he seeks though his identity is as yet unknown.The top-notch action film, based on the novel by Trevanian, features some of the most exciting mountain climbing sequences ever filmed.


Clint Eastwood held the dual role of director and star of this 1975 spy thriller, which makes up for sluggish pacing with a breathtaking climax on a treacherous peak in the Swiss Alps. The plot kicks into gear when Eastwood, playing a retired assassin, is recruited back into a secret organization to avenge the murder of an old friend. He's then blackmailed into making a second "hit"; this time his target is one of three men who will be attempting to conquer the Eiger, a dangerous peak in Switzerland. Himself an accomplished climber, Eastwood's character joins the expedition with George Kennedy as leader of the ground crew. Shifting loyalties, apparent betrayals, and paranoid suspicion factor into the suspenseful climax on the sheer face of the mountain. This memorable sequence--for which Eastwood performed his own mountain-climbing stunts--is effectively intense, built on a standard plot of double-cross and intrigue that was intended to combine Eastwood's screen persona with the global adventure of the James Bond films. For the most part it works--it's not one of Eastwood's better films, but it's got some first-class thrills (and a sly performance by Jack Cassidy) to grab and hold your interest. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

  • Production Notes
  • Cast and Filmmakers
  • Theatrical Trailer

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Clint Eastwood, George Kennedy, Vonetta McGee, Jack Cassidy, Heidi Bruhl
    • Directors: Clint Eastwood
    • Writers: Hal Dresner, Warren B. Murphy, Rod Whitaker
    • Producers: Robert Daley, Richard Zanuck
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Letterboxed, NTSC, Widescreen
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
    • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated:
    • Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
    • DVD Release Date: December 15, 1998
    • Run Time: 129 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (200 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: 0783230346
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,483 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "The Eiger Sanction" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    All right.
    With tongue firmly in cheek, let me say that the other reviewers of this movie have got it all wrong. "The Eiger Sanction" has got to be one of the all-time great "guy" films (I refer you to the "Big Damn Book of Sheer Manliness" here on Amazon.com for more information on those two). Yes, for Saturday-night-with-the-boys viewing, this is one of the classics. Here are ten reasons why:
    1. Clint the Glint...need I say more?
    2. Incredibly realistic mountain-climbing footage, from Southern Utah to the Swiss Alps, all shot on location, with none of the ridiculous fakery found in farces such as "Cliffhanger".
    3. A plot that makes James Bond seem believable, starting with a combination art expert/mountain climber/CIA assassin and going forward from there.
    4. Fantastic scenery shots, including George Kennedy and Clint on top of a sandstone pinnacle (I'm sure George really climbed it...yeah, right).
    5. A cool resort compound (actually filmed at the lodge in Zion National Park, Utah).
    6. Well-timed 70s nudity (in other words, totally unnecessary).
    7. An albino (!) "establishment" guy, (CIA leader) and his wonderfully despicable sidekick, just waiting for Clint to kick around.
    8. Astounding political incorrectness, including a character named "Jemimah Brown", another one known simply as "Buns", and much, much more.
    9. Fantastically quotable manly lines, for example "Assassins get assassinated, and that ain't in my game plan", or "There's a twenty on the dresser by the bed", etc., etc., etc.
    10. Clint even glints at a little dog...really!
    I could go on and on.
    All kidding aside, I love this movie! Just don't plan on taking it too seriously.
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    Format: VHS Tape
    As a thriller, the 'Eiger Sanction' is just ok. It is a pretty faithful adaptation of Trevanian's bestseller from 1972. It stars Clint Eastwood as Dr. Johnathan Hemlock -- an ex-climber now art professor who does occasional asassinations for a secret US agency to pay for his art collection. He takes on one last job to pay for a Pissaro he desperately wants; but it requires that he get out his old climbing boots. He'll have to do the job while climbing the north face of the Eiger -- certainly one of the most dangerous climbs in the world.
    I'm not completely sure of this, but I believe that this movie was also Clint Eastwood's directorial debut. He not only stars in it, but he produced and directed it as well!
    Ah, the glorious 70's! The clothing, the hairstyles, the attitudes towards women, etc. It is quite fun to watch and chuckle at now. Hemlock is a kind of James Bond-ian super hero. Remarkably gifted not only at killing bad guys but also at bedding beautiful women, enjoying fine wine and food, and being an art expert. The story ofen requires you to suspend your sense of reality and to have a bit of a sense of humor. If you enjoy these kinds of thrillers, you'll definitely enjoy this one.
    What sets this movie apart for me is the many climbing sequences! I am an avid climber and I know of no other 'Hollywood' movie that does as good a job as this one at showing real mountain climbing. The climbing scenes in the 'Eiger Sanction' are breathtaking and quite realistic. The scenes on the Eiger were actually filmed on location on the Eiger Nordwand itself! Remarkable! Apparently Clint is/was a bit of a climber himself, and took great pains to portray the climbing in as realistic a light as possible. Three cheers for Clint!
    Read more ›
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    Format: DVD
    In a stunning and abrupt departure from both his very successful "Dirty Harry" and "Any Which Way But Loose" franchises, Clint Eastwood extended his range of genres to include the spy thriller with this deft adaptation of the best-selling Trevanian novel of the same name. In fact, quite little is changed in this taut and thrilling tale of a once famous mountaineer and retired government assassin turned college art history professor who is forced back into the "sanction" business both by personal greed and crude manipulation by the spymaster of the clandestine government agency that requires his services.
    An American courier has been killed in Copenhagen, and he happened to an old friend of professor Jonathan Hemlock (Eastwood), who is seduced back into harms way by "Control", an albino ex-Nazi who now heads one of our most clandestine federal agencies. Before long Hemlock is on his way to sanction one of the two assailants, and the chase is on. By dint of coincidence, Control discovers that the other assailant is included in an international mountaineering party, which will assault Switzerland's "Eiger" the coming summer. Naturally, Hemlock is manipulated into preparing for the climb as a replacement climber.
    Once we finally make it to the mountain, the action is literally non-stop, quite accurate technically, and absolutely riveting to behold. As with previous sequences shot in the American southwest, the cinematography is superior, and the plot unfolds in a quite plausible and inevitably tragic fashion with no one necessarily spared as the frenzy reaches its natural conclusion. This is a terrific action film, with a great supporting cast that includes George Kennedy, Jack Cassidy, and bodybuilder Dan Howard in a bit role.
    This is great entertainment, and illustrates why Eastwood has been such a consistent box office draw for over forty years. Enjoy!
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