The Dogs of War is a 1980 war film based upon the novel The Dogs of War by Frederick Forsyth, directed by John Irvin. It stars Christopher Walken and Tom Berenger as part of a small, international unit of mercenary soldiers privately hired to depose President Kimba of a fictional "Republic of Zangaro", in Africa, so that a British tycoon can gain mining access to a hugeplatinum deposit. This movie was filmed on location in Belize.
As the film opens, mercenaries Jamie Shannon, Drew, Derek, Michel, Terry and Richard are making a hasty exit from a war-torn Central American country by forcing their way onto a government civilian DC-3 airplane. When a Central American officer demands Richard's body to be removed to make room for others, one of the mercenaries shows he is still able to safely grasp the spoon of a hand grenade and Drew insists his friend "goes home". After Shannon returns home, he gets an offer from a Briton named Endean who is interested in "certain resources" of a small African nation named Zangaro. Endean pays Shannon $15,000 to go on a reconnaissance mission in Zangaro which is run by a paranoid and brutal dictator named General Kimba.
Shannon arrives in Zangaro's capital of Clarencetown and meets a British documentary filmmaker named North who tells him Zangaro's history and scouts out the defences of the military garrison. However, his activities arouse the suspicions of Zangaro's police and he is arrested, severely beaten and thrown in jail. His multiple wounds are treated by Dr. Okoye, a physician who was formerly a moderate political leader and the only local politician of whom North approved but who was imprisoned by General Kimba four years ago. North agitates for his release and Shannon is deported after two days of torture. His physician tells him that all the damage he has sustained has taken years off his lifespan.
After Shannon tells Endean that there is no chance of an internal coup, Endean offers Shannon $100,000 to overthrow Kimba by invading Zangaro with a mercenary army. Endean intends to install a puppet government led by Colonel Bobi, Kimba's brutal and greedy former ally. This would allow Endean to exploit the country's newly discovered platinum resources as Colonel Bobi has already signed away the mineral rights. Shannon refuses the offer and decides to leave his mercenary life behind. He meets his estranged wife and proposes that they start a new life in Colorado or Montana. She turns him down, noting that she does not think that he has changed. Shannon then accepts Endean's offer to organize an attack on Zangaro with the condition that he will have complete control of the operation.
After Endean gives Shannon $1 million for expenses, Shannon contacts his mercenary cohorts from Central America and three of them join him but one does not. They meet up at Liverpool Street Station to plan the coup and when all the options have been decided, Michel proposes a toast followed by Shannon's reciting his motto "Everyone Comes Home". The group illegally procures Uzi submachine guns, ammunition, rocket launchers, mines and other weapons from arms dealers.
By chance he encounters North, who was expelled from Zangaro shortly after Shannon. North believes Shannon is a CIA agent heading back to Zangaro and tries to tail him. Shannon asks Drew to scare North away without hurting him but instead North is killed by someone who had been hired by Endean to follow Shannon and his crew. A furious Shannon kills him in turn and leaves his body at Endean's house during a dinner party held for Colonel Bobi.
He hires a small freighter and crew to transport the team to the coast of Zangaro and purchases a variety of other equipment that will be used in the attack such as Zodiac-style motorboats.
At sea, the team is joined by a group of black mercenary soldiers trained by a former mercenary colleague, Jinja, who will act as infantry. Once ashore in Zangaro, the mercenaries attack the military garrison where Kimba lives with their entire array of weapons. Drew enters a shack in the barracks' courtyard and is killed by a seemingly helpless young woman who shoots him in the back with a pistol. After the mercenaries storm the burning bullet-pocked ruins of the garrison, Shannon makes his way inside Kimba's mansion, where he kills many of the occupants including Kimba, who offers Shannon money for his life.
Endean then arrives in a helicopter with Colonel Bobi and they enter the presidential residence where they find Shannon and Dr. Okoye. Shannon introduces Dr. Okoye as Zangaro's new president. Endean and Bobi protest, but Shannon kills Bobi, at which point Endean stops complaining. Shannon, Derek and Michel load the body of Drew onto a Landrover and leave. The story ends with the mercenaries driving through the deserted streets of Clarencetown.