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The Wild Geese (1978)

R  |   |  Action, Adventure, Drama  |  11 November 1978 (USA)
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A British banker hires a group of British mercenaries to rescue a deposed African president from the hands of a corrupt African dictator.



(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lt. Pieter Coetzee (as Hardy Kruger)
Sir Edward Matherson
Winston Ntshona ...
President Julius Limbani
Sgt. Jesse Link
Jack Watson ...
R.S.M. Sandy Young
Kenneth Griffith ...
Arthur Witty
Thomas Balfour
Jock McTaggart
Ian Yule ...
Tosh Donaldson
Patrick Allen ...
Rosalind Lloyd ...


A British multinational seeks to overthrow a vicious dictator in central Africa. It hires a band of (largely aged) mercenaries in London and sends them in to save the virtuous but imprisoned opposition leader. Written by Richard Young <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Dogs of War. The Best D*** Mercenaries in the Business!


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

11 November 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los gansos salvajes  »

Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)


SEK 4,765,658 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(London premiere print)|


(Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


A sub-plot contained in the novel and early screenplay drafts, in which Shawn Finn romances a local woman during the training sequence in Swaiziland, was eventually dropped by the production team, on the grounds that it added little to the story, and dragged the pace of the film. See more »


During the Medical Orderlys final scene he runs out of ammo for his Uzi. The weapon, however, doesn't click once but three times which is impossible with a real weapon. All of the three clicks were added post production to enhance the fact to the audience that Witty ran out of ammo. See more »


Fr. Geoghagen, the Priest: Good luck to you, you Godless murderers.
See more »


Featured in Wild Geese II (1985) See more »


Sammy's Theme
"Dance of Death"
Written and Performed by Jerry Donahue & Marc Donahue (as Jerry and Marc Donahue)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Spectacular adventure about group of valiant mercenaries who are hired to free an African leader
7 November 2011 | by See all my reviews

Thrilling/ straight action/adventure story about some mercenaries hired to spring an abducted African leader from well-secured prison and the incidents this triggers . A British multinational seeks to overthrow a vicious dictator in central Africa as hires the much-wanted mercenary Colonel Allen Faulkner (Richard Burton miscast as chief of mercenaries) , as he travels to London invited by the British millionaire Sir Edward Matherson (Stewart Granger) to rescue the African President Julius Limbani that had been kidnapped in a coup d'état by the dictator Colonel Mboya. Sir Edward has interest in the copper mines and intends to negotiate with Limbani. Col. Faulkner hires his friends Captain Rafer Janders (Richard Harris), a tough, two-fisted mercenary and Lieutenant Shawn Fynn (Roger Moore),an expert on planes . The trio selects their old friends and contacts other mercenaries (Ronald Fraser , Percy Herbert , Ken Gampu) to form the rescue team. They plan the whole operation and succeed in their mission .The commando is led by Colonel Faulkner , a sergeant named Sandy (Jack Watson) along with Lieutenent Pieter (Hardy Kruger).The adventure starts when the veteran band of mercenaries land deep inside the African country to rescue Limbani and destroy installations .

This fast-paced film packs adventures, large-scale blow-up , plot-twists routine plot , and lots of action for the most part . It's a comfortable mix of action-packed , adventure, thriller and wartime genre . From the beginning to the end the suspense , non-stop action and intrigue is continued . Interesting screenplay by prestigious Reginald Rose who writes thought-provoking dialogs especially between Limbani and Pieter well performed by Hardy Kruger . Other chief excitements about the movie, will be in the intervention of famous British secondaries who realize professionally competent interpretations , some of them with no more than a line or two to say . Cinematography Jack Hildyard is quite nicely , capturing the atmosphere of everywhere . Special mention the impressive and breathtaking musical score by Roy Budd ; it's filled with lively and martial sounds fitting splendidly to action . Furthermore , enjoyable song on the opening under magnificent credit titles by Maurice Binder . The motion picture is well directed by Andrew V MacLagen son of the great actor Victor McLagen. He's a warlike expert , such as proved in several films (Return to Kwai,Wild Geese, Dirtdozen: the next mission,Sea wolves,Breakthrough). However , director McLagen proved had lost the touch that made ¨Devil's brigade¨, ¨Sea wolves¨ and specially ¨Wild Geese¨ such memorable films , as in his final career he filmed average movies . ¨Wild Geese¨ can be called great and received , deservedly, much acclaim when released. Certainly a good work done by one of Hollywood's more skill director, a real craftsman.

It's followed by Wild Geese II (Peter Hunt with Scott Glenn, Edward Fox, Barbara Carrera ), an inferior sequel deals about a new group of the much-wanted mercenaries assigned by a rich television network (Robert Webber) to free famous arch-Nazi war criminal Rudolph Hess (Laurence Olivier); this following depended in their all star cast . And a trilogy exploitation directed by Anthony M Dawson( Margheriti) formed by ¨Code name : Wild Geese¨ ¨Commando Leopard(1985)¨ and ¨Der Commander(1988)¨ repeating similar actors, Lewis Collins, Lee Van Cleef , Klaus Kinski, and Manfred Lemann.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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