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Once an Eagle Online

Once an Eagle  Online
Original Title :
Once an Eagle
Genre :
TV Series / Drama / War
Cast :
Cliff Potts,Darleen Carr,Amy Irving
Type :
TV Series
Time :
Rating :
Once an Eagle Online

The story of two Army officers, one a ruthless, career-obsessed schemer, the other his exact opposite, and their personal and professional lives from the end of World War I to the beginning of Vietnam. {locallinks-homepage}
Series cast summary:
Cliff Potts Cliff Potts - Courtenay Massengale 7 episodes, 1976-1977
Darleen Carr Darleen Carr - Tommy Caldwell 7 episodes, 1976-1977
Amy Irving Amy Irving - Emily Pawlfrey Massengale 7 episodes, 1976-1977
Glenn Ford Glenn Ford - George Caldwell 7 episodes, 1976-1977
Sam Elliott Sam Elliott - Sam Damon 7 episodes, 1976-1977
Ralph Bellamy Ralph Bellamy - Ed Caldwell 4 episodes, 1976
Dane Clark Dane Clark - Harry Sheppard 4 episodes, 1976
Andrew Duggan Andrew Duggan - Gen. McKelvey 4 episodes, 1976
Lynda Day George Lynda Day George - Marge Krisler 4 episodes, 1976
Gary Grimes Gary Grimes - Jack Devlin 4 episodes, 1976
Clu Gulager Clu Gulager - Alvin Merrick 4 episodes, 1976
Robert Hogan Robert Hogan - Ben Krisler 4 episodes, 1976
Kim Hunter Kim Hunter - Kitty Damon 4 episodes, 1976
David Huddleston David Huddleston - Earl Preis 4 episodes, 1976
Juliet Mills Juliet Mills - Joyce 4 episodes, 1976
Harriet Nelson Harriet Nelson - Harriet Nelson 4 episodes, 1976
Albert Salmi Albert Salmi - Sen. Bert McConnadin 4 episodes, 1976
John Saxon John Saxon - Capt. Townshend 4 episodes, 1976
James Shigeta James Shigeta - Lin Tso-Han 4 episodes, 1976
Barry Sullivan Barry Sullivan - Gen. Bannerman 4 episodes, 1976
Phyllis Thaxter Phyllis Thaxter - Alma Caldwell 4 episodes, 1976
Forrest Tucker Forrest Tucker - Col. Avery 4 episodes, 1976
David Wayne David Wayne - Col. Terwilliger 4 episodes, 1976
William Windom William Windom - Gen. Duke kPulleyne 4 episodes, 1976
Anthony Zerbe Anthony Zerbe - Dave Shifkin 4 episodes, 1976
John Anderson John Anderson - George Varney 4 episodes, 1976
Andrew Robinson Andrew Robinson - Reb Rayburne 4 episodes, 1976
Jeff Cotler Jeff Cotler - Sam, as a boy 4 episodes, 1976
Tracie Savage Tracie Savage - Peggy Damon 4 episodes, 1976
Lynne Marta Lynne Marta - Celia Harrodson 4 episodes, 1976
Dennis Burkley Dennis Burkley - Krazewski 4 episodes, 1976
Will Seltzer Will Seltzer - Brewster 4 episodes, 1976
Jane Elliot Jane Elliot - Cheryl Logan 4 episodes, 1976
Patricia Stich Patricia Stich - Nurse Pomeroy 4 episodes, 1976
Patti D'Arbanville Patti D'Arbanville - Michele 4 episodes, 1976
Hayden Rorke Hayden Rorke - Paul Sinclair 4 episodes, 1976
Ron Masak Ron Masak - Maynard Lambert 4 episodes, 1976
James Cromwell James Cromwell - J.L. Cleghorne 4 episodes, 1976
George Wyner George Wyner - Dr. McCabe 4 episodes, 1976
Cathey Paine Cathey Paine - Mae Lee Cleghorne 4 episodes, 1976
Kip Niven Kip Niven - Ryetower 4 episodes, 1976
Kario Salem Kario Salem - Joe Brand 4 episodes, 1976
Tom Reese Tom Reese - Sgt. Stoner 4 episodes, 1976
Lee de Broux Lee de Broux - Bill Nickerson 4 episodes, 1976
Andrew Stevens Andrew Stevens - Donny Damon 4 episodes, 1976
Jim Antonio Jim Antonio - Capt. Lasovitch 4 episodes, 1976
Melanie Griffith Melanie Griffith - Jinny Massengale 4 episodes, 1976
Ben Piazza Ben Piazza - Capt. Jerome 4 episodes, 1976
Kent Smith Kent Smith - Gen. Jacklyn 4 episodes, 1976
Jordan Rhodes Jordan Rhodes - Sgt. Ives 4 episodes, 1976
George Murdock George Murdock - Sgt. Chepenek 4 episodes, 1976
Frank Michael Liu Frank Michael Liu - Capt. Nagasay 4 episodes, 1976
Bert Kramer Bert Kramer 4 episodes, 1976
Simon Scott Simon Scott 4 episodes, 1976
Jenifer Shaw Jenifer Shaw 4 episodes, 1976
Rick Podell Rick Podell 4 episodes, 1976
George Loros George Loros 4 episodes, 1976
Chick Vennera Chick Vennera 4 episodes, 1976
Lew Brown Lew Brown 4 episodes, 1976
Gary Springer Gary Springer 4 episodes, 1976
Rod Porter Rod Porter 4 episodes, 1976
Rori Gwynne Rori Gwynne 4 episodes, 1976
Richard Forbes Richard Forbes 4 episodes, 1976
John Waldron John Waldron 4 episodes, 1976
Sari Price Sari Price 4 episodes, 1976
John Fujioka John Fujioka 4 episodes, 1976
Frank Farmer Frank Farmer 4 episodes, 1976
Jan Burrell Jan Burrell 4 episodes, 1976
William Bryant William Bryant 4 episodes, 1976
William Bassett William Bassett 4 episodes, 1976
Steve Eoff Steve Eoff - German Sergeant 4 episodes, 1976
Steven Hood Steven Hood - Messenger 4 episodes, 1976
Jane Merrow Jane Merrow - Hallie 4 episodes, 1976
Allen G. Norman Allen G. Norman - Gamekeeper 4 episodes, 1976
Jameson Parker Jameson Parker 4 episodes, 1976
Bryan A. Seneviratne Bryan A. Seneviratne - Japanese Soldier 4 episodes, 1976

Charlton Heston had wanted to make a movie of this back in the 1960s.

The novel on which this mini-series is based is used in leadership classes at West Point, the Army War College, and in the U.S. Marine Corps.

User reviews



sam elliott in the best role of his entire career. awesome supporting cast including amy irving, glenn ford, ralph bellamy. terrific adaptation of anton myror's classic book required at west point. also required reading at most war colleges. almost every exising vote a perfect ten. why would one person throw the lowest score, a one, just to skew a masterpiece? ranks up there with roots as one of the greatest miniseries of all time.


This miniseries is the mystery of the ages. It rightfully enjoys one of the highest ratings--if not the very highest reviewer rating on record--of any product on film, yet for some inexplicable reason nobody has managed to release it commercially for a quarter century. Does anyone know why? A new generation of viewers never have seen this masterpiece, and to compare it to inferior products as The Winds of War led by the ever sleepy Robert Mitchum is like making an analogy of Lawrence of Arabia to Ishtar.

The cast was incredibly deep for television and included early roles for such actors as Melanie Griffith and Amy Irving and late ones for the likes of Ralph Bellamy and Glenn Ford. And at center stage was the steady work of Sam Elliott, who seemed tailor made for his interpretation of Anton Myror's straight arrow soldier Sam Damon. Truly, it ranks with his John Buford character in Gettysburg as among his best roles.

If anyone knows any way to locate a dub of even a part of this epic please email me. I have been trying to use it for a course on leadership that I teach at a California university. This drama, for our purposes, ranks above such acclaimed films as Hoosiers, Twelve O'Clock High, and Wall Street for lessons to be learned. A must see for anybody who can--and the number seems to be near zero today. What a tragedy.


This series was really great. The cast was wonderful and acting superb! I'm surprised it hasn't already been released! I agree with the comment made by the other fan that this mini-series is better than the "Winds of War." It is better!!

This was filmed back in the '70s when the T.V. mini-series first came about and is one of the reasons that mini-series are still popular. To the "powers that be"----please release this to DVD so that those of us who have seen this series can be entertained again. Those who have yet to see it have a nice surprise awaiting them!! Thanks!


I have for several years kicked me for not having a VCR in the late 1970's when I was stationed at the Military Academy and the Mini-series "Once An Eagle" first was on TV. The comments about the story and the actors who played the parts were pretty much true to life. The Massengales of the world said the book and now the TV series are not correct, that the director used his actors to show his political views. The Sam Damon's, said that the mini-series was true to life and True Soldiers really did take care of their men. I have recently been able to view the series again , and it reminds me of the men I served with and the true soldiers our country was very fortunate to have. The book is now being used as a text at the U S Army War College and at West Point. The U S Army College has a new version out with forwards from active and retired officers. Sam Damon as written in the book and to some extent in the TV series should be a guide to young and old officers a like. Take care of your soldiers and they will take care of you.

I agree with Airborne Mike, when he said " I used to be troubled by the movie and book having different endings, not anymore. They are best viewed as ALTERNATIVE ENDINGS, a positive or a negative one. The people who adapted the best-selling book to TV did an excellent job of understanding the book's true meaning---which is to fight evil when you see it immediately!---regardless of the cost".

To those of you that have been lucky enough to record the series and still have a copy, I salute you. You have a piece of history the movie world has not seen fit to rebroadcast or release on VHS/DVD for the rest of us. I rank it up there with Sam Elliott's best work. Maybe he or his agent (The William Morris Agency) will be able to get Universal to re-release it to the Sam Elliott and good film fans every where.

Smiling Jack (U S Army Retired)


Quite possibly my favorite movie/mini-series. I can remember watching it in the dorm room at the University of Michigan my Freshman year. Later, after I had enlisted in the Army and been accepted to West Point, I purchased the book and read it several times. Later the book became required reading at the Military Academy (though I'm not sure to what effect). The Point wanted its cadets to become more like the character of Sam Damon and less like Cortney Masengale. I do wish that ABC (or NBC, I can't remember the network) would bring the series back or offer it in a DVD set for those of us who are rabid fans. The entire series was well filmed, well acted, and the interpretation of the novel was very accurate. It was sort of a shame that they couldn't finish the mini-series the same way the book ended, but that would have taken another couple of weeks and Vietnam was still a raw nerve.


Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf reviewed the book, Once an Eagle, on the NBC Today Show (7/4/00), and I had to research this film after not having seen it for over twenty years. It left that powerful an impression, a story of two career officers spanning almost four decades, and how their choices affected their careers and the lives of those around them. Can't say anymore other than Sam Elliot's character left a lasting impression concerning life choices, and how those principles are still so important in our lives today...

Anyway, I have been unable to find a copy of the mini-series, so if anyone out there can provide any advice on how to obtain a copy, please e-mail me. It would be great to see it again sometime. Thanks...


I note that the book this was based on was republished a couple of years back to "rave" reviews. I reread it and it was as good as I remembered it.

The series, which, due to the type of work I was doing at the time, I only saw parts of, was also marvelous. Of course, I have to admit, I've seen very few movies with Sam Elliot that I didn't like.

A synopsis of the plot traces the lives of two Army officers; one (Elliot) an enlisted Medal of Honor winner in World War I who was given a battlefield commission and the other a rich West Point graduate staff officer who never heard a shot fired in anger; as their careers and lives moved forward through World War II and beyond.

I see that practically every other miserable excuse for a mini-series has been released on video or DVD, I would say it is long past time that this quality piece of work received its due.


This is a stunning movie. I saw it when I was very young, with my Father. Sam Damon represented to me what it meant to be a man. Sam Elliot's performance is understated and nuanced, and is remarkable for its restraint... what he Doesn't say is shown in his eyes, and smoking under the surface. He is a man of few words but very powerful obligations which people can either understand or not, he doesn't care. He is not driven by what others think, but by what he knows is right.

I spoke to a gentleman a few years back who said there were political reasons why this series would "never" be released. Having seen it again recently, I think I understand why it won't be released at least for a few years. I would NOT call the movie anti-war, but I would call it anti-stupidity. I would say it stands for war as a last resort, showing the loss and reality of war, and how even when a cause is just, stupid men are put in positions of authority sometimes, and lo and behold, give stupid orders for good men to follow and be killed. Regardless of, and sometimes ignorant of, the big picture and rationale behind the war.

Good men understand their cause, and fight for that cause together. Through a common purpose they find strength and camaraderie. Weak men use the war to justify their own petty purposes, regardless of their attained rank, and sometimes this puts their men in direct contradiction to the more noble and publicy marketed reasons for the conflict. Good men must sometimes follow weak men and stupid orders, if they are to be considered good soldiers. That's a tough position to be in... and it kind of flies in the face of what the military pushes... you must follow orders or you risk your life, and the lives of everybody in your company. Where would the military be if people were allowed to question orders, or question the character and motivations of the people giving those orders? Yet, where would the world be if we all blindly followed leadership despite what we knew was right or wrong?

This contradiction is what this miniseries meant to me, then, as a 12 year old, and again to me today as I write this. From what I understand, the rights to this are still owned by a major network who is being told not to release it. I don't know if that is true or not... it might be just a fancy and/or self-serving lie. But the more I think about it, the more I realize it just might be true. If it is true, it's a damn shame. If it's not true, then, I tell you one thing:

It's pretty bizarre that given the quality of the mini-series, and the star power of some fine actors in their prime, that this has never been released, isn't it?


That's the way I remember this mini-series anyway, although it's been ages, and it was never rerun, was it?

Sam Elliott was the star. Cliff Potts was the villain. Darleen Carr was the one everyone had a crush on.

I stumbled on this title in the database by accident. What are the chances of seeing it again, I wonder? About as good as assembling a cast this well-rounded again, I reckon.


-The Horatio Hornblower of War (mini-series) Movies. Up thru the ranks. Gosh, it's been so long ago it's hard to remember many details but I loved it then (a few years after returning from Viet Nam) and have tried to find a way to purchase it since the invention of VCR's.

I sure wish they would re-release it. Hello to all the War Movie buffs. If there are any war movies I don't own it's because they are not for sale!


I first saw this while stationed in the Philippines in 1977, but missed a couple of episodes. In about 1981, I was able to see it again and made a VCR copy (Alas, commercials included). I have just about worn it out over the years. In my opinion, only one miniseries is better, that being "Lonesome Dove". I wish that someone would reshow it or somebody would make a DVD.


Shown in UK as part of best sellers series along with Captains and the Kings. Couldn't wait for each new part of the mini series still remember it after 27 years so it must have been good. Why doesn't someone show this series again?


Once An Eagle is one of my all time favorite movies/mini-series. First rate cast, story,(great adaptation from the novel) and long enough to make sense. I would dearly love to see this mini again, I hope someone knows if it is available on VHS or DVD.
crazy mashine

crazy mashine

This was an outstanding mini-series with a great cast. To the best of my knowledge, it's never been aired again. Sam Elliot's star was on the rise and this was his best work to date. I wish that it were available or would be reshown. I've waited 25 years, it's time.
doesnt Do You

doesnt Do You

Like other reviewers, I watched this miniseries way back when. I may have been older than most of the other reviewers at the time because I was less impressed. I do remember, though, that Sam Elliott was well chosen for the role of Damon; it's a shame that his performance isn't mentioned in either IMDb's Elliott biography or the quotation from Maltin.

As miniseries go, "Once an Eagle" is a decent one, especially for its time, with competent actors, exotic locales, and the nearly unique-for-TV depiction of the 1918 A.E.F. on color film, but if you're looking for more than soap opera characters in G.I. dress, you may want to try elsewhere. Sam is the upright, stoic hero and Courtney is the cowardly, sleazy villain (you can tell by their names before the story begins). The series tracks their often intersecting and conflicting Regular Army careers over half a century, right into the Vietnam War. During most of that period, and unlike the majority of his fellow field-grade officers, Sam knows how history is going to turn out. Sam always does what's right, Courtney only what advances his career. And advance it he does. Never mind that he's transparently loathsome.

The entire production has that TV "feel"--bright colors, blow-dried hair, familiar attitudes, overwrought confrontations, action carefully paced to lead up to the frequent commercial breaks. Today's viewers especially may be annoyed by such factors.

Of course, we've seen the characters a thousand times before, and viewers never get tired of 'em. That's entertainment. But Winds of War is arguably the better series. You'll learn more about history, and if you're like me, you'll find the characters to be a little more interesting. The same goes for the novels the shows are based on. Each to his own!


I saw the TV mini-series and read the book several years later. The mini-series does an excellent job of following the book. Both are excellent. As far as purchasing this TV mini-series on DVD or Tape goes, Universal Pictures (NBC Now) owns it and they apparently do not have any plans to re-release it. Which is too bad because my wife and I are both big fans of Sam Elliot and this would be a must-buy for our DVD collection. Oh well......

One of the things that the book and TV mini-series covers in great detail is the every day life of a career military person and what it actually entails to have to deal with some of the idiots that make life miserable for honest hard working military people. Also during the historical period covered in this mini-series the U.S. Military was in a downward spiral right after WWI. So no funds were available to maintain the military facilities or provide opportunities for advancement in rank or cost of living raises like we have days.

So for a person to try and make a career out the military, they had really had to be committed to it.


I can only agree. This is the best mini-series ever made. I saw it in 1976 from Swedish Television. I have not seen it since then, but I remember it very well. Unfortunately it was shown just before I got a video recorder. If you get a chance to see it, don't miss it.


This series, Once An Eagle(OAE), is a great picture about the U.S. Army from WWI through WWII. The only comparable series is "Band of Brothers". It deals with social class, ie. ringknockers from wealthy, almost aristocratic backgrounds, and up-the-ranks officers. The value of honor and truth regardless of the toll to one's career.

Its a mystery why such a quality mini-series has not been rebroadcast considering the plethora of cable channels. Also, considering some of the shlock now available on DVD, its a puzzlement why this isn't available. If you know anyone who decides what gets broadcast or put on DVD, encourage them to view this series!


I have been searching and praying for this to come out in video for over twenty years. It made mini-series history as one of the very first. The acting was great, the storyline superb, and the charactors memorable. I don't think it has ever been shown on TV since. If anybody has it on tape, I'ld sure like a copy.


An excellent mini series. Wish it was available on VHS or DVD, would love to own a copy. Maybe we will get lucky and they will air it again one day so we can make a copy of it. One of Sam Elliott's best pictures ever. Rates up the next to the Sackett's which is another personal favorite.


I would like to see this movie on dvd or vhs. It is one of the best films I have had the pleasure seeing, & would really like to have it in my movie library. As high as it is rated, I can't understand why it isn't on dvd or vhs so it can be viewed at home.


After 24 years I still remember this as one of the most compelling miniseries I ever watched. I waited for it be to shown again, but it never was. Periodically I look for it to be released on video, and as far as I know it hasn't. Sam Elliott was superb. Great depiction of the military between WW I and WW II.
Fast Lovebird

Fast Lovebird

I not only watched every episode but went out and bought the book. Sam Elliott was fantastic in this mini-series! I loved it. If it ever comes out on video it'll be mine!


This series that follows the parallel careers of two Army officers through WW1 and WW2 is a masterpiece. As good as "The Winds of War" and "War and Remembrance".


I am working to bring Once An Eagle, the absolutely outstanding television miniseries, to the market after a 30+ year absence. Please visit my website www.once-an-eagle.com and leave your email message at "give us the miniseries" in the right-hand column. It will be consolidated and sent to NBC Universal as I am in touch with the appropriate executives. You will find plenty of other interesting information as well on the novel on which the miniseries was based, on the author Anton Myrer and much more. You can also see what numerous other miniseries fans have had to say. Site also includes the most comprehensive "Film Credits" on the internet and a reverse script of the miniseries. Let's make release of the miniseries a reality! NEW: go to www.youtube.com/onceaneagleguy to see miniseries excerpts.