Eye of the Needle (movie)

1981 film by Richard Marquand

Eye of the Needle is a 1981 British spy movie directed by Richard Marquand and starring Donald Sutherland, Kate Nelligan and Christopher Cazenove. Written by Stanley Mann, it is based on the 1978 novel of the same title by Ken Follett.

Eye of the Needle
Directed byRichard Marquand
Screenplay byStanley Mann
Based onEye of the Needle
1978 novel
by Ken Follett
Produced byStephen J. Friedman
CinematographyAlan Hume
Edited bySean Barton
Music byMiklós Rózsa
Kings Road Entertainment
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • 24 July 1981 (1981-07-24) (U.S.)
Running time
112 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office$17.5 million

The movie is about a deadly German Nazi spy named Henry Faber in the United Kingdom during World War II, who discovers vital information about the upcoming D-Day invasion and his attempt to return to Germany and tell Hitler about it, so that Nazi Germany stops the invasion from happening. While waiting for a German U-boat to pick him up and return to Germany with the top secret information, he is stranded with a family on the isolated (fictional) Storm Island, off the coast of Scotland. There he spends time with a young woman named Lucy, her bitter crippled husband David who was an RAF fighter pilot before his car accident and their toddler son Joe. He develops an intimate relationship with Lucy, but her husband is already suspicious of this new stranger.

  • Donald Sutherland as Henry Faber
  • Kate Nelligan as Lucy Rose
  • Christopher Cazenove as David Rose
  • Ian Bannen as Inspector Godliman
  • 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
  • Arthur Lovegrove as Peterson
  • 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
  • Rik Mayall as sailor on train



The Storm Island scenes were shot over eight weeks on the Isle of Mull, in the Inner Hebrides. The rest of the movie was shot in Yateley, Surrey, and in London.[1]



The movie got very positive reviews from movie critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, 82% of critics gave the movie positive reviews.


  1. Hume, Alan; Owen, Gareth (2004). A Life Through the Lens: Memoirs of a Film Cameraman. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company. p. 130. ISBN 9780786418039.

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