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The  Best 'Eye in the Sky' Movie Quotes

Updated December 16, 2019 356 votes 169 voters 9.1k views10 items

Eye in the Sky movie quotes tell the story of how the moral, ethical and legal implications of drone warfare are tested when a simple capture could have deadly results. The British thriller was write by Guy Hibbert and directed by Gavin Hood. After premiering at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, Eye in the Sky opened theatrically on March 11, 2016, in the United states and April 8, 2016, in the United Kingdom.

In Eye in the Sky, Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) heads up a team who look to locate, spy on and eventually capture a terrorist group. Among those in the group include Brit Ayesha AL-Hady AKA Susan Danford and two others on the 10 most wanted terrorists list. Using a drone, they locate those three in a safe house, where the terrorists are preparing for a suicide attack.

Much to the ire of others involved, including Lieutenant General Frank Benson (Alan Rickman) and British Foreign Secretary James Willett (Iain Glen), Powell changes the mission to not capture AL-Hady but send in a hellfire missile to kill all in the home. This plan is further complicated by the pushback from American drone pilot Steve Watts (Aaron Paul) who declines to send in the missile while a little girl remains within the casualty area. As the sides argue about the best move, their moral and legal obligations are tested.

Eye in the Sky opened alongside other great March 2016 films including 10 Cloverfield Lane, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Knight of Cups, and Zootopia.

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  • 1

    Win the Propaganda War

    George Matherson: If they kill 80 people, we win the propaganda war. If we kill one child, they do.

    George Matherson explains how when fighting the propaganda war, it's often unfair. While the enemy can kill dozens, should the good guys kill one child, they instantly lose.
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    I Am the Pilot in Command

    Steve Watts: I am the pilot in command responsible for releasing this weapon. I will fire when this girl is out of the way.

    Steve goes against a direct order from the Colonel when he does not fire upon the building due to a girl in the blast radius. As he is the one who controls the weapon, he declares that he will do it when the girl is safely far away.
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  • Photo: Metaweb / CC-BY
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    No One Wants to Take Responsibility

    Colonel Katherine Powell: We've got two suicide bombers inside that house but no one wants to take responsibility for pulling the trigger.

    Frustrated at the lack of action, Colonel Powell states the situation in a very basic way. They have easy targets that will surely wipe out a bunch of innocent civilians but no one wants to take the risk of killing the targets.
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    You're Cleared to Engage

    Video: YouTube

    Steve Watts: Ma'am?
    Colonel Katherine Powell: You are cleared to engage, lieutenant.
    Steve Watts: She stopped.
    Colonel Katherine Powell: Lieutenant, we have this one opportunity. Let's not lose it.
    Steve Watts: Ma'am, um, she's selling bread.
    Carrie Gershon: Jesus
    Colonel Katherine Powell: Those men are about to disperse. Engage now!
    Steve Watts: Ma'am, I understand we have clearance. I have to fire if I see the HVI's moving or when this girl's out of the frag radius but I want to give her a chance to get out of the way.
    Colonel Katherine Powell: Lieutenant, you have clearance! There is a lot more at stake than you see here in this image.
    Steve Watts: Ma'am, I need you to run the collateral damage estimate again with this girl up front.
    Colonel Katherine Powell: This situation has not changed, lieutenant. You are cleared to engage.

    Colonel Katherine Powell orders Steve Watts to engage with the target, a home which is confirmed to house three very sought after terrorist targets. Steve, however, refuses the order, or at least tries his best to postpone the strike as to not kill an innocent woman selling bread.
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