A British banker hires a group of British mercenaries to rescue a deposed African president from the hands of a corrupt African dictator.

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast

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 ...
Rushton
Rosalind Lloyd ...
Heather
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

11 November 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los gansos salvajes  »

Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(London premiere print)|

Color:

(Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Both Richard Burton and Richard Harris were delighted with how the film turned out. Harris said, "I'd been plodding through sewage. And then at the end of the tunnel, there was a romp with the boys, a night on the town. "Was The Wild Geese (1978) a movie? I thought it was a summer holiday". See more »

Goofs

Several Simbas are seen being catapulted high into the air by hand grenade explosions. No standard issue grenade has the power to do this. See more »

Quotes

[after womanizer Sean Finn fails at a simulated parachute drop]
RSM Sandy Young: That was LUDICROUS, sir. You're jumping from an aeroplane, not a whorehouse window. Do it again.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Last of the Gentleman Producers (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Rafer's theme
by Aleksandr Borodin (as A. Borodin)
Arr. Roy Budd (as Budd)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Those Old Cavalry Flicks
6 June 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Watching The Wild Geese puts me so in mind of those old John Ford cavalry flicks. Not surprising since the Director Andrew McLaglen learned his trade while on the set of those films with his father Victor McLaglen.

A fine cast was assembled here for this film. Richard Burton, Roger Moore, and Richard Harris certainly have all done better stuff, but their skill makes The Wild Geese enjoyable. Of the three, I think Harris comes off the best, his scenes with his young son are very poignant.

Richard Burton is a mercenary who is being offered a contract by gazillionaire industrialist Stewart Granger. Train and equip a group of mercenaries to rescue a Nelson Mandela type African leader who has been deposed in a military coup. Burton does the job, but when the job is finished he and his mercenaries find getting out a whole lot more than the bargained for.

Starting with Where Eagles Dare, Burton was trying the action/adventure genre on for size and he did well with that. He came up way short with Raid on Rommel, but recouped quite a bit with The Wild Geese. It was his only joint film venture with Richard Harris, pairing both the stage and screen King Arthurs from Camelot.

Of course action adventure is old hat for Roger Moore. He was in his prime as James Bond when The Wild Geese was done. But Moore shows he can be quite serious here. None of the tongue in cheek deadpan that characterizes a Bond film.

The scenes dealing with the recruiting a training of the mercenaries come straight out of John Ford. So are the various types among the soldiers.

I liked Kenneth Griffith's portrayal of the openly gay medic with the group. Yes he's certainly stereotypical, but the point is he's accepted by the men who really don't care about his sexual orientation when in a fight. Secondly he turns out to be quite the John Wayne type hero in the end.

The Wild Geese turned out to be very popular, Burton was going to do a sequel Wild Geese II when he died in 1983. Might have been interesting had he done it since it would have paired with Laurence Olivier in that one.

The Wild Geese is an action/adventure film to be sure, but it's also about loyalty, tradition, and camaraderie. These men may fight for a good paycheck, but they are fanatically loyal to the unit created and to each other.

If that ain't John Ford.............................


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