kidnapped, deposed president
of a troubled African country is
announced dead, but a British
industrialist protecting his business
interests discovers it is not so and
hires a team of crack mercenaries,
codenamed The Wild Geese, to
rescue the president from the remote
and hostile wilderness where he is
THREE VERY DIFFERENT MEN with a deep friendship going back to the years when
they were mercenaries together are just about to meet again. Colonel Alan Faulkner
(Richard Burton: Where Eagles Dare; Cleopatra) is approached by the wealthy
Sir Edward Matherson (Stewart Granger) to put together an army to go into darkest
Africa to rescue former political leader President Limbani (Winston Ntshona).
Limbani has been deposed as head of state of Zembala by one of the most corrupt
dictators in Africa and, although it has been announced that he is dead, he
is actually being held prisoner in a heavily-guarded barracks. Sir Edward has
business interests in Africa and having heard that Limbani is very much alive
is willing to pay a great deal of money to get the president out safely.
A fantastically well-
that just keeps you
watching to the
Faulkner is a tough, seasoned leader who is determined that his old friends
Captain Rafer Janders (Richard Harris: Gladiator; Unforgiven),
who has at last found some sort of peace in which to bring up his young son
Emile (delightfully played by Paul Spurrier), and ladies' man Lt Shawn Fynn
(Roger Moore), who has incurred the wrath of the Mafia should
Sir Edward's aide Balfour (Barry Foster) introduces them to Rushton (Patrick
Allen), a military adviser from a government department who will give the okay
to the mission; and Faulkner sets about finding the right men for the job.
He contacts Sandy Young (Jack Watson), whom he knows and trusts, to be his Regimental
Sergeant Major, knowing he will knock the men into shape and not give an inch,
even to Faulkner, Janders and Fynn. Although his wife Marjorie (Jane Hylton)
does not want him to go, Sandy is adamant he will be with his old friend on
this dangerous mission.
Next comes South African Lt Pieter Coetzee (Hardy Kruger), who hates the African
natives but does not really want to kill them. The fifty men necessary to go
to Zembala are quickly found and the operation has been brought forward three
weeks a bitter disappointment to Janders as he had planned on
taking his son skiing in Switzerland at Christmas and will have to let him down.
The men expect their mission to be relatively simple, even though they are outnumbered
by the 200 men in the barracks. But these highly-trained 'Wild Geese' will use
everything at their disposal to complete their mission having
to deal with Limbani's heart condition that seems to be getting worse and a
double-cross that cost them dearly.
Sinister forces in the corridors of power have done a deal with the corrupt
government, leaving the mercenaries stranded as they watch their only means
of escape disappear out of sight. Realising Sir Edward sees them as expendable,
they are forced to battle across a treacherous terrain, pursued every inch of
the way by the dictator's ruthless elite guard who will stop at nothing to wipe
The course of events has been changed, setting off a terrible violence from
which not everyone will return that is, even if the survivors
can find their way out of Africa.
The film is beautifully shot, opening with Concorde flying in to the UK and
later there is a brilliant scene as the mercenaries skydive into Africa. The
wonderful acting heavyweights Richard Burton, Richard Harris and Roger Moore
star in The Wild Geese, a fantastically well-paced adventure that never
lets up and keeps you watching to the closing credits.
The prisoner may be a man with noble visions of racial reform but Sir Edward,
who is financing the mission, is only worried about his business interests and
therefore is careless of loss of life. Clever characterisation and well cast,
the movie is filmed on location in the Messina Border Region and Tshipise, Northern
The Wild Geese also features: Frank Finlay as The Priest; The wonderful
character actor Kenneth Griffith as Witty; Ronald Fraser as Jock; John Kani
as Sgt Jesse; Ian Yule as Tosh; Rosalind Lloyd as Heather; David Ladd as Sonny;
Jeff Corey as Martin; Thomas Baptiste as Colonel Mboya; and Glyn Baker as Esposito.
A high-octane thrill ride, The Wild Geese is directed by veteran action and
western director Andrew V McLaglen (The Sea Wolves; Chisum) and edited
by John Glen (the director of the Bond movies For Your Eyes Only; Octopussy;
A View To A Kill; The Living Daylights; Licence to Kill); Casting Director
is Rose Tobias Shaw; Military & Technical Adviser Col Mike Hoare; Photographed
by Jack Hildyard, BSC; Music by Roy Budd; Screenplay by Reginald Rose based
on the novel The Wild Geese by Daniel Carney; and Produced by Euan Lloyd.
The song Flight of the Wild Geese is Written and Performed by the great
Joan Armatrading; and Sonny's Theme Dance Of Death is Written and Performed
by Jerry and Marc Donahue
* British film legends Richard Burton, Roger
Moore and Richard Harris head up a magnificent all-star cast in the much-revered,
all-action adventure film The wild Geese, released by Arrow Video on
Blu-ray for the first time on 8 October 2012. Blu-ray RRP £19.99) | Running
Time: 109 Minutes.
Special Features Include: High Definition Presentation of the main feature
| Audio commentary with Roger Moore, Producer Euan Lloyd and Second Unit Director
John Glen | World Premiere Newsreel Footage | Original Trailer | Bonus Feature
Film: Code Name Wild Geese, starring Lewis Collins, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine
and Klaus Kinski, directed by Antonio Marheriti, aka Anthony M Dawson | Reversible
sleeve with original poster and newly commissioned artwork cover | Collector's
booklet featuring brand new writing on both films by Ali Catterall, co-author
of Your Face Here: British Cult Movies Since The Sixties and writer James Blackford
as well as a biography of producer Euan Lloyd; Illustrated with original artwork.
"The Wild Geese [is] a fantastically well-paced adventure that just keeps
you watching to the closing credits"
Maggie Woods, MotorBar