Watch Once an Eagle
- 9 hr
Once an Eagle is a war drama television series that aired on NBC from 1976 to 1977. It is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Anton Myrer. Directed by Richard Michaels and Harvey Hart, the series chronicles the life of a career Army officer named Samuel Damon, played by Sam Elliott, from his enlistment in 1917 through his retirement in the early 1950s. The series is set against the backdrop of the major wars that Damon participated in, including World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. The first half of the series, which takes place during World War I and World War II, focuses on Damon's rise through the ranks and his relationships with his fellow soldiers and officers. In particular, the series charts the relationship between Damon and his rival, Courtney Massengale, played by Cliff Potts. While Damon is a principled and dedicated soldier, Massengale is a conniving and selfish officer who will do whatever it takes to advance his career. As the series progresses, Damon's personal life also comes into focus. He falls in love with a nurse named Tommy Caldwell, played by Darleen Carr, and marries her after World War I. They have two children together, but their marriage is strained by Damon's commitment to the Army and his lengthy absences. Tommy struggles to maintain her own identity and independence while also being a military wife. The second half of the series takes place during the Korean War and follows Damon's efforts to get back into the Army after retiring. He initially balks at returning to military service, but ultimately realizes that he can still make a difference as a leader. The Korean War also brings Damon into contact with a new generation of soldiers, including a young officer named Steve Praeger, played by Andrew Stevens. Praeger initially idolizes Damon but comes to see his flaws and limitations as a leader. Throughout Once an Eagle, the central conflict is between Damon's dedication to duty and Massengale's political ambition. Massengale repeatedly tries to undermine Damon and take credit for his successes. Their rivalry culminates in a climactic battle during World War II, which has consequences that carry through to the end of the series. Overall, Once an Eagle is a powerful and sprawling epic that explores the themes of duty, honor, sacrifice, and the toll of war on soldiers and their families. The series features strong performances from its leads, particularly Sam Elliott as Samuel Damon. The show portrays the military life and the different realities that faced the soldiers in different wars. The pacing and unfolding of events are masterfully done and leave the viewer enthralled with the story.