6.3/10
7,033
59 user 41 critic

The Dogs of War (1980)

Mercenary James Shannon, on a reconnaissance job to the African nation of Zangaro, is tortured and deported. He returns to lead a coup.

Director:

John Irvin

Writers:

Gary DeVore (screenplay), George Malko (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Walken ... Jamie Shannon
Tom Berenger ... Drew
Colin Blakely ... North
Hugh Millais Hugh Millais ... Endean
Paul Freeman ... Derek
Jean-François Stévenin Jean-François Stévenin ... Michel (as Jean François Stevenin)
JoBeth Williams ... Jessie
Robert Urquhart ... Capt. Lockhart
Winston Ntshona ... Dr. Okoye
Pedro Armendáriz Jr. ... The Captain (as Pedro Armendariz Jr.)
Harlan Cary Poe Harlan Cary Poe ... Richard
Ed O'Neill ... Terry
Isabel Grandin Isabel Grandin ... Evelyn
Ernest Graves Ernest Graves ... Warner
Kelvin Thomas 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


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 February 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cães de Guerra See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Juniper Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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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 original Manville Gun was designed in 1935 by Charles Manville as a 12gauge multi-barrel shotgun (24 shot capacity). However, the XM-18 in DOW is based on an updated 1936 design as a 25mm grenade launcher with an 18 shot capacity (hence the "18" in XM-18). The movie version was still considerably more powerful than WWII era 25mm grenades were capable of. Unable to interest the military in his design, Manville's company stopped making the weapon. Ironically, in the early 1980's, the movie Dogs of War served to generate some interest from the military. Utilizing updated manufacturing processes and materials, the XM-18 type grenade launcher has actually seen some military service as a 25mm (18 shot) or 40mm (12 shot) grenade launcher. It is used by US Special Forces as well as some South American and African countries. With a range of between 150-350 meters, and with modern explosive technology, the 25mm grenade is fully capable of causing as much or more damage as was portrayed in the film. The 40mm grenade version uses the same projectile as is used in the Mk 19 grenade launcher which is widely used in the US Army. The current manufacturer is the Hawk Engineering Company who makes it under the designation MM-1. See more »

Quotes

Shannon: [to the other mercenaries] Remember; you have to make it home to get paid.
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Alternate Versions

There are several versions of this movie. In the UK a 118 min version was released, in the USA a version of 102 minutes. There are versions released in some countries that have a length in between those two. See more »

Connections

Featured in Ghost World (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

When It's Springtime in the Rockies
(uncredited)
Music by Robert Sauer
Lyrics by Maryhale Woolsey
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

One of my favorites.
2 September 2004 | by swojtakSee all my reviews

I liked it because it really showed the process of setting up this kind of operation. Usually movies just start and then jump to the action. This showed all the planning and what can go wrong. They make a big deal about the "end user certificate". This is used to show the government where weapons are going to end up. This can be avoided by getting a certificate showing the weapons are going to one place and then the weapons are diverted to another location. I loved the ending. The scene where Shannon and men are in the open shooting was something not done in real life but its point was, these men were in the glory. This is what they live for. They hate every day life. Tom Berrenger said his wife was pregnant and the thought of watching her just "get fat" was making him sick. This was the high point of their lives. It seemed for most of the men this was their last mission. Most people don't understand the mentality. These men know they will die sometime but want to go out in a "Blase of Glory"


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