120 user 49 critic

The Wild Geese (1978)

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)
Winston Ntshona ...
Kenneth Griffith ...
Thomas Balfour


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 <richy@vnu.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

bird | fowl | value | operative | troop | See All (174) »


The Dogs of War. The Best Damn Mercenaries in the Business! See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

11 November 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los gansos salvajes  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,423,104, 31 December 1978
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(London premiere print)|


(Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Richard Burton was reported to have stuck to drinking soft drinks throughout the three months of shooting in South Africa. See more »


During Fynn and Coetzee's first meeting in the pub, the volume of beer in their glasses increases and decreases between shots. See more »


Lt. Shawn Fynn: [referring to the radio callsigns for his men and for their transport aircraft] Iron Man,Wild Goose! Sounds like a finger up a tin man's backside,doesn't it?
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Referenced in Huo shao dao (1990) See more »


Sammy's Theme
"Dance of Death"
Written and Performed by Jerry Donahue & Marc Donahue (as Jerry and Marc Donahue)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Last Hurrah
3 July 2007 | by See all my reviews

A splendid old-fashioned action film, with all concerned giving it their best shot.

A few people have objected to the average age of the actors in this film, from Burton to Kenneth Griffiths - but they don't seem to realise that the age of these mercernaries is the point. The Wild Geese is about a generation of men who demobbed from the Army after the Second World War, were unable to make peace work, and who sold their services as soldiers in the world's troublespots to the highest bidder. The late 1970's would have been the time of life that their age at last compromised their work, and the film is a recognition of the last of them.

For me this film is like a beloved childhood toy, kept and never forgotten - when it aired recently on television I just didn't want it to end.

Brilliant, gloriously sentimental and the anti-thesis of PC. 10/10

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