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The Wild Geese (30th Anniversary Edition)

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Richard Burton, Roger Moore, Richard Harris. A band of mercenaries struggle to rescue a virtuous leader imprisoned and scheduled for execution by a ruthless African dictator. 1978/color/135 min/R/widescreen.

Mixing action, humor, sentiment, and even a few righteous moral convictions, The Wild Geese is good, rousing fun. Released theatrically in 1978 (oddly, this 2005 DVD release is referred to as the "30th Anniversary Edition"), director Andrew V. McLaglen’s film depicts the adventures of a group of British mercenaries hired by a shady multinational corporation to free the benevolent leader of an African nation held captive by a ruthless dictator. Led by the caustic, no-nonsense Col. Allen Faulkner (Richard Burton), these soldiers of fortune are all stout fellows out to earn a big payday and restore a good man to his rightful place of power (the underlying message of universal racial brotherhood is effective, if somewhat simplistic), and they do their job swiftly and efficiently... at least until they're double-crossed by their venal, perfidious employers, at which point the film becomes a tale of survival and revenge. The cast, which also includes Richard Harris, Roger Moore, and a host of other fine veteran actors, is first-rate, the story-telling efficient, the dialogue entertaining (with occasional bursts of profanity), and the action reasonably exciting and not overly graphic. And even if the pace is somewhat leisurely by new millennium standards (we're nearly an hour into it before the actual mission starts), The Wild Geese is a very enjoyable ride. Bonus features include a profile of producer Euan Lloyd and commentary by Lloyd, Moore, and journalist Jonathan Sothcott. --Sam Graham

Special Features

  • Remastered to Full Glory
  • "Last of the Gentleman Producers" Documentary
  • Stars War: The Making of The Wild Geese
  • Audio Commentary with Sir Roger Moore
  • Charity Premiere Newsreel
  • Original Radio Spots
  • Stills Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailers

Product Details

  • Actors: Richard Burton, Sir Roger Moore, Richard Harris, Hardy Kruger
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Tango Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 27, 2005
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (198 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009UVCQW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,558 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Wild Geese (30th Anniversary Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

165 of 171 people found the following review helpful By P. Ferrigno on November 20, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
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.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Critic-at-Arms on January 6, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
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.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By J. Remington on June 7, 2006
Format: DVD
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.
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