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Once an Eagle (1976) is a nine hour Americanmarker television mini-series directed by Richard Michaels and E.W. Swackhamer. The picture was written by Peter S. Fischer and based on the Anton Myrer novel of the same name, written in 1968.

The first and last installments of the seven-part series ran two hours each, while the interim episodes each ran for 60 minutes.

The mini-series tells of the thirty year careers of two military men, from the outbreak of World War I to the aftermath of World War II.


Sam Damon (Sam Elliott) is a straight-arrow type who is an excellent family man and praiseworthy warrior.

Courtney Massengale (Cliff Potts) is completely the opposite. He's a womanizing, self-aggrandizing conniver who knows how to play the angles all the way to the top.



Once an Eagle was the second of four story arcs seen on the NBC anthology series "Best Sellers;" it was preceded by Captains and the Kings, and followed by Seventh Avenue and The Rhineman Exchange.

The picture is based on the Anton Myrer's novel Once an Eagle, one of the most important military novels written in the United States. The novel is noted for its stark and realistic descriptions of men in combat and in its penetrating analysis of human and technical challenges and leadership and the moral dilemmas faced by the command structure.

It is one of only two novels (the other being The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara) on the US Army's recommended reading list for Officer Professional Development; interestingly, the one common element in both novels is that Sam Elliott has a starring role, playing a US Army general officer, in the film adaptations of both.

Unapparent to many is that the fictitious Sam Damon was modeled after an actual officer, Major General William C. Chase, former commanding general of the 1st Cavalry Division. General Chase's career can be seen in his autobiography, "Front Line General: The Commands of William C. Chase" (Houston, TX: Pacesetter Press, 1975).

Filming locations

Some of the scenes of the film were shot in Napa Valley, Californiamarker.


  • Emmy Awards: Emmy; Outstanding Cinematography in Entertainment Programming for a Series, J.J. Jones; for part I; 1977.
  • Golden Globes: Golden Globe; Best Supporting Actress - Television, Darleen Carr; 1977.

See also


  1. .

External links

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