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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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Eastwood directs and stars in this unsubtle but still interesting mid 70's thriller. He is a retired assassin for a government agency, who is persuaded out of his art loving retirement for one last job. He, apparently, is also a retired rock climber, and therefore the only man for the job since his mark is one of a group of climbers about to climb the Eiger... but which climber is it..? We don't know. Well, in truth the whodunit is fairly easy to see early on, and the first hour is pretty mediocre 70's fayre.. It's once the climbing starts the tension starts racking up, thanks to Clint's insistence on both acting and directing on location and doing the stunts for real. Sadly, this was to lead to the death of one of the stuntmen climbers, who ironically had previously successfully climbed the Eiger.
Nobody really seems to be taking this seriously, least of all Clint as either actor or director, as the `plot' develops with many a 70's cliché.. girls with afros jumping into bed at the drop of a hat, random nudity, horribly stereotyped camp gay bad guy (who actually names his dog `faggot' in case you don't get the `subtle' clues) and George Kennedy, just to name a few. Eastwood forgets the slack first half once we get to the Eiger in the final section of the movie, and it's the tense climbing scenes rather than any intrigue or 70's styling you will probably remember after the lights come up. Also worth a note is a John Williams score which more than passes muster in setting the scene for that real 70's thriller feel...
Truthfully, Eastwood's indefatigable screen charisma makes this a 4 star movie, despite trying to convincingly play a `womanising-art-lecturer-retired-assassin-rock-climber `, which isn't a part one imagines one is asked to do very often.. However the very poor transfer - which is so bad in places you could be forgiven for thinking you were watching a pirated copy - knocks a star off. It's in widescreen at least, but non anamorphic (meaning it's not designed for modern widescreen TV's and will appear as a letterbox in the middle of the screen, requiring some zooming in to fill out your screen), frequently washed out colours despite the gorgeous locales, and full of other imperfections. Watch the movie, the end is worth it - just try and find the remastered version which is out there somewhere..
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on 21 March 2015
The Eiger Sanction on Blu Ray stands out better than the previous DVD release. Amazing colour and sound, the cinematography is breath taking along with the direction of Clint Eastwood. This Blu Ray edition is well worth the money for anyone who wants to add this movie in their Blu Ray library. It is presented in the 2:35:1 aspect ratio which the previous DVD was not in he HD format, the DVD version looks like a window in the middle of the screen. Therefor one would have to press the zoom button on the remote control which leaves the DVD to look scratchy when it is zoomed in to see the movie.

The art cover on the Blu Ray sleeve could have had the original art work from the movie poster which would have been better than having a photo of Clint Eastwood with some grey hair. The studios need to get their marketing designs corrected and go back to the original art work intended for this movie and other Blu Ray releases. I can't understand how hard that can be, Clint Eastwood does not have grey hair in this movie considering it was filmed in 1974 and released in 1975. Overall, the movie holds up very well on Blu Ray. Some of the movie can be corny but it is all just for fun watching the breathtaking scenes climbing the mountain. The John Williams score matches the movie perfectly.
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on 10 January 2010
Purchased this DVD recently and despite claiming on the rear cover that the film is presented in an anamorphically-enhanced 2.35:1 widescreen ratio, it in fact is not. Therefore it is the same old transfer from 2001 (or whenever it was first released) with erroneous info on the back. BEWARE if you want it in 16:9.
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The Eiger Sanction is one of those films with a high enough concept and a big enough star not to need to have a good script, which is lucky because despite the efforts of no fewer than three writers the script is not very good at all, and seems to know it. Clint Eastwood is a somewhat unlikely mountain-climbing art professor: we know this because he's introduced standing next to a big sign saying he's an art professor while enamoured students swoon over pictures of him mountain climbing. Luckily for the film he's a somewhat more likely retired assassin working for Thayer David's total albino: we know he's a total albino because he tells us. David and Eastwood don't get on, which is strange, because David's office is perpetually in the kind of near total darkness that Eastwood the director loves. Maybe he just doesn't like people who impersonate Bond villains. He doesn't want to go back in business either, but David threatens him not only with an audit of his stolen art collection but also to auction them off to the public, something which horrifies art snob Eastwood into agreeing to kill an unknown man with an occasional limp who just happens to be part of a team led by old pal George Kennedy attempting to climb the Eiger. Only his target obviously knows that one of the party is out to kill him and his fellow climbers start to meet accidents...

Yes, it's a very silly film - silly enough for Eastwood to camp it up as a gay delivery man in one scene, Jack Cassidy to play a gay turncoat with a horny dog called Faggot with a thing for Clint's leg and for our antihero to beat up one of the stars of Plan 9 From Outer Space - but as the author of the novel, Travanian (Rod Whitaker) pointed out, worse than just being vapid it also led to the death of one of the climbers involved in the shoot, David Knowles. His accidental death early in shooting on the Eiger itself does unfortunately take some of the sheen off the film's most impressive aspect, the unfaked climbing sequences with Eastwood not only doing almost all of his own stunts on the North Face of the Eiger itself and on the 'Totem Pole Rock' in Monument Valley rather than on a friendlier slope or on studio sets with dodgy back-projection but also directing the film as well. And spare a thought for the poor camera crew, having to take the same risks with the added burden of lugging up and operating camera equipment as well. The film improves considerably as it goes along, though the first half is more of a politically incorrect guilty pleasure, but the spectacular mountain sequences are gripping enough to be worthy of a better film.

Unfortunately the DVD, one of the earliest releases on the format, is pretty low quality: the dark scenes are darker than even Eastwood intended there's a lack of detail and a lot of clumsy edge enhancement: it's such a poor transfer with so little effort put into it you half expect it to be panned-and-scanned fullframe, but it is 2.35:1 widescreen with the original trailer as extra, which is something at least.
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on 13 May 2013
Famous for its true-to-life climbing sequences and mountain action (minus all trace of CGI!), this is a slightly strange combination of Cold War espionage thriller married to boys' own action adventure film but, in my opinion, it works really well - providing you buy into the Clint Eastwood role of Jonathan Hemlock being ruthless, cold-blooded assassin, art college professor, knowledgeable art treasure addict and (for some convenient reason!) talented former mountaineer all rolled into one.

If you can do that, then chances are you'll really enjoy this ride. It's quite a long film but it has several varied and spectacularly-scenic locations and a strong thread of continuity to the story so it's a great journey of a film. You don't have to think too much - just sit back and enjoy being carried along. There's sufficient gravitas to the assassin aspect, there are several elements of humour here and there and it's a great 'widescreen' picture that takes in, as already mentioned, locations in Europe and the USA which are all beautifully filmed in their natural colour with no studio 'tinting' afterwards.

Eastwood was obviously very enthusiastic about making this film and I think his enthusiasm really shines through in the finished result.
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on 22 January 2016
This film is one of my favourites and has been wrongly slated by many people. The filming of the climb is breathtaking and Clint does a good job directing. The climbing section has been based on a true story when four people perished on the Eiger during the second world war. It is based on a book written by Trevenyan's and follows it very well. I did have the DVD but it looked as if it had been taken from a VHS but this Blu Ray print is superb. I am really glad I bought it.
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on 8 November 2013
One of Eastwood’s lesser known action adventures from the seventies. With a strong supporting cast including oscar winner George Kennedy in great form. Eastwood’s portrayal of the reluctant, jaded, assassin who is blackmailed into carrying out one final death defying ‘sanction’ is a highly enjoyable watch. Eastwood carries the demeanour of Dirty Harry to some extent with an engaging dry humour as he plays the part of ‘Hemlock’ a university art lecturer and avid collector who moonlights as a secret agent. The movie includes several laugh out loud one-liners from Eastwood, and not to be outdone Kennedy also revels in his delivery of a humorous script, which serves to punctuate some excellent action scenes. For entertainment value Eastwood seldom disappoints. Definitely worth adding to your collection.
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Clint Eastwood both directs and stars in this high-altitude action-thriller.
'Jonathan Hemlock' (Clint Eastwood) a retired professional-killer is now a professor and is a University Lecturer, his hobby
is collecting rare artworks.
Agency-Head ' Dragon' (Thayer David) persuades 'Jonathan' to accept a sanction to kill someone responsible for the death
of an agent, reluctantly, though at a price 'Jonathan' accepts the task, though 'Dragon' does have his former-agent in mind
for a further sanction when completing this one.
Job done, 'Jonathan' because of his climbing-skills of the past is asked to take on a far more dangerous mission, the agent
that had been assassinated was a personal friend of 'Jonathan's' so accepting the second part of the sanction was inevitable,
the reward enough to set-up his retirement.
The second assassin is not known, however what is known is that during the next climbing season he will be part of a team
attempting to climb the north-face of 'The Eiger' in the Swiss-Alps, a climb 'Jonathan' had attempted and failed to conquer
twice before.
Trouble is these days 'Jonathan' is out of shape and will need to take part in an intense fitness programme to be up to the task,
former pal 'Ben Bowman' (George Kennedy) who will be a part of the Eiger-Team has been assigned to put 'Jonathan' through
his paces though the actual trainer is 'George' (Brenda Venus) a shapely part-native American.
Once ready 'Jonathan' will join up with a Mountain-Climbing team to make the attempt to scale the Eiger, a dangerous task at
the best of times, trouble is, one of the team is the assassin, 'Jonathan' needs to identify his target before the assassin realizes
that 'Jonathan' is there to kill him.
There are many superb and well staged climbing sequences throughout the film along with some stunning scenery, in addition
to some good action moments.
This is typical Clint Eastwood material accommodating his usual one-line humour moments and of course on-screen female
Must admit i'm a sucker for 'Clint Eastwood' movies and have a tendency to replace my Eastwood DVD's with Blu-ray when they
become available.
The picture quality is far superior to that of it's DVD version though a little grainy at times especially during the Eiger sequence
Though not Clint's best movie, certainly worth a visit or indeed a revisit if your a fan.
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on 29 June 2009
Although maybe not the greatest or most famous film title on Mr Eastwood's CV, this is a great little film, unpretentious and gradually thrilling as it picks up pace. After the first watch I don't really feel the need to see the first 45 minutes again, but the last half of the film is terrific. Real rock climbing and a bit of a twist make this a great Sunday afternoon kind of a movie.
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on 3 February 2007
`Does your physical disability preclude you from coming to the point?'

Just one of many classic one-liners delivered by a stone-faced Dr Hemlock. This movie has all the wit and sarcasm of a Dirty Harry classic, and all the adventure and stunning landscape of his westerns. An Art teacher by day, but retired government assassin by night, Dr Hemlock is brought out of retirement to sanction the two men involved in killing his friend. The first job was easy, but the second proves the real challenge. His employer knows only that the man is one of a group who plans to climb the Eiger Mountain in Switzerland, a mountain that nearly killed Hemlock the first time he tried to climb it. But the mountain is not his only adversary. One of his fellow climbers, who could well be someone he'll need to rely on when in trouble, is the one he must sanction. But which one is it?

The photography in this movie is stunning; emotive images of death-defying climbs from monument valley to the Swiss Alps. Some complain the movie is long and slow, but I watched the short version and then bought the full length DVD, which contained more excellent scenes that actually clarified some parts of the movie. So I would recommend you buy the full length version. You won't be bored, not for a minute.
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