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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Did You Know?

Trivia

In a pub scene, they are drinking "Long Life" beer, which is now no longer produced. See more »

Goofs

The train announced as calling at Rugby, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Sheffield would have been running on the Great Central Railway. This closed to passengers in 1960, long before the time in which the film is set. It would anyway have departed from Marylebone Station rather than Liverpool Street. See more »

Quotes

Customs Officer: [finding two large bottles of whisky in Shannon's luggage] Do you have a drinking problem, Mr Brown?
Shannon: I thought there might be a problem with the water.
Customs Officer: [confiscating one of the bottles] There is.
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Alternate Versions

Although the cinema version was uncut the 1986 UK video was cut by 5 secs by the BBFC to remove shots of broken glass being forced into the mouth of Endean's man before being beaten up by Shannon. The 2001 MGM DVD restored the film to its original 119 minute UK length, which had additional character development, including an early scene of Shannon attending the baptism of a fellow mercenary's child, a bed scene between Shannon and Jessie, a scene of the raiding party being delayed by a closed drawbridge, Shannon pressuring Hackett to deliver the Valencia shipment, and extensive footage between Shannon and Lockhart where the latter persuades Spanish officials to allow the cargo on to the boat. 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
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User Reviews

 
Not for children
1 April 2004 | by nonconformistSee all my reviews

That is, not for those with child like tastes. If you require non-stop action ... move along. The characters are set up nicely and Walken is just too cool, I think it's his best performance. Most of his fans don't know about this movie but it's a gem. There are a few scenes I would have left on the cutting floor but they can be overlooked. There's a scene with his doctor that is worth watching the whole movie over. But there's plenty more. There's good dialog, nice scenery, some action and some characters you actually care about. This is not an assault on your senses; you will have to pay attention to enjoy it. But it will be worth your time. If you are a fan of Christopher Walken, then it will be well worth your time.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French

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
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Juniper Films See more »
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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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