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This is really an educational flick on how the world really works. A cabal of secret backers in Britain with an undocumented spook send mercenaries on a secret mission to 'rescue' a deposed African leader. In reality they are ponds in a struggle for the country's natural resources. The mercenaries deploy POISON GAS! Not as if we haven't heard about that in the news. ENJOY the lessons.


The Wild Geese is a British 1978 adventure film directed by Andrew V. McLaglen about a group of mercenaries in Africa. It stars Richard Burton, Roger Moore, Richard Harris and Hardy Krüger. The film was the result of a long-held ambition of its producer Euan Lloyd to make an all-star adventure film similar to The Guns of Navarone or Where Eagles Dare.

The film was based on an unpublished novel titled The Thin White Line by Daniel Carney. The film was named The Wild Geese after a 17th-century Irish mercenary army (see Flight of the Wild Geese). Carney's novel was subsequently published by Corgi Books under the same title as the film.

The novel was based upon rumours and speculation following the 1968 landing of a mysterious aeroplane in Rhodesia, which was said to have been loaded with mercenaries and "an African President" believed to have been a dying Moise Tshombe.

Colonel Allen Faulkner (Richard Burton), a British mercenary and former army officer, arrives in London to meet the rich and ruthless merchant banker Sir Edward Matherson (Stewart Granger). The latter proposes a risky operation to rescue Julius Limbani (Winston Ntshona), imprisoned leader of a central African country, who is due to be executed by his own generals. Limbani is currently being held in a remote prison ("Zembela"), guarded by a crack unit of indigenous troops known as the Simbas.

Faulkner provisionally accepts the assignment and sets about recruiting his officers, all of whom have worked with him on previous operations. They comprise:

Shawn Fynn (Roger Moore), an Anglo-Irish pilot. He is initially working as a currency smuggler, but is unwittingly duped into peddling illicit drugs for the local mafia. Upon discovering the truth, Fynn forces his employer to consume the tainted merchandise; the prominent crime families retaliate by ordering his assassination. Matherson and Faulkner, however, persuade them to retract it.

Penniless Afrikaner Pieter Coetzee (Hardy Krüger), a former special forces operator in the South African Defence Force, whose only wish is to return to his homeland and buy a farm.

Rafer Janders (Richard Harris), a logistics genius and skilled military tactician. He initially turns down the job due to a steady civilian income in artwork and a planned vacation with his only son, Emile. However, Faulkner plays on Rafer's political admiration for Julius Limbani to successfully secure his employment.

Retired R.S.M (Regimental Sergeant Major) Sandy Young (Jack Watson), who is recruited as a drill sergeant to train the mercenaries. He hopes to see combat, but his wife, who loathes Faulkner, strongly disapproves.

With the tacit approval and support of the United Kingdom's government, fifty hired soldiers are transported to Swaziland to be equipped and mercilessly trained by Young. The day before the operation is set to begin, Janders exacts a promise from Faulkner to watch over his son Emile should he fail to return from Africa.

The mercenaries are transported by hired aeroplane into the central subcontinent and parachute into a region near Zembala Prison. Upon infiltrating the facility, Pieter Coetzee uses a powerful crossbow with cyanide-tipped quarrels to eliminate the sentries, while the rest of the guards are killed silently with cyanide gas. They rescue Limbani, but he is clearly a sick man and is later wounded by rifle fire. The group then makes its way to a small airfield to await pickup, deeming their mission a success. Back in London, however, Matherson opts to back out at the last moment, having secured his own private deal with Limbani's captors. He cancels Faulkner's exfiltration flight, hoping to wash his hands of the matter.

Stranded deep inside hostile territory without a clear exit plan, the abandoned mercenaries are forced to fight their way through the bush country, pursued mercilessly by Simba troopers.

Meanwhile, the relationship between Limbani and Coetzee develops from initial animosity ("I bleed red like you, white man; don't call me kaffir") to one of understanding, as the South African comes to understand and appreciate Limbani on an individual level.

Fighting off massed assaults and a frantan strike, the mercenary force makes its way towards Limbani's home village, with the intention of rallying support there for the deposed leader. But before everyone can reach the destination, Faulkner is forced to shoot his own gravely injured colleagues rather than leave them at the mercy of their pursuers. Coetzee is also killed while shielding Limbani during an ambush.

At the village, an Irish missionary named Father Geoghegan alerts Faulkner and his surviving men to the presence of an old Douglas Dakota transport aircraft near their location, which the mercenaries may use to flee the country.

As the Simba troops close in, the group reaches the aeroplane and stage a last stand on the empty airfield while Fynn attempts to get the stalled Dakota started. He is ultimately successful, and mercenaries attempt to board under a hail of bullets fired by their opponents. Young and Janders, however, are mortally wounded, and the latter implores someone to finish him off since he cannot make it. As Janders shouts his son's name, Faulkner reluctantly complies with his friend's wishes.

Although low on fuel, the Dakota manages to cross into nearby Rhodesia, where Fynn is refused landing permission until the Rhodesian authorities learn that Julius Limbani is on board. By the time the aircraft touches down near Kariba, Limbani has died from his injuries.

Several months later, Faulkner returns to England and breaks into Matherson's home, pilfering all the cash he can find from a wall safe to compensate for the payment originally promised for Limbani's rescue. He then exacts his revenge on Matherson before making a swift getaway with Fynn.

Faulkner fulfills his promise to Janders by visiting Emile at the latter's boarding school, hoping that they can talk freely about his father.

Posted by George Freund on September 7, 2013 at 7:18 PM 4628 Views