When Eagles Dared is a salute to the men and women who participated in World War II and the filmmakers who have immortalised their stories on screen. It tells both the story of the historical events of this first truly 'world war' and of the films that have depicted these events - comparing the cinematic myth with the historical reality - as a guide to history through cinema.
When Eagles Dared portrays the people who participated in the war, from the evacuation of the Allied forces from France at Dunkirk through to the battle for Berlin and beyond. Each chapter discusses a theatre of war, an event, a campaign or battle by explaining the historical events as they unfold and then examines how filmmakers have represented them. Chapters discuss the war in the skies (Battle of Britain and The Dam Busters), the sea (Sink the Bismarck! and The Cruel Sea) and the North African desert (The Battle of El Alamein and Tobruk). There are 'special mission' movies including Where Eagles Dare and The Dirty Dozen, classic tales of ingenuity (The Great Escape), valour (Saving Private Ryan), and human endurance (The Bridge on the River Kwai). Offering a unique view of war through the lenses of over 150 diverse films that have shaped our perceptions of the conflict, When Eagles Dared is illustrated with rare stills and posters from this ever popular genre.