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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

Technical and military advisor on the film was former real life mercenary Colonel "Mad" Mike Hoare, who had led a band of European ex-servicemen in mercenary campaigns in the Belgian Congo in the 1960s and 1970s. See more »

Goofs

During Fynn and Coetzee's first meeting in the pub, the volume of beer in their glasses increases and decreases between shots. See more »

Quotes

Lt. Shawn Fynn: That's the best news I've had since I threw up my breakfast.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Last of the Gentleman Producers (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Flight of the Wild Geese
Written and Performed by Joan Armatrading
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The White Man's Burden!,
4 February 2007 | by unreasonableboySee all my reviews

They don't make em like this anymore, it's certainly not 'Cannes'or 'Sun dance' film festival material. There is an all star cast with an assortment of fine British character actors in support, plenty of action and a laundry list of politically incorrect overtones. This certainly puts Wildgeese well up their as a relic of the past, I tell you it doesn't get any better than this! It's just another day at the office when they massacre a garrison of 250 Zimbas with cyanide gas and then finish the rest off with what could best be described as a "mass case of lead poisoning" while making good their escape. In addition there is the racist South African who has no problem calling blacks "Kaffers" and the medical orderly Witty who hilariously epitomizes the image of how gays were portrayed back in 1970's "ooh ducky"! Also, 'the white mans burden' attitude, Africans can't run their own show even after decolonisation i.e tribal rivalry, and when any of the Zimbas were shot they shook violently for a second while accompanied by a high pitch scream; you see --- white guys die quietly! Also, local native superstition about Limbani coming back from the dead! It's still a great action flick but today many people would have a fit if this type of movie was released today even if it was meant to be from a 1960's perspective. I noted that the infamous and well known mercenary "Mad Mike" Hore was technical adviser to the film which would consequently make this type of film even more loathed today.

Some have commented on the fact that the cast were all too long in the tooth to be taken seriously as mercenaries, but ironically the film does not hide the fact that this was a last hurrah for some of the aging former soldiers. In addition back in the 1960's and 70's many mercenaries were recruited from the ranks of the unemployed or were former soldiers who after being de-mobbed found life in civy-street difficult. Many were former cooks and mechanics who often lacked the training the equipment as well as finding that their pay was often slow in coming.

***Spoilers*** Wildgeese starts off with the romantic notion of being a Soldier of fortune as they complete their mission easily. However things start to unravel when they are double crossed by that scoundrel Matheson , then they really had to work hard for their $7000, subsequently very few of them make it back. The film keeps faith with the good guys always win in the end as "Sir Edward" learns the hard way that he double crossed the wrong man because the ever resourceful Faulkner eventually turns the tables on him; Matheson comes off second best in the confrontation in the study


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