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The Stick (1988)

During the apartheid era in South Africa, a young naive soldier is assigned to a unit of racist white soldiers. After they annihilate a remote village led by a which doctor, the spirits of those they've killed target them.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Greg Latter ...
Sean Taylor ...
Frantz Dobrowsky ...
James Whyle ...
Nicky Rebelo ...
Frank Opperman ...
Winston Ntshona ...
The Witchdoctor
Dixon Malele ...
Mkhonto (as Dickson Malele)
Elsabe Zietsman ...
Concert Singer
Kerneels Coertzen ...
Platoon Captain
Floris de Clerq ...
Point Leader
Lucky Sishuba ...
Herd Boy
Theo Matsiesta ...
Herd Boy


A group of South African soldiers are sent out into the bush to find and destroy a rebel group that killed an earlier patrol. When they find a small village with all the men gone, the soldiers panic and slaughter the remaining villagers, including an old witch doctor. As the group tries to make their way back to camp, strange things begin happening to them. Are the enemy soldiers normal humans, or have they been cursed by the old shaman? Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

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Action | Horror | War


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Release Date:

15 June 1989 (Portugal)  »

Also Known As:

Platoon Warrior  »

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Did You Know?


The film has been banned in South Africa as of 1988. The producers refused to comply with the censors' demand for 48 cuts. This was the first South African film shown in the USSR when it was shown at the 1989 Moscow Film Festival. See more »


O'Grady: [sees the witchdoctor's skeleton] Miguel! Come and feast your eyes on this, china.
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Crazy Credits

"We used to wonder where war lived, what it was that made it so vile. And now we realize that we know where it lives, that it is inside ourselves." - Albert Camus See more »


Bad Boys
Lyrics by Janice Honeyman
Composed by Kevin Feather
Produced by Soltone Recording Studios
Performed by Elsabe Zietsman
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User Reviews

An attempt to capture the South African infantryman's experience of the war in Angola, The Stick is nearly there, but not quite.
1 September 2005 | by See all my reviews

Made at a time when South Africa was heavily embroiled in a big punch-up in Angola, The Stick was bound to incur the considerable wrath of the authorities. In fact, worse was yet to come (Cuito Cuanavale) but we didn't know it then. The Stick is often compared to Oliver Stone's Platoon but it is both a grittier and yet less satisfying portrait of men at war. It suffers greatly from having the players dressed in non-SADF uniforms, operating in an nameless African country, and yet it's obviously supposed to be the SADF in Angola. As a result the film is reduced to allegory and we are left with the situation that no film-maker (and few writers) have adequately explored the effects of the Angolan war and South Africa's long-winded role in it. But the performances are superb and accurate. The O'Grady character is typical of the sociopaths that one found in just about every SADF platoon, no matter which branch of service. The tension between the rank and file, and the underlying tension between the English-speaking and Afrikaans conscripts is finely pitched. As a record of the SADF experience, The Stick is pretty good. But, still, it could use a re-make.

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