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on March 3, 2014
When an American National ,Eden Pedecaris (Candice Bergen) is kidnapped in Morocco it sparks an international crisis. She is grabbed by Mulai Ahmed er Raisuli, Ruler of the Rift,(Sean Connery) who is the commander of a band of Berber insurrectionists who cuts a dashing figure dressed all in black on a black horse. He is opposed to the young Sultan Abdelaziz and his uncle, the Raisuli's brother, the Bashaw (Pasha) of Tangier, whom Raisuli considers as corrupt and beholden [ruled by] to the Europeans, France, Germany and Britain-and to show Morocco is powerless. Naturally Teddy Roosevelt (Brian Keith) is outraged, especially politically as he is campaigning for president, and needs an issue. But there is a poker game atmosphere between the two: Raisuli to Mrs Pedecaris, " what kind of gun does he use?" in answer "a Winchester." Roosevelt asks the same, but corrects somebody who calls the Moroccan a Arab, "he's a Berber." He is constantly badgered by his Sec. of State, John Hay (John Huston.)
Roosevelt sends the South Atlantic Fleet under Admiral French and they lay at anchor at dockside. Things go no where. Finally Consul Gunmere (Geoffrey Lewis), and Admiral French listen to a plan by a brash young Marine Captain Jerome (Steve Kanaly)-to hell with the Europeans-let's capture the Bashaw.
The next sequence of events are the best and most exciting of the movie. You see platoons of marines and sailors at attention, then, "fix bayonets, right face, (finally) double time march." All you see is a column of men in blue, holding rifles at port arms and at a fast in unison lock step. In sight of the Bashaw's palace you hear "quick time, March." As soon as they are within 50 yards of the palace, Captain Jerome spreads them out and has has several ranks kneel. With the palace guards completely lost looking at the Americans then at each other you hear "fire!" What guards? Then "charge!" The place is completely over run but the Bashaw never stops eating, even when a dead body falls on him, he just pushes it off. Captain Jerome walks up to him, points his sword and says, "you sir are my prisoner" then puts his sword back in the scabbard. The Bashaw says, "you are a dangerous man and your president Roosevelt a madman." The captain comes to attention, salutes and says, "yes sir."
That is a mere sketch of a truly great movie that is a wonderful tale. Its well over two hours and you love every bit, a true classic. Pick it up, its well worth the price.
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on January 12, 2015
An old standard and one of the most overlooked films of the 1970's. Even though this is a work of fiction, you are immersed into a drama filled with bigger than life figures from history that will go on to shape the early 20th century. You have to love the performance by Sean Connery as the Berber brigand Mulai Ahmed er Raisuli and aging John Huston as Secretary of State John Hay. As Hal Holbrook was to Samuel Clemmons, Brian Keith nails Theodore Roosevelt in his portrayal of the 26th President and big thumbs up to Candice Bergen for her performance also. Steve Kanaly delivers in his performance as Marine Captain Jerome in probably the most spectacular military charges in cinema history. Lots of fun, a good view with friends and a big bowl of your favorite pop-corn.
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on October 5, 2014
This is at least three films in one. But first let's think about when it was produced and released.

It would have been in production in 1973, when the US formally left Vietnam. It was released in 1975, when Saigon fell and the helicopters memorably took off from the Embassy Annex.

The film begins in Morocco, as Mulai Ahmed er Raisuni, a Berber tribal leader and brigand (with Sean Connery' s Scottish accent) murders an American businessman and kidnaps his wife and two children. He immediately finds her "troublesome." But she can give him a good game of chess, and matches his grit. Too soon for most in 2014, there are beheadings.

Scenes of the desert quickly alternate with vivid depictions of Brian Keith as the best Theodore Roosevelt you ever saw, running for election and looking for something to whip up American blood lust. Britain, France, and Germany are vying for "spheres of influence" in Morocco, and Teddy wants an Empire. (Inconveniently, Morocco is our oldest ally, the co-signer of our very first treaty as a nation.)

He is surrounded by cautious old-timers, who struggle to manage this active, reckless man. The film cuts back and forth, telegraphing a parallel between the man of the sword and the man of the Winchester and the machine gun.

The third movie, by my lights, is an ahistorical Marine invasion of the King's palace in Tangier. It is gorgeous eye candy for miliaterists.

Back to 1975. There were men in the theater seats, newly returned from Vietnam, who would die in the Gulf War. Others would bury their children's flag-draped coffins from post-911 adventures in the Middle East. It seems that after Theodore Roosevelt, we were well and truly caught in the game of Empire, which is not over yet. In fact, it is picking up speed.
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on May 17, 2015
Years after its release, this remains a stunningly beautiful, witty, and bravura film. Connery and Bergen have a superb chemistry that makes their relationship work, and what emerges is a terrific "Boy's Own" adventure. Based in part on an American History magazine article but also (uncredited) on a book called "El Raisuni, Sultan of the Mountains" by Rosita Forbes, "The Wind and the Lion" says a lot about today's politics even though it is set in 1904. After it was released in 1975, the U.S. warship Mayaguez was seized in May off the coast of Cambodia by the newly powerful Khmer Rouge government. U.S. President Ford sent forces to free the ship, and United Artists, which was releasing "The Wind and the Lion," got publicity by likening what Ford was doing in 1975 with what Teddy Roosevelt had done in 1904. One technical note on the DVD: the "making of" featurette was mixed without any narration, so it makes very little sense. Nice B-roll, though.
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on August 15, 2012
When viewing John Milius's "The Wind and the Lion" (1975), enjoy it as Hollywood entertainment, and check your regard for historical authenticity at the door. There are many ways in which Milius's film departs from the realities of the "Perdicaris incident" of 1904; for example, the real-life Perdicaris was an older Greek-American man who had renounced his U.S. citizenship, not an attractive, patriotic young American woman. And the Perdicaris incident was not resolved by a pitched battle in which United States Marines joined with Berber warriors to defeat soldiers of the German Empire.

But what Milius has done in this film is a tried-and-true Hollywood strategy for bringing history to the screen: 1) take the bare bones of an historical incident; 2) make whatever changes may be necessary to make said historical incident more "interesting"; 3) add romance; 4) populate the film with at least two major stars -- more, if possible; 5) add more romance; 6) provide a rousing, dramatic, cinematic ending to the story; and 7) wait for the box-office returns to start flowing in.

The historical bare bones from which Milius has constructed his film include the 1904 kidnapping of a (supposed) American citizen and child (two children in the film) by a Berber leader, Mulai Ahmed er Raisuli; the kidnap victim Perdicaris coming to appreciate and even admire the honor and warrior virtues of the kidnapper Raisuli; the demand of ransom by Raisuli, in order to harm his political enemy, the Sultan of Morocco; the outrage of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt at what he believed to be the wanton abduction of a U.S. national; the coining of a slogan, "Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead," to dramatize the situation and mobilize popular support; the eventual liberation of Perdicaris; and Roosevelt benefiting politically from the whole affair.

In the film, Raisuli is played by Sean Connery with some of the roguish charm that characterized his portrayal of James Bond. The Ion Perdicaris of history becomes a beautiful woman, Eden Perdicaris, well-played by a radiant Candice Bergen. The two come from different worlds, but are drawn to each other; Eden respects Raisuli's fidelity to his warrior code, and Raisuli, who clearly has not met many women like Eden in his male-dominated culture, grudgingly admires Eden's independence of spirit. Brian Keith, who so often played relatively quiet or introverted characters, casts off those characteristics to create a brash, bold Teddy Roosevelt who never backs away from a fight; one senses from the beginning that the film's Roosevelt and Raisuli have a great deal in common. Also providing strong support is John Huston as John Hay, Roosevelt's Secretary of State who played an important role in the Perdicaris affair; Hay is so often thought of only as Abraham Lincoln's young private secretary that it's good to have this reminder that Hay played an important role in American political life later on as well.

Milius is clearly drawn to military subject matter, with varying results. I liked, for example, how his screenplay for "Apocalypse Now" (1979) invoked rivalries among the different service branches -- very authentic. His work on "Red Dawn" (1984), by contrast, seemed likely to cater to paranoid fantasy among some audience members. (The Soviets invade the United States and get as far as Colorado without anyone noticing? Really?) His work in "The Wind and the Lion" falls somewhere in between. While it is no "Apocalypse Now," it is a well-crafted mix of action and romance. It is rather like one of the Cinerama or Cinemascope extravaganzas of the 1950's or 1960's, but on a smaller scale. View it as entertainment, and don't look to it for historical accuracy, and you may enjoy it.
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on April 9, 2015
Great "old' movie. No nudity, unfortunately, but no F*bombs, violence that is mild by today's standards. A good adventure story with a hint of romance. I especially loved Brian Keith as Teddy Roosevelt Steve Kanaly as Captain Jerome. Lots of humor and old fashioned patriotism set in the decade before World War I.

Based on a true incident - but in real life Pedicaris was a man - Roosevelt sends in the marines to rescue Ms. Pedicaris (Candice Bergen) and her children who were kidnapped from her home in Morocco by the Berber brigand Mulai Ahmed (Sean Connery). The acting and direction are great.

Truly enjoyable family movie.
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on June 10, 2017
Excellent classic starring Sean Connery and Candice Bergen. Brian Kieth does a wonderful job portraying Theo Roosevelt. A great film about clashes in characters and countries. Enjoyable take, though very fictionalized account of a true kidnapping incident. Muslim Rasuli kidnaps Christian American Pedicaris and her children and both learn from each other.
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on January 28, 2004
Anyone who loves old-fashioned "swords in the desert" epics will adore this sweeping romance (with a touch of politics added in for good measure). It is the turn of the century, Europe has divided most of the world into its colonies, and American is just beginning to assert its own influence under charismatic president Teddy Roosevelt (played with tremendous energy by Brian Keith). Connery plays a dashing and well-spoken Berber chieftain who kidnaps an American woman (Candice Bergen) to spark rebellion in the Middle East against the French and the Germans. But this brings in the Americans, and good old Teddy sees a great opportunity to tweak the noses of Europe, get relected, and face down an "honorable" foe like Connery's Berber chieftain.
The desert scenes are all fantastic and filled with romance of the Arabian Nights, the thunder of horses hooves -- all of it scored with Jerry Goldsmith's thrilling music and shown in beautiful widescreen on the DVD. The action scenes are incredibly exciting, especially a scene of Connery taking on a band of kidnappers single-handed. In general, the Middle Eastern characters are treated with respect and fairness. The American scenes with Keith's Roosevelt are intelligent and well written and shed light on America's changing position in the world. (Yes, this is based on a real event, although much has been changed. It doesn't matter: it's a fiction that sheds much light on the actual world situation.)
Alltogether, this is a sweeping, superb adventure film that MUST be seen on DVD for the full effect. It has action, subtle romance, two great performances, and a bit of thoughtful politics in it to give you something to think about when it's all over.
Also recommeded from the same period: THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING. Another great Sean Connery period adventure film.
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on May 31, 2013
What’s not to love about a movie with Sean Connery (the sexiest most dynamic man who ever drew breath), John Milius (the greatest Swords and Horses director ever), Terry Leonard (most fantastic stunt coordinator since Yakima Canutt) and a superlative musical score by Jerry Goldsmith? Incredible horse stunts – PETA people look away. It was filmed overseas with lots of running W’s. Look closely and you’ll see a few stunt riders get rolled on by their falling mounts. Ouch. Goldsmith’s score is a character unto itself and the movie would be nothing without it. Beautifully cast (Brian Keith is perfect as Teddy Roosevelt), sumptuous set design, great writing (by Milius). Not enough stars to do it justice. Absolutely Brilliant. Yes, and its an old movie.
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on January 30, 2004
The "Wind and the Lion" sweeping romp based on a true-life incident. Lot's of action yet spending appropriate time on character development. My only disapointment was the new 5.1 mix was not as "rich" as I expected. If the sound were better, I'd rate it 5 stars.
Still, this is one of my all-time favorite movies, and my favorite Sean Connery movie to date. There's a delightful tension between Candice Bergen's and Sean Connery's characters which really draws the watcher into the story. I agree, with the other reviewers, Brian Keith is one of the most believeable Teddy Roosevelts ever.
If you've ever seen this movie before, perhaps on TV or on VHS tape, and liked it even a little, give a view again on the wide-screen DVD, with no commercials and without pan-and-scan! Or, if you've never seen it before, and like this type of action epic, give "The Wind and the Lion" a try. Either way, you'll be glad you did.
My family just saw it complete for the first time, and was really surprised and pleased.
I recommend this DVD highly, as the "Wind and the Lion" is definitely worth having in your DVD library and a nice break from today's computer effects dominated films.
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