GenreRomance, Thriller, War Adapted fromEye of the Needle CountryUnited States
Release dateJuly 24, 1981 (1981-07-24) (USA) Based onEye of the Needle
by Ken Follett WriterKen Follett (based on the novel by), Stanley Mann (screenplay) CastDonald Sutherland (Henry Faber), Kate Nelligan (Lucy Rose), Stephen MacKenna (Lieutenant), Christopher Cazenove (David Rose), Philip Martin Brown (Billy Parkin), Ian Bannen (Inspector Godliman) Similar moviesSalt, Saving Private Ryan, Hell Is for Heroes, The Book Thief, Max Manus: Man of War, Notorious
Eye of the needle 1981 movie
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 while stranded with a family on 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 cold and 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. When the German U-boat approaches the shore, Lucy becomes 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
The Storm Island scenes were shot over eight weeks on the Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides. Some of the location filming was shot at Blackbushe Airport Yateley.
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.
The DKW Munga vehicle shown on the island was not built until the 1950s. The enclosed-cabin helicopter that is briefly shown toward the end of the film is also an anachronism.