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The Wild Geese (1978)

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

Director:

Andrew V. McLaglen

Writers:

Reginald Rose (screenplay), Daniel Carney (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Burton ... Colonel Allen Faulkner
Roger Moore ... Lt. Shawn Fynn
Richard Harris ... Capt. Rafer Janders
Hardy Krüger ... Lt. Pieter Coetzee (as Hardy Kruger)
Stewart Granger ... Sir Edward Matherson
Winston Ntshona ... President Julius Limbani
John Kani ... Sgt. Jesse Link
Jack Watson ... R.S.M. Sandy Young
Frank Finlay ... Father Geoghagen
Kenneth Griffith Kenneth Griffith ... Arthur Witty
Barry Foster ... Thomas Balfour
Ronald Fraser ... 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

Plot Keywords:

bird | fowl | value | operative | troop | See All (173) »

Taglines:

The Dogs of War. The Best Damn Mercenaries in the Business! See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Switzerland | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 November 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Los gansos salvajes See more »

Filming Locations:

Tshipise, Limpopo, South Africa See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,423,104, 31 December 1978
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (London premiere print)| Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Of all the extras and actors that were present on the set, there were few that had actual military training and experience of real warfare. One of those was Hardy Krüger, who played the character of "Pieter Coetze". Kruger was born in 1928, in Germany, and he was drafted into the German Army in late 1944. In March 1945, he saw action against U.S. forces in the 38th SS Division "Nibelungen". During these late-war engagements, he was captured by U.S. troops. See more »

Goofs

Hardy Kruger's character says that his crossbow will send a bolt right through a man at a hundred and twenty yards, yet when he shoots the sentries from a much closer range, the bolts only penetrate a few inches. Also, if the crossbow was that powerful, he wouldn't be able to cock it by hand, which he does easily. See more »

Quotes

Sir Edward Matherson: [laughing] Well, then I suppose you'd better kill me.
Faulkner: You're a remarkable man too, Sir Edward. So I suppose I better had.
See more »

Connections

Followed by Wild Geese II (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Sammy's Theme
"Dance of Death"
Written and Performed by Jerry Donahue & Marc Donahue (as Jerry and Marc Donahue)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Awesome Mercinary Adventure Film
19 June 2006 | by sexytailSee all my reviews

I discovered this film when I was like 14 because I was obsessed with the Bond movies, after watching "The Wild Geese" I developed another obsession. No film is for everyone, but this one has a lot to love, especially for fans of the genre and the cast.

Richard Burton plays Allen Faulkner, an aged British mercenary hired by a multinational company to lead a team into Africa and rescue the president of a war-torn nation to serve their purposes. It sounds like simple action fluff. It isn't. All the men Faulkner brings along, many of whom are members of his old crew, have families they might not see again. The biggest focus of these is Richard Harris (in a great performance) as Capt. Janders who is the single parent to his son Amiel. There's also the complications that ensue when their mission changes purposes midway through. Most importantly is that this film is scripted by Reginald Rose, who gave us "Twelve Angry Men".

Also featured are Roger Moore and Hardy Kruger. Moore is the one I watched the film for, and gives a typical Moore performance. Krugar, however, is given the more interesting character. Like the rest, he's an aging mercenary, unlike the rest he's South African and prejudiced against black people. The man they rescue, Julius Limbani (Winston Ntshona) is black and Kruger's character must either save a man he sees as less than human or come to grips with his racism.

Andrew V. McLaglen is not what I'd call a great director, but he does fine here. He keeps a good pace that balances the action and drama. A few of his decisions are a might distracting, but I think this is more a reflection of mainstream cinema at the time than one filmmaker's failings. This movie is still a gift to adventure fans and it asks the right questions.

The sequel, made after Burton's death, is a different thing altogether. If ever you see "The Wild Geese 2", don't expect what you got here.


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