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The Dogs of War (1980)

6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 5,617 users  
Reviews: 49 user | 36 critic

Mercenary James Shannon, on a reconnaissance job to the African nation of Zangaro, is tortured and deported. He returns to lead a coup.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Colin Blakely ...
Hugh Millais ...
Endean
...
Derek
Jean-François Stévenin ...
Michel (as Jean François Stevenin)
...
Jessie
Robert Urquhart ...
Capt. Lockhart
Winston Ntshona ...
Dr. Okoye
...
The Captain (as Pedro Armendariz Jr.)
Harlan Cary Poe ...
Richard
...
Terry
Isabel Grandin ...
Evelyn
Ernest Graves ...
Warner
Kelvin Thomas ...
The Black Boy
Edit

Storyline

Jamie Shannon is a soldier of fortune -- a mercenary who will stage a coup or a revolution for the right price. He is hired by British mining interests to scout out Zangaro, a small African nation with rich mineral deposits but a brutal and xenophobic dictatorship. Arrested soon after his arrival, Shannon is imprisoned as a spy, badly beaten, and tortured. While in prison he meets one of the country's leading intellectuals, Dr. Okoye, also imprisoned by the regime. Eventually released, he returns to London and is subsequently offered to opportunity to secretly invade Zangaro's capital and lead a military coup. Shannon accepts, but quietly has his own agenda to pursue. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Cry 'Havoc!' And Let Slip The Dogs Of War

Genres:

Action | Adventure | Drama | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 February 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cães de Guerra  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print) | (cut) (1988) (video release) | (cut) (1981) (cinema release)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Debut theatrical feature for director John Irvin. See more »

Goofs

The original Manville Gun was designed in 1935 by Charles Manville as a 12gauge multi-barrel shotgun (24 shot capacity). However, the XM-18 in DOW is based on an updated 1936 design as a 25mm grenade launcher with an 18 shot capacity (hence the "18" in XM-18). The movie version was still considerably more powerful than WWII era 25mm grenades were capable of. Unable to interest the military in his design, Manville's company stopped making the weapon. Ironically, in the early 1980's, the movie Dogs of War served to generate some interest from the military. Utilizing updated manufacturing processes and materials, the XM-18 type grenade launcher has actually seen some military service as a 25mm (18 shot) or 40mm (12 shot) grenade launcher. It is used by US Special Forces as well as some South American and African countries. With a range of between 150-350 meters, and with modern explosive technology, the 25mm grenade is fully capable of causing as much or more damage as was portrayed in the film. The 40mm grenade version uses the same projectile as is used in the Mk 19 grenade launcher which is widely used in the US Army. The current manufacturer is the Hawk Engineering Company who makes it under the designation MM-1. See more »

Quotes

Drew: [the mercenaries are caught in the middle of a fire fight] What happened to us just providing tactical and logistical support?
See more »

Connections

Edited into Stealth Fighter (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries
Sung by Gillian McPherson
Music by Geoffrey Burgon
Poem by A.E. Housman
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Perhaps A Difficult Novel To Adapt For Cinema
25 January 2005 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

The great thing about reading a Fredirick Forsyth novel is that you're educated while being entertained . He gives you facts and details on everything from modern jet fighters to Ukrainian history . The problem with this though is that the info tend to hold up the narrative which makes a Forsyth novel difficult to successfully translate to screen and to be honest the original THE DOGS OF WAR novel isn't really a book that will appeal to a cinema goer who's into no brain action shoot them ups . I can forgive this since I know what to expect from a Forsyth story but would Mr action fan ? I can just imagine a disappointed Arnie/Bruce/Sly fan slagging the movie off for having only two battle scenes , one at the start of the movie and one at the end , so let me point out that if you're expecting to see DIE HARD IN AFRICA it's maybe not you're kind of movie

If there's a problem with the movie it's mainly down to the structure of the novel with much of the running time taken up with planning the coup , getting the equipment , hiring the boat etc . I also noticed the dialogue was a bit iffy " Which one of your men do I kill to make way for mine ? " . Things like structure and dialogue don't matter too much on the written page but tend to leap out at you on the silver screen , but as many of the commentators on this page have pointed out it's an action film/political thriller with a brain . It's perhaps not as enjoyable as say THE DARK OF THE SUN or THE WILD GEESE but there's certainly entertainment to be had trying to spot the actor before they were a well known face


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