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The film was based on an unpublished novel titled The Thin White Line by Daniel Carney.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. 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.
Reception[edit | edit source]
The film was a considerable commercial success in Britain and other countries worldwide, but was hit by the collapse of its American distributor Allied Artists, and by the lack of an American star. As a result, the film was only partially distributed in the United States, where it was a box-office disappointment.
The production was also the subject of controversy because of the decision to film in South Africa during the apartheid regime, and because of the film's portrayal of black characters. There were protests by anti-apartheid campaigners at the film's London premiere.
The Wild Geese holds a 60% "fresh" rating in Rotten Tomatoes and also won a Golden Screen,. As for the negative side of its reviews was chosen as "Dog of the Year" by film critic Gene Siskel, who accused the movie of being "deadly dull" and claimed that it "exploits racism as some kind of sporting entertainment."
Cast[edit | edit source]
- Richard Burton (Colonel Allen Faulkner)
- Roger Moore (Lieutenant Shaun Fynn)
- Richard Harris (Captain Rafer Janders)
- Hardy Krüger (Lieutenant Pieter Coetzee)
- Stewart Granger (Sir Edward Matherson)
- Winston Ntshona (President Julius Limbani)
- John Kani (Sergeant Jesse Blake)
- Jack Watson (RSM Sandy Young)
- Frank Finlay (Father Geoghegen)
- Kenneth Griffith (Medic Arthur Witty)
- Barry Foster (Thomas Balfour)
- Ronald Fraser (Sergeant Jock McTaggart)
- Ian Yule (Sergeant Tosh Donaldson)
- Patrick Allen (Rushton)
- Percy Herbert (Keith)
- Rosalind Lloyd (Heather)
- Valerie Leon (Croupier)
- Jane Hylton (Mrs. Young)
- Paul Spurrier (Emile Janders)
- David Ladd (Sonny Martinelli)
- Jeff Corey (Mr. Martinelli)
- Chris Chittell (Mercenary Driver)
- Brook Williams (Samuels)