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 overview, first billed only:
Hugh Millais ...
Jean-François Stévenin ...
Michel (as Jean François Stevenin)
Robert Urquhart ...
Capt. Lockhart
Winston Ntshona ...
Dr. Okoye
The Captain (as Pedro Armendariz Jr.)
Harlan Cary Poe ...
Isabel Grandin ...
Ernest Graves ...
Kelvin Thomas ...
The Black Boy


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


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


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

13 February 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cães de Guerra  »

Filming Locations:


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Technical Specs


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

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The "XM-18" grenade launcher used in the movie is a real life weapon. It is called the Manville Gun. It was named after its inventor, Charles Manville, who designed the gun in 1935. See more »


The scene at the railway station is set at London's Liverpool Street, made obvious by the Great Eastern Hotel prominently in the background. However, the station announcement says the train is for Rugby, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Sheffield. Trains do not go from Liverpool Street station to these destinations and did not at the time the film was set. A likelier station for such departure would have been St Pancras. See more »


Col. Bobi: [of his troops] They'll die for Zangaro!
Shannon: Be more help to me if they fight.
Col. Bobi: If there is one who doesn't, I'll take his head and mount it on the palace gates.
Shannon: You and your brother both have the same easy way of doing business.
Col. Bobi: Olu Kimba did not do business. So now Secu Bobi will be president. He wants to be God... I want to be RICH!
See more »


Referenced in Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff (2010) See more »


When It's Springtime in the Rockies
Music by Robert Sauer
Lyrics by Maryhale Woolsey
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User Reviews

Good detailed film, though faulted in its battle scenes
6 March 2000 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

The entire beginning and middle of the film are utterly engrossing. It was a nice change to see a film that showed the amount of planning and attention to detail and contingency plans that goes into preparing a military operation, even a quick raid like the one planned here. The final raid however is a disappointment though, especially because of the realistic and detailed nature of the film to that point. These are serious professional mercenaries in a gritty realistic film and in the final battle, logic and realism go out the window as these "professionals" walk slowly in the open firing from the hip like they were in a Rambo film. Had they fought like that in real life, they'd have all been killed in the first few seconds. I don't think the director understood the nature of combat and that's too bad because otherwise, this film is a gem.

7 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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