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The Dogs of War (1980)

6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 5,672 users  
Reviews: 49 user | 37 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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(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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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
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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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tom Berenger once nicknamed the XM18 grenade launcher weapon as "The Mean Machine". See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Shannon: In my jungle, you'd be just another asshole.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Directors: The Films of Norman Jewison (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

 
Existential mercenaries go to war for war's sake. One of best of breed.
13 November 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Lean, pared down to action, efficiently told story of a mercenary band with a code of honor worthy of Hemingway's life maxim "grace under pressure." Walken's performance is truly riveting, simply acting the truth without embellishment, this is professional soldier whose purpose --- loyalty to his fellow soldiers and dedication to his task --- is clean and spare: get in, win, get out, come home has been rarely topped in movies. A modern day samurai with fatalistic existential details all pass with utter credibility and uncluttered and unremarked on. Chillingly well told. Once it grips you, you will not be released until the end credits. Cuts to the bone. Jack Cardiff's cinematography is a textbook of low budget, maximum effect visuals. Walken seems skinned by combat; you never doubt this is a peak experience for him, there are no alternatives.


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