The Eagle or The Eagle of the Ninth? | International titles of 2011 film of Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Eagle of the Ninth

Recent showings on Film 4 in the UK of ‘The Eagle’ film, based on Rosemary Sutcliff’s historical novel The Eagle of the Ninth, have reminded me of my frustration and disappointment that the film was not itself called The Eagle of the Ninth. For many months during filming and productionthe it had the full title, but after test-marketing in the USA, the US film studio Focus Features insisted on shortening the title – because US audiences seemed to think The Eagle of the Ninth might be about golf! (I am not joking).

At the time I wrote that I chose to believe that the studio knew its business and its market, although the subsequent  failure of their marketing in the US  lead me to wonder a little more. The (standard) contract for the book rights gave those of us responsible for Rosemary Sutcliff’s book no veto or locus in the decision.

In many, but not all, countries the title was a full translation of the original title. In others, of ‘The Eagle’. So far I think I have found:

Brazil: A Aguia da Nova

Bulgaria: Орелът 

Croatia: Orao

Finland: Kotka

France: L’ Aigle de la Neuvième Légion

Germany: Der Adler der Neunten Legion

Greece: O aetos tis aftokratorias

Hungary: A sas

Iceland: Örninn

Japan: 第九軍団のワシ /

Lithuania: Devintojo legiono erelis

Poland: Dziewiaty legion

Portugal: A Águia da Nona Legião

Romania: Acvila legiunii a IX-a

Russia: Орел Девятого легиона

Spain: El águila de la novena legión

Japanese Film poster for The Eagle of the Ninth 第九軍団のワシ :

4 thoughts on “The Eagle or The Eagle of the Ninth? | International titles of 2011 film of Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Eagle of the Ninth

  1. I personally am also relieved that it did not have the same title, as the movie does not do justice to the book. I personally hope that someday it will be remade under the original title under a screenwriter that understands that RS’s story should not be utterly changed. I would love to see all of her books made into movies, though they would never be able to capture the depth of each book.

    I especially would love to see a better dynamic between Esca and Marcus. Though the story is completely changed throughout the movie, I believe that this was the biggest change from the book. The ending was different and I hated it, however, they missed the mark on the relationship between the two, completely changing the face of the story.

    Thanks for all of your posts as of late!


  2. Yes, disappointing, but, perhaps inevitable. Maybe it s a consolation that the film and book are indeed two separate works: the former necessarily not having the depth of the latter, decent though it is.

    I personally missed the iconic moment at the Beacon.. A simple but brilliantly effective emotional staging typical of RS… I m trying to imagine her at a modern film awards ceremomy, and failing!!!

    Keep up the great work Anthony!


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