Jean W. from JORDANVILLE, NY Reviewed on 1/22/2011...
With such great old actors, how can Wild Geese miss? This has been one of my favorite movies for many years, and no matter how many times watched, never disappoints. A classic.
Joven Q. Reviewed on 8/10/2009...
One of the best !
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Edward C. (real911) from WITTMANN, AZ Reviewed on 8/9/2009...
This is a really neat movie based on a true story. The interesting thing that I did not know, was that Michael Hoare was the technical advisor. Mike Hoare was the original Mercenary Commander in the mid to late 60's Congo uprising. That said it is probably as technically correct as can be for the time. Burton is of course classic Burton. Worth the viewing!!
Enough action and adventure for ten mercenary movies !!
P. Ferrigno | Melbourne, Victoria Australia | 11/21/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Let's be honest....this movie is basically a "Boys Own" action adventure straight out of the fertile imagination of a 16 year old English schoolboy....but, gee it's so much fun to watch !!
According to producer Euan Lloyd, who had worked on the star spangled war film "The Guns Of Navarone" (penned by novelist Alistair McLean), Lloyd was seeking out a similar tale featuring several strong male leads that he could turn into an international blockbuster. An acquaintance of Lloyd working in in Rhodesia in the mid 1960's, met up with then unpublished novelist Daniel Carney, and heard about his manuscript concerning mercenaries seeking to rescue an imprisoned president from a military prison. Lloyd leapt at securing the rights for the intense manuscript, got Carney a publishing deal for his book, and set about getting the story onto the screen.
( The name "the wild geese" is taken from a literary term applied to Irish mercenaries initially operating during the late 17th century )
Lloyd secured his four strong male leads (Burton, Harris, Moore & Kruger) and the casting is as follows...Richard Burton plays ageing mercenary leader, Col. Alan Faulkner recruited by the unscrupulous, money hungry banker Sir Edward Matherson (Stewart Granger at his evil best) to rescue an imprisoned African leader, Julius Limbani (Winston Ntshona), from local terrorists. Limbani is a key figure in African politics and at stake are copper mine concessions worth millions. Burton recruits old war buddy Rafer Janders (Richard Harris), pilot extraordinaire Shawn Fynn (Roger Moore) ex-South African mercenary Peter Coetzee (Hardy Kruger), and 'tough as nails' Regimental Sergeant Major Sandy Young (Jack Watson) and most of their old war comrades for one last crusade for truth, justice and a very large paycheck !
The plan is simple enough...parachute 50 men in at night, steal Limbani from his captors, and rendevous for a pick up. However, events go horribly wrong and soon the mercenary group are running for their lives, outgunned and outmanned by the brutal, machete wielding Simba guards.
Carney's original manuscript was loosely inspired by Colonel "Mad Mike" Hoare's mercenary crew "5 Commando", and their incredible adventures controlling tribal violence and rescuing Westerners in the Belgian Congo during the early 1960's....(you can buy Mike Hoare's thrilling books right here on Amazon.)...and Hoare actually consulted as the military/technical advisor for the film !. "The Wild Geese" never lets up once the action gets going and is full of gritty firefights and never say die heroics. Additionaly, the film is full of witty dialogue, guaranteed to make you smirk, such as when RSM Sandy Young addresses the massed troops on the parade ground for the first time "Some of you know me already. Those of you who don't are in for a great big f**king surprise". Or when the fiery Irish priest Father Geoghagen calls out to the mercenaries "Good luck to you godless murderer's", to which Roger Moore drolly replies "That's as moving a benediction as I've ever heard".
Finally, "The Wild Geese" is out on DVD in Region 1, with a remastered print in Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, two accompanying featurettes on the making of the film, plus a documentary on producer Euan Lloyd. Another highlight is the audio commentary from producer Euan Lloyd, second unit director John Glen, journalist Jonathon Sothcott and "Wild Geese" lead actor Sir Roger Moore, and a newsreel from the original UK charity premiere. ( Although, it bugs me that this edition is released as a 30th Anniversary Edition, however the true 30th Anniversary of the film is not until 2008 ! ) Never mind, "The Wild Geese" is highly recommended viewing !"
One to wait for!
Critic-at-Arms | Salt Lake City, UT | 01/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is THE "mercenary movie," from the book by David Carney (which sold like coldcakes). Inspired by true events, and featuring locations in southern Africa, the film featured technical advice by members of the original "Wild Geese" who fought against Congolese rebels in the early 1960s.The story is rooted in the rumor that Moise Tshombe had not been killed following the uprising, but instead kept alive as a political pawn.In Carney's story, African leader Julius Limbani was reported to have been killed by the Idi-Amin-style strongman who ousted him, but instead was "put on ice" in another country. This other country then realizes the leverage they hold, as the specter of a "resurrected" Limbani would destroy the usurper's government. The strongman then decides to bring Limbani back for execution.Meanwhile, a British banker has hired mercenary Colonel Alan Faulkner (Sir Richard Burton) to rescue Limbani, to get mining concessions in his country. Faulkner, an "out of work drunk," then gathers his former officers, Sean Finn (Roger Moore) and Rafer Janders (Richard Harris) and some of his old unit together to do the job. Finn then recruits a former South African ranger (Hardy Kruger) who is vital to the plan's success, but not pleased with the mission -- he is only there so that he can get back home from England ("You don't realize this is an island, until you try to get off of it!").The problem with being paid to risk your life, though, is that the people paying you only see you as an expendable asset . . .This film was so much fun to make that most of the same crew got together again to do "The Sea Wolves," about the last battle of the Calcutta Light Horse in WWII, which is also on the Recommended List."
Classis bush war movie
W. DU PREEZ | Port Elizabeth, South Africa | 01/15/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Wild Geese is an excellent war movie, with Burton, Moore and Harris at their best. It is set in the bush war of the seventies in the former Rhodesia in Southern Africa (NOT SOUTH AFRICA as the other reviewers thought - there is a huge difference. It's like saying Mexico and the USA are the same place!)Anyway, it's an interessting,action packed look at the bush war in and the mercenaries involved and a must have for any serious collector of classic movies."
It's the BEST WAR drama
Tiwalade OBISESAN | Pensacola, Florida USA | 12/01/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The WILD GEESE demonstrated, unequivocally, that Officers are indeed GENTLEMEN. These men (Richard Burton, Roger Moore, Richard Harris, Hardy Krooger, etc,) are extra-ordinary mercenaries, they have scruple. These bunch would not do just anything for money, they are on the side of good, and goodness saw them through all the dangers they faced in the jungle of South Africa when they were abandoned. It is not just a war about killing, but of killing evil dead in all its forms. There are many real life issues that touched the heart, and are so very well dramatized that every scene arrests a viewers attention. This movie has every emotion in it, humour, actions,espirit de corps, sorrow, losses, recovery of humanity and new understandings, etc. It started with Roger Moore refusing to be a cocaine pusher, to Richard Harris failing to fulfill his promises of a wonderful Christmas holiday to his only son because of a heart wrenching tragic event, to Hardy Krooger (a black hating South African)finding a new understanding of humanity and friendship in the black president Limbani they went to rescue. It ended by paying treachery in its own coin. Just when the doer proclaimed peace a sudden distruction landed on him. A clear lesson for discerning minds. It is a movie I have watched over and again many years ago, and still long to see it again. BRING IT OUT AGAIN, and "Shout at the Devil".Many would love it for Christmas. I am hoping it would come out in DVD version suitable for the USA viewers."
For what it is- excellent "He-Man" entertainment- can't be b
J. Remington | Adams, Oregon USA | 06/07/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Made in 1978 and based on Daniel Carney's cynical and rather bleak novel, this film stands as one of the 1970's great unsung action adventure films.
Concerning a small band of mercenary brothers attempting to rescue an African leader, THE WILD GEESE was all but unseen in the states until the advent of home video where it gained a well deserved and loyal cult following amoung action adventure aficionados.
The film isn't perfect by any stretch. The dialouge, written by Reginald Rose is often laughably cliched. Director Andrew V McLaglen doesn't really know how to stage dialouge scenes and the result is some very stilted moments. Some of the minor parts are filled with grossly incompetent actors. There are obvious "sacrificial lamb" telegraphing plot points. The film also doesn't really know what tone it wishes to set- is it a straight up adventure in the vein of GUNGA DIN or does it want to be taken seriously (several clumsy attempts at humour hint at parody)as a political tome? Does it overly romanticize the mercenary profession? It does often come off as a "boy's own" comic book.
But the film boasts several fine points. At the core of the film is a very progressive (for 1977 when the film was shot) message slamming apartheid as well as hinting that pure pan-Africanism isn't the answer alone either. The film was indeed shot in South Africa using many black cast and crew members (hired from South Africa!)and therefore possesses superb location work as well as local flavor not found on a back lot. The action is swift, well staged, brutal and plentiful, due in no small part to the excellent contributions of technical advising of real-life mercenaries.
Leading actors Burton, Harris, Kruger and even Moore deliver fine performances. Supporting cast members Jack Watson, Ronald Fraser and Kenneth Griffith as well as Winston Ntshona deliver fascinating character studies (I only wish the dialouge was stronger). It is obvious that the actors did have a rollicking time making the film as the film resounds with sheer machismo that literally bolts off the screen. These actors do indeed share a rare chemsitry.
The film withstands multiple viewings as it is extremely well-paced (due to the superb editing of John Glen)and, as noted before- the main cast is constructed of fascinating personalities. I saw it during its initial release and still love to view it at least once a year-sometimes two or three.
Now that it is finally released on DVD here in the States, THE WILD GEESE is a must own for any serious action adventure fan.