6.3/10
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65 user 46 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 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:

The Dogs of War See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$5,484,132

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,484,132
See more on IMDbPro »

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
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Legendary international arms dealer Sam Cummings was the founder of International Armaments Corporation shortly after WWII. Cummings is mentioned in the book "The Dogs Of War" by Frederick Forsyth, on which this movie is based. However, these mercenaries don't have the money, or need the large quantities of arms, to try to do business with Cummings. He is way above their class. So in the book and the movie they have to skulk around doing business with small-time arms dealers, who are indeed a dangerous bunch. Interarms, as it was known, had the initials IAC. These initials appeared continuously on all of Interarms' packing tape. So a shipment from Interarms read IACIACIACIACIA, which obviously appears to be CIA over and over. This was intentional. See more »

Goofs

Although they are supposed to be receiving training in the use of the Uzi sub-machine gun, several of the mercenaries who run across the deck to fire at the floating target are armed with Ingram MAC-10's. See more »

Quotes

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

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

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

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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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