Wild Geese

6.82 h 14 min201218+
Screen legends Richard Burton, Roger Moore and Richard Harris star as a team of aging mercenaries hired by a wealthy industrialist for one final mission: Recruit and train a squad of desperate commandos, parachute into an unstable African nation, snatch its deposed President from a maximum security army prison, escape via the military-controlled airport, and massacre anyone who gets in their way.
Andrew V. McLaglen
Richard BurtonRoger MooreRichard Harris
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Alcohol usefoul languagenuditysexual contentsmokingsubstance useviolence
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4.6 out of 5 stars

1356 global ratings

  1. 78% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 10% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 6% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 3% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

joel wingReviewed in the United States on December 17, 2019
2.0 out of 5 stars
Bad producing and directing undermines critique of mercs and racism in Africa
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The Wild Geese was one of those big star war films that were so popular from the 50s-70s. It features Richard Burton, Roger Moore, Richard Harris and Hardy Kruger as a group of mercenaries who are hired by a British businessman Sir Edward Matheson (Stewart Granger) to rescue an imprisoned and deposed president Julius Limbani (Winston Ntshona) in the fictional country of Zembala to protect Matheson’s copper interests. It suffered from poor action and poor acting.

While the story would seem like it glorifies the mercenary there were questions about the trade as well. In one scene Kruger gives a monologue about how immoral their endeavor is. Then of course they are dealing with the greed of Matheson who simply wants to use them. Finally, they run into a priest in a Zembala village who calls them murdering bastards and if left to their own devices would start a civil war that would leave the people’s lives devastated.

The film however is fatally flawed. First, the action is badly planned and choreographed. For instance, there’s a scene where the mercs get attacked on a bridge by an airplane. They stay in trucks while the plane strafes them instead of running for cover and then when some of the vehicles get blown up they make it like one part of the team can’t travel to the other side of the bridge when all they would have to do is walk across a dried river bed. Second, the film also tries to throw in some politics as Lambani talks with Kruger who plays a South African about race relations in Africa. After one speech by Lambani Kruger is ready to change his tune. Completely unbelievable.

Wild Geese tried to capture the excitement of previous war films while criticizing mercenaries and throwing in some messaging about the racism then going on in Africa. The producing and directing was so bad however all that is lost.
20 people found this helpful
Charles van BurenReviewed in the United States on February 5, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great movie with a strong cast
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A fine movie with the fictional President Julius Limbani being a thinly disguised Moise Tshombe, a real life African leader who some believe could have put the Congo on a path to real freedom and prosperity. The movie is based on a Daniel Carney novel, The Thin White Line, latter published as The Wild Geese. The idea for the book is said to have come from the rumours and speculation following the 1968 landing of a mysterious airplane in Rhodesia, which was said to have been loaded with mercenaries and "an African president" believed to have been a dying Moïse Tshombe.

A great action movie with a strong cast and director. Despite the subject matter and the politics of the day, the movie avoids political correctness and shows a little of why both Africans and some mercenaries were willing to fight forTshombe. I have always wondered if he could have really made a difference in the history of post colonial Africa.

I streamed this movie via Amazon Prime so can not comment on any dvd's or blu ray's.
16 people found this helpful
The Huntington Book DepositoryReviewed in the United States on July 16, 2020
3.0 out of 5 stars
Dogs of War was the superior movie in this genre
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This film is fine, hence the 3 star rating, but it's a star driven flick where it seems like a lot of the stars are cashing a paycheck rather than really getting into the role. A fine popcorn movie for a slow evening, but not a timeless classic you really feel the need to dust off periodically when you want a nostalgia trip.

To me, if you want a great movie in the same genre - small team of white mercenaries operating in fictional African country, shadowy corporations in the background, coups, gun battles, explosions, etc. - The Dogs of War with Christopher Walken and Tom Berenger was by far the superior movie. Better plot, better use of the actors, better battles. So if you really like this one it's worth checking that movie out as well, or better yet read the Forsyth novel!
7 people found this helpful
TownsendsReviewed in the United States on August 30, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great "Caper/Buddy/Political" drama.
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I remember seeing this movie in my college days on HBO (back in those days it would have been a "new" release.

I've read a good many of the reviews, many of them recent. W/R/T the acting there is room for argument, the editing and overall screenplay are excellent however. But, where the movie shines is in its attempt to address racism and oligarchical society.

By today's standards it' seems weak and half-hearted. In 1978 (I was 18, schools in my home town were desegregated in 1969) it made quite a statement. Overall, the entertainment press ignored it but, as you can see by the ratings it has a great cult (read morally decent) following.

Watch it. It has stuck with me for 42 years.
4 people found this helpful
Inquiring MindsReviewed in the United States on March 20, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Standard fare usual quality performance turned in by Richard B as expected...
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Has all the right stuff to keep your attention so you don't drift off into la la land. Plot seems a little feasible and implementation of action (battle) plan falls right in line with cast of characters. Just be on look out for all the bodies falling by the way - you aren't sure anybody survives to see the credits at the end. Script was carried out best they could in light of short duration of screen time for all except the two (or three) main male roles. Of course you know (or can guess) who that might be. Special effects helped keep the non gun play action moving right along. It was one of those flicks which you might enjoy watching a second time instead of all the current news.
2 people found this helpful
courier72Reviewed in the United States on January 24, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Love this film, always have... Be warned the pitch is off on Amazon Video's copy. Prob from a 25fps source.
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My problem won't take away from the rating, but may make me actually buy a disc vs. what's available online via Amazon Video. The source for Amazon Video's streaming copy must be PAL sources. The audio pitch is too high. This was a theatrical film, I know good and well it should be 24fps, and my ancient VHS copy has the correct pitch, along with some soundtrack cuts I have. They match the pitch of my old videotape. Wish better care would be taken on sourcing films from masters that run at the correct framerate and pitch.
13 people found this helpful
trebuchetReviewed in the United States on August 26, 2020
3.0 out of 5 stars
Good Cast Making The Best Of A Formula Film
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I think if the film spent more time on the training sequences (which were brilliant) and the political intrigue, this would have rated much higher with me. As it is, the big three - Richard Burton, Roger Moore, and Richard Harris - and the good supporting cast of character actors do a fine job with what they've got. The film would have made more of an impact if the filmmakers had spent more time taking us through the politics and how that reflects on society as a whole in how we treat our war veterans and others who are tasked to do dirty jobs so that the rest of us can feel safe. If your only take away is that the film is ambiguous about racism in Africa, then I don't know what to tell you other than to somehow escape your tunnel vision regarding the world and learn to appreciate how complex the human condition really is (and always has been).
Vince L. FalconeReviewed in the United States on March 25, 2012
5.0 out of 5 stars
The Wild Geese
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A great cast was assembled here for this film: Richard Burton, Roger Moore, and Richard Harris certainly have all done better movies in their day, but it was their skills which made The Wild Geese enjoyable. Of the three, I think Harris comes off as the most sympathetic character; as his role is certainly the most fleshed out, his scenes with his young son are very poignant; and his talk with Faulkner (Burton) expressing his concerns the night before the mission show his fears and worries as not only a person, but as a father.

Richard Burton's Falkner is a mercenary who is being offered a contract by millionaire industrialist Stewart Granger. He must assemble, train and equip a group of mercenaries to rescue Julius Limbani (Winston Ntshona), a peaceful, well-loved African leader who has been deposed in a military coup. Burton does the job, but when the job is finished he and his mercenaries find getting out of Africa a whole lot more than they bargained for.

Roger Moore's Sean Finn is an enjoyable rogue, and adds a touch of humour to offset Burton's tough-guy leader role and Harris' over-thinking planner with a fondness for the 'underdog'.

Of course action adventure is old hat for Roger Moore. He was in his prime as James Bond when The Wild Geese was done. But Moore shows he can be quite serious here. None of the tongue in cheek deadpan that characterizes a Bond film.

The scenes dealing with the recruiting and training of the mercenaries come straight out of John Ford. So are the various types among the soldiers. Even the ones with the smallest of speaking parts are done so well, you can almost imagine their history with the unit as well as what they are like as men, as soldiers, as comrades.

I really enjoyed Kenneth Griffith's portrayal of the openly gay Medical Orderly Arthur Witty. Yes he's certainly stereotypical, but the point is he's accepted by the men who really don't care about his sexual orientation when in a fight and the going gets rough. Additionally, he turns out to be quite the John Wayne - badd-ass type hero in the end when confronted by the Zimbas and is alone covering his comrades escape.

The Wild Geese turned out to be very popular in its day, and Burton was going to do a sequel: Wild Geese II when he died in 1983. It might have been an interesting film had he done it since it would have paired him with Sir Laurence Olivier in that one.

In the end The Wild Geese is a great action/adventure film to be certain, but it's also about something much more - its about loyalty, tradition, and camaraderie. These men may fight for money, but they are fanatically loyal to the unit created and to each other.

As a final note worth mentioning, Joan Armatrading's title song: The Flight of the Wild Geese, is a great piece of work. Her lyrics are poignant, and the music is moving. When paired visually with the opening credits, it creates quite a stir of emotions, and the soundtrack to this movie is well worth the cost if you can find it.
9 people found this helpful
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