Where Eagles Dare (1968) surely must have been watched on a loop by George Lucas as he was penning A New Hope (1977) and the expanded Star Wars universe.
Hohenwerfen Castle is this movie’s Death Star, the German troops the most incompetent ever assembled in what is the peak Hollywood WWII turkey shoot; Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood mow the fuckers down like Stormtroopers. Reducing a complex military operation to the wits and whims of two ‘superhero’ protagonists, it’s this blasé depiction of war that has young lads all giddy (“chomping at the bit”) en route to army recruitment offices.
The Wehrmacht grunt here is a Stormtrooper sans the Arctic clobber, and by the end one could be forgiven for thinking that Messrs Burton and Eastwood casually take out an entire division.
It’s quite the escapist experience, and its influence is rampant – the Medal of Honor video game series, for example, is an unabridged adaptation of the movie’s aesthetic. In an ideal Pentagon monopoly on propaganda, the enemy is devoid of dimensions and the battle a cakewalk.
War is no messy struggle when you’ve got personality pulling the trigger.