As Major Smith scales the outside of the Schloss Adler and after fortuitously bypassing German soldiers who conveniently do not turn around in the room below and see him, Mary Ellison makes the following observation as a flushed and bothered Smith enters terra firma once again.
" You're too old for this. Why do you go on these insane missions? "
Richard Burton did not scale the outside of the castle leaving it to stuntman, Alf Joint. I have no head for heights either but whilst over visits to Austria and Switzerland since 1982 I have had an easier ride, I do sometimes chuckle at what makes me embark on many insane but, I hope usually, safer missions to see Where Eagles Dare locations.
It started in 1982 when my parents took me to Austria for our summer holiday. The car broke down before we had left England and I was told off by my father when, the car repaired, I had asked to listen to Test Match Special for coverage of the England and Pakistan Test at Edgbaston. No further dramas happened and we reached St. Wolfgang where the Cosmos rep, Karen Johnson, asked if we knew of the film, Where Eagles Dare. I most certainly did and three of the seven days in Austria were set aside to visit Ebensee ( for the cable car) and Werfen (for the castle) at Karen's suggestion. Karen, thank you.
The view in Saalfelden where the opening scene was shot. Schloss Hohenwerfen was known as Schloss Adler in Where Eagles Dare. Adler is German for eagle. Another general view of Schloss Hohenwerfen. The window used for entrance by Major Smith and Lt. Schaffer is the small one furthest left with red and white shutters.
Stairs used by Rosemeyer and Kramer after the former's arrival by helicopter. Window from where Mary Ellison supported the arrivals of Smith and Schaffer. Arrival for some visitors is now easier from the other side of the castle to that experienced by stuntmen during the film. Main courtyard where a lot of the action took place. This is the main view of the helicopter landing.
The door which took a lot of pummelling from German soldiers was used as the entrance to the souvenir shop the last time I visited. The Funkraum (Radio Room) is now a toilet. A slightly different view of the castle taken from the path leading to the setting of The Sound of Music. One of the cable cars being used up to the mid-1980s is now housed in a local garden near the valley station in Ebensee.
We went to Ebensee the very next day and took the cable car to the Feuerkogel. My father was in the R.A.F. but, well, declined to fly and it took some persuasion to force him into the cable car. On that first day, he watched my mother and I go up in the rickety cable car and took a photo (with two men on the roof testing the cables). I am delighted to be able to share this photo.
My thanks also go to Cinema Retro ( for producing a most wonderful magazine of the making of Where Eagles Dare. Anyone interested in the film would do well to procure a copy. There is a wealth of information within it and apparently sixteen cable cars were made for the film, some naturally for use within the MGM studios at Borehamwood. Whether my mother, father (later in the holiday) and I travelled on one of the cable cars used in Where Eagles Dare having heard of the number built and used, I cannot be sure but I hope so. It was magical in 1982 but, sadly, when I returned in 1985, the cars had been replaced with more modern versions. My research over the next thirty or so years led me easily to find one of the original cars on the top of the Feuerkogel and, with a little bit of luck, to find the other in a residential garden close to the valley station in Ebensee.
Since 1982, I have made trips to Austria and Switzerland and visited the castle and other places in the general Werfen area which appear in the film; the huts used at the beginning of the film can be found (with patience, in my case: it took me three visits...); Hallein, where the staff car crashes after a gormless guard allows Schaffer to tie his shoe laces; Stainach-Irdning close to where Oberhausen Airfield lies and Lofer where much of the action took place including the Zum Wilden Hirsch Gasthof (and also a lovely place to stay).
I last saw the other cable car in 2010 at the top of the Feuerkogel. Another view of the cable car at the top of the Feuerkogel again taken in 2010. This was my first trip on the Feuerkogel cable car - and possibly one used in the film - in 1982. Please note the company we also had on the roof. Another shot from 1982 showing an original cable car and the unmistakeable Ebensee valley station.
Only the cable car has changed from this 1982 photo. Taken from the Feuerkogel mountain station, this 1982 photo shows one of the cable cars possibly used in the film. An idea of the stepped Langbathbach river near Ebensee into which the stunt actors jumped towards the end of the film. The German staff car with prisoners Smith and Schaffer travelled along this road near Adnet Seefeldmuhle near Hallein.
Further up the Wiestal Landesstrasse, this is very possibly where the staff car veers off the road. Near the same point along the Wiestal Landeestrasse as the previous photo, the gorge is likely where the staff car is deposited Werfen Station and its general area feature prominently in the film. The castle can be seen in the background. The commandos came over this stretch of track from the field behind.
In Switzerland, I travelled to Maloja and the Forno Glacier where I read that the parachute scenes at the start of the film were shot. I was extremely lucky to blag my way on to the aircraft, HB-HOT, at Dubendorf near Zurich when she was in the hangar and kind technicians allowed me free rein and insisted that I spend time watching them at work. What a terrible tragedy last year to hear of HB-HOT's crash with the loss of all those on board. I felt for all those on board who lost their lives, their families and those who had tended to "Tante Ju" at Dubendorf.
Just outside Geneva in a small village called Celigny, I have twice visited Richard Burton's grave. A few feet further down on the other side of the same cemetery lies the grave of the man who, above all, made Where Eagles Dare possible. Author Alistair MacLean.
I am delighted to see that I am not alone in travelling to Where Eagles Dare filming locations. Indeed, without some, I would not have remotely seen as many of the places and I would especially like to thank Rene ( for his help and assistance and telling me where to go to find where the opening scene was shot. Rene has his own pilot's licence and therefore has a far better sense of direction than I do. His website is fascinating and I am very grateful to him.
Their entrance was through this part of Werfen Station. The bridge in front of Werfen Station along which the commandos walked.. The same Werfen bridge down which Smith and Schaffer escaped before the hut was blown up. The bank close to Werfen Station where Smith shoots and Schaffer knifes sentries. Closer scrutiny shows Werfen Station, the bridge and Schloss Adler within this photo.
Zum Wilden Hirsch (now Villa Egger) in Lofer. Like other buildings in Lofer, Villa Egger has a resume of its history on the building. A building close to Villa Egger which is seen in the film. The view from the woodshed outside which Smith finds Jock's body. Villa Egger is the building on the right.
Towards the end of the film, the bus bursts out of a garage and past this Lofer building. The fleeing bus then passes this Lofer building. The Forno Glacier near Maloja in Switzerland which I read was used for the parachute jump at the beginning of the film. I have a hunch that, at the start of the film, during the credits, the Junkers flies alongside the peak on the right and towards the mountain on the left. I may be completely wrong but am hoping to visit this area in Maloja again shortly to test this thought.
A couple of hotels have shown me their guest books from 1968. The year should tell readers therefore that the hotels were used as bases or similar for some of the actors. I think it only fair to firstly request their permission before I show photos which they kindly allowed me to take. I found a certain satisfaction at unearthing one of these little treasures.
In the same way, Schloss Hohenwerfen (now referred to as Festung Hohenwerfen) is an easy place to visit for Where Eagles Dare fans. Through Rene and another excellent website (, I have been able to visit, in my mother's words, bends in the road ( the Hallein road mentioned earlier), traipsed through the woods close to the Schloss Adler (and likely out-of-bounds), hiked up the Forno Glacier and been chased off by dogs and a horse in finding the huts also mentioned earlier. I am happy to admit that it has been made me chuckle at times but I am still as excited when Where Eagles Dare comes on (usually around Christmas).
I hope that the photos will prove of interest to those who, like me, enjoy the filming locations of this classic film. I am not sure that there are any further places for me to visit but I have no doubt that I will be back again to re-visit these wonderful parts of Austria and Switzerland.
The tiny chapel which can be seen briefly by the cable car valley station, filmed in Ebensee. In a meadow above Pfarrwerfen the huts which were used after the parachute drop are to be found. As in the film, it is deserted in winter but a sign warns off people in summer. The huts in summer. This area of Samedan in Switzerland was also briefly used in the aircraft's departure at the end of the film.
Oberhausen Airport or Aigen im Ennstal near Stainach-Irdning in Austria. The Grimming Mountain seen clearly at the end of the film is in the background. The scene at Oberhausen where the bus smashes through the fence. The new Clint Eastwood - Richard Burton bridge near Mitterweissenbach which commemorates the place where the bridge was blown up during the chase to the airport Another view of the bridge
Fairly close to the bridge, this scene looks familiar and I wonder if it is where the tree was blown up towards the end of the film Richard Burton's grave lies in a small Celigny cemetery in Switzerland. Within the same Celigny cemetery, author Alistair MacLean is also buried. Eagles really dare at the Scloss Hohenwerfen and are one of the castle's attractions.
A small memento bought at the valley station of the Feuerkogelbahn in 1982. Ingrid Pitt's grave in outer London
Pandemic permitting, I am hoping to return to Austria this year and plan some further investigation and enjoyment. If the trip can go ahead, I hope to update with some newer photos.
As at March 2022, Corona is still about although we are told that our lives can return to some sort of normality. During this Corona period, I have been away twice and both times have been to Austria on my insane missions to try and track down Where Eagles Dare filming locations. I have enjoyed seeing many signs saying Kurvenreich or, as a guide to its interpretation in English, bends in the road.
I hope to visit Maloja to test out my hunch about the Junkers flight path at the beginning of the film, and will update this section if I can stagger to the top of the mountain to test out my theory. That could then be that for Where Eagles Dare filming locations, forty years after it started. I doubt it, though. As someone in our church said to me recently: why on earth would you want to do that and just stop? She has a point. And is probably correct.
Neil McCarthy’s grave at Fordingbridge in Hampshire. Donald Houston lies buried in this part of a graveyard in Miranda do Corvo in Portugal. Courtesy of information from my friend George Tatham. My still unsubstantiated hunch is that HB-HOT could have made the right turn between La Margneta (left) and the higher Piz da la Margna (right). This part of the landscape is close to the Forno glacier and the right turn might have been made before the mountain in the background.
After the aircraft’s right turn, a mountain is briefly seen in the background. Although this photo is not taken from the pilot’s POV, my hunch is that it could be the Piz Corvatsch (seen here).      
In my last missive in this Where Eagles Dare section, I said that I hoped to visit Maloja to test out my hunch about HB-HOT's flight path within the first four minutes of the film. I did visit, and I did have a good look around (in clear and fine weather). Am I any more certain? Am I ever certain? All I can do is say that I am still hopeful that the hunch may be correct, and add the photos.
Having read some while back that the parachutists jumped out over the Forno glacier, there must have presumably been ample reason to film other parts of the film in the same area. Towards the end of the credits, the aircraft makes a right turn whereupon a mountain can be briefly seen in the distance. From Google Earth, my hunch is that the right turn could have been made over Piz da la Margna and that the mountain in the background, seen briefly for no more than three or four seconds, could be Piz Corvatsch.
The additional photos are not taken from the pilot's POV but are the best which I can offer. I had hoped to be able to follow a path (terra firma rather than aerial) which might have taken me as close as possible to the same view but, ultimately, those who know me best will not be surprised that my navigational skills again let me down despite hours of poring over maps etc. Maybe one day I shall return to Maloja and see if I can try again.
I also add photos of the final resting places of two of the Where Eagles Dare actors, Neil McCarthy and Donald Houston. Neil's was comparatively straightforward to find in Fordingbridge Cemetery in Hampshire. Donald's was less so. For this, I would like to thank my friend George Tatham for information which took me to Portugal (and which can be read in more detail on the most recently-added article in my Travel Diary section).
After further navigational difficulties scuppered the opportunity of trying to find the grave of Sir Michael Hordern near Newbury, I am hoping to visit his grave on another occasion soon. Ron Goodwin, whose music added so much to the film, is also, I believe, buried close by and I hope to be able to visit his grave also.
In May 2023, I shall be staying at Saalfelden in Austria for a few days and hope to enjoy walks and views in the area where the film started. I shall also be walking close by in Lofer, another prominent place in the film. Something jumped out at me recently on Google Earth, by mistake, which leads me to another area in this Pinzgau area of Austria to test another hunch...
The view behind Smith's back in Lofer after he finds Jock's body Richard Burton stood close to the (cut-off) Durnberger sign in Lofer before entering the woodshed. Villa Egger (zum Wilden Hirsch) is on the left of the photo After crossing the bridge in Werfen, this is the first (but lower) view of Lofer before the commandos enter zum Wilden Hirsch A lot of shooting took place in this Lofer after the bus careered out of its hidden location
My earlier photo of this scene featuring the fleeing bus had mist covering the mountains I believe that this may have been the checkpointarea from where the German military started their pursuit of the escaping bus The spot in Lofer where Burton and Eastwood were seen before entering zum Wilden Hirsch The opening scene was filmed above the hills and mountains in the centre of this photo, taken at Maria Alm
In Werfen, this similar view was seen when Burton and Eastwood escaped by motorbike To the left of Werfen bridge, the path which Burton and Eastwood took after blowing up the hut can be seen here The rungs at the foot of Burg Hohenwerfen used in the film can be seen here ***NOT AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC AT BURG HOHENWERFEN*** A view of the castle which the stuntmen climbed to the right of centre ***NOT AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC AT BURG HOHENWERFEN***
A closer view of the wall which the stuntmen climbed up ***NOT AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC AT BURG HOHENWERFEN*** Close to Werfen Station and to the right of this photo, two sentries met unpleasant ends at the hands of Smith and Schaffer The view briefly shown when Smith and Schaffer lead the commandos over the bridge at Werfen Woods due east of castle: ish...Not the exact spot but maybe next year
The final resting place of Sir Michael Hordern (Admiral Rolland) near Newbury Between Newbury and Basingstoke lies the memorial of Ron Goodwin whose music in Where Eagles Dare was one of the highlights for me. The lower view of the castle which Smith and Schaffer had in the early part of the film Just below this point, Smith and Schaffer had the dramatic, initial view of the Schloss Adler
Underneath Werfen Station's bridge at the point where Smith and Schaffer flee after the hut is blown up. Low water made this visit possible. Another shot underneath Werfen Station's bridge Very close to the lower-level view of the castle lies this area which looks a distinct possibility from where Smith radios HQ early in the film Section of road near Ebenau which looks to be a strong candidate for the spot where the bus is chased en route to the airfield
An updated photo (March 2024) of the cable car (with its predecessor to the right) on top of the Feuerkogel Around this point, the cable car rooftop fight took place.