The Eiger Sanction

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Clint Eastwood directs and stars in this intrigue thriller about a retired assassin who is forced into action when a deadly double agent murders a close friend.

The Eiger Sanction is a 1975 American action thriller film directed by and starring Clint Eastwood. Based on the 1972 novel of the same name by Trevanian, the film is about an art history professor, mountain climber, and former assassin once employed by a secret United States government agency, who is blackmailed into returning to his deadly profession and do one more “sanction”, a euphemism for killing.

Art professor and mountaineer Jonathan Hemlock (Eastwood) is a retired government assassin called on to return to work for two more “sanctions”, a euphemism for officially approved killings. During his career with a secret government agency called “C2”, Hemlock amassed a private collection of 21 rare masterpiece paintings, paid for from his previous sanctions. The director of C2, Dragon (Thayer David), is an albino ex-Nazi confined to semidarkness and kept alive by blood transfusions. Dragon wants Hemlock to kill two men responsible for the death of another government agent, code name Wormwood. Insisting he is retired, Hemlock refuses until Dragon threatens to expose Hemlock’s art collection to the Internal Revenue Service. Hemlock agrees, and travels to Zurich, where he carries out the first sanction for $20,000, twice his usual fee (equivalent to $105,000 in 2020), and a letter guaranteeing no trouble from the IRS.

The Eiger Sanction was released in New York City on May 21, 1975, and received mixed reviews. The general reaction among many reviewers offered criticism of the story and screenplay, and praise for the climbing footage and action sequences. The film, which was made with a budget of $9 million, earned $14,200,000 at the box office.

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