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Overall Rating
4.65

Awesome86.9%
Worth A Look: 3.57%
Average: 2.38%
Pretty Bad: 2.38%
Total Crap: 4.76%

1 review, 78 user ratings


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Wild Geese, The
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by Brian McKay

"Burton, Harris, and Moore killing a cast of thousands - and no DVD?"
5 stars

I don't know why this film popped into my head this week, since I haven't seen it since it first came out. I was thirteen at the time, so the fact that I remember it at all is nothing short of amazing. Maybe I've been playing too much GHOST RECON this week, or maybe the previews for the upcoming film TEARS OF THE SUN looks rather similar, but suddenly I have a hankering for some WILD GEESE.

The hankering may have to wait, though, since the damn thing isn't even availiable on region 1 DVD, and VHS copies can be as hard to track down as a meth dealer at a Pat Boone concert. That's a bloody shame, because as I recall, this was a pretty damn good film.

When a ruthless African dictator's rise to power threatens the investments that a multinational corporation owns in his country, the corporation hires a group of shady Brit mercenaries to go in and rescue the nation's deposed former leader so that he can be restored to power and business can continue as usual.

The man they hire for the job is Col. Allen Faulkner (Richard Burton), who in turn brings two of his old army buddies into the deal. They are Capt. Rafer Janders (Richard Harris) and Lt. Shawn Flynn (Roger Moore). After they iron out the details of the contract (the hard-drinking Faulkner semi-jokingly states "There is a clause in all of my contracts that my liver is to be buried seperately - and with honors"), they put together a list of roughly fifty men and start going 'round to their houses to recruit them. In doing so, they manage to piss off more than a few wives who will be widows in the near future.

After a crash-course bout of boot camp training, the mercs are dropped into the bush. The mission goes off without a hitch at first. Using an impressive array of tactics that includes nuetralizing watchtowers with snipers and eliminating an entire barracks full of sleeping soldiers with nerve gas, they succesfully liberate the deposed leader and make it to their extraction point. Then things get ugly.

While they've been busting their ass to liberate the former president, the corporation has struck up a deal with the new man in power. Since the mercs services are no longer required, they are left twisting in the wind. Their only chance to get out alive is to make a dangerous cross-country trek to an airfield, appropriate a transport plane, and fly out. Simple - except for the fact that there are now several hundred troops with air support out looking for them. As you might guess, the body count becomes quite high, and most of our heroes won't make it out alive.

It's really a shame that this film isn't out on DVD yet, especially when you consider all the crap that is. Burton, Moore, and Harris deliver some excellent performances here, displaying the kind of charismatic toughness one would expect from hardened soldiers. The action scenes are frequent and fantastic, and the small-arms and small squad tactics displayed seem completely credible. In fact, this 25 year old actioner manages to rival, if not surpass, most contemporary military flicks. I'll take this over a Windtalkers or Blackhawk Down any day. While part of the preference is attributable to the high action quotient, the strong characterizations from the leads are the film's most enduring elements. There are also noteworthy supporting performances from Hardy Kruger, Jack Watson, and Ronald Fraser, who play the squad sergeants and backbone of the mercenary crew.

When you're in the mood for a high-caliber, top-notch Brit action film, you can't do much better than THE WILD GEESE. And since it seems to be scarce on any media format these days, I guess I'm lucky I had a dad who was cool enough to take his 13 year old kid to ultra-violent R-rated movies so that I could actually see it.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=7061&reviewer=258
originally posted: 02/15/03 10:27:25
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User Comments

7/24/13 PAUL SHORTT SILLY, THIN ACTION ADVENTURE WITH SUPRISINGLY POOR PERFORMANCES 2 stars
6/30/13 Ajax Good film 4 stars
3/23/13 TMax I remember this film when I was a kid. I dug the Burton/Moore/Harris combo. 5 stars
10/28/12 Jonnyo great film great cast but a little to long 5 stars
7/28/12 Mark One of the all-time classic Merc/SpeocOp films! 5 stars
5/16/11 The Big D It is the main characters' sense of integrity that makes them heroes. 4 stars
9/06/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess Awesome movie, kind of reminded me of Sam Fuller. 5 stars
5/14/08 R.W. Welch Nifty action sequences; otherwise, fairly routine. C+ 3 stars
10/20/07 Max typical british anticommunist bullshit - at least showing two east german military advisors 1 stars
11/18/06 Brian Breathnach Funniest movie I've ever seen, Burton looks like he's going to keel over. 5 stars
8/20/06 David K. Awesome action flick. Where's the DVD? 5 stars
4/17/06 Mark Jackson Tense, action packed with great characters and a gritty authenticity that many films lack. 5 stars
7/27/05 Bob The greatest film ever !! 5 stars
6/09/05 John sensational script and unbelievable action - just wonderful 5 stars
5/30/05 Burnt Deer Hunter is way better....But what can i say 3 stars
1/30/05 Paolo de Oca I've seen this movie when I was in 4th grade & its awesome! Such a shame its not on DVD 5 stars
1/23/05 Mike Great war movie! 5 stars
9/15/04 Adli the dvd out in singapore hmv store 5 stars
9/02/04 Andrew Mayberry Awsome. One of the few movies that survive relatively intact from the novel. Can't wait f 5 stars
8/18/04 Wayne Underhill Should be on DVD 5 stars
7/23/04 Sean Norton Brilliant movie, watch out for the pathetic re-make any day now. 5 stars
7/11/04 Dick Courchesne I have not seen this film for the past 22 years, and I am hoping a critical mass of comment 5 stars
6/21/04 LVPostman Possibly my favorite film of all time! 5 stars
6/18/04 Doug Cooke I'm dying for it to be released on DVD, don't confuse it with wild geese II, which was junk 5 stars
6/10/04 D Awesome true to period action flick 5 stars
4/22/04 Jack Spaulding Hard to believe things have not changed. A no bullshit movie! 5 stars
4/09/04 A excellent film 5 stars
4/02/04 sansho Its high rating here has me reeling in shock 1 stars
3/27/04 Mark Moore A real classic. A movie you will definitely want to watch again. 5 stars
3/23/04 pat great movie 5 stars
3/18/04 colin grenfell cannot stop watching it !!!!!! 5 stars
2/18/04 John Stone An excellent movie, you just want to watch it over and over again....Try the book...! 5 stars
1/26/04 Alberto Solognier Very good movie, shame that it isn't available on dvd! 5 stars
1/24/04 CC ? 2 stars
1/19/04 charlie munns As you say Awesome - Plese note- a DVD version is coming out in early 2004 www.dvd.net 5 stars
1/18/04 Dr. Spiros P. Mavroidis An excellent action film !!! 5 stars
1/13/04 Eric Mark Charlton British and Best! Great Stuff! 5 stars
1/12/04 Rich Hodgens Moore action, More Moore, Need I Say Moore! An extraordinary piece of movie-making! 5 stars
1/03/04 ferdie villas great film,just love richard harris,when is the dvd coming out? 5 stars
12/19/03 Sergeant Major Best mercenary flick I've ever seen! 5 stars
12/07/03 Mike Richard Burton's comeback film. Why isn't this out on DVD? 5 stars
11/03/03 john simply phenomenal, the wild geese still makes my day 23 years after its release 5 stars
10/31/03 yusuf k dossa very good film & themes with superb acting; thinly disguised dig at tiny rowland & lonrho 5 stars
10/11/03 Del Griffith A really good action film - gets better and better as it goes along. 5 stars
10/06/03 Andy Raiford How on God's earth did The Thin Red Line make it to DVD and this great film not??? 5 stars
10/04/03 Lenny Brennand The dogs bollocks 5 stars
10/04/03 GUS MAFFETORE GREAT ACTION FLICK! GOOD PERFORMANCES! ALL YOU NEED TO ADD IS POP CORN AND YOUR HONEY . 5 stars
10/01/03 Ivan Horne why isn't this on DVD yet????????? 5 stars
9/30/03 Sugar Kane Top acting top shoot outs all with out crap computer FX 5 stars
9/30/03 Dave_Batista Great flick my ass!!!!! 1 stars
9/28/03 Padraig Deignan An excellent action film, a very interesting post colonial plot and great acting 5 stars
9/22/03 Lord Jiggy Enjoyed it when I was 18...wonder how it holds up now? 4 stars
8/26/03 Doug Cooke very well done movie - especially on the theme of mercenaries, a shame it is not yet on D 5 stars
8/23/03 Cobus Venter Stupendous 5 stars
8/17/03 K R Colvin you won't find a better war film! 5 stars
8/08/03 mt77850 One of my favorite movies of all time. 5 stars
7/24/03 Sgt. Rock 2 R. Anglian Fuckin` "A" 5 stars
7/20/03 Andy Raiford Awesome movie. Where's the DVD???? 5 stars
7/02/03 Gary Wilson Top notch action from a top notch cast 5 stars
6/30/03 Herbert great chrachters/wonderful action with rare verisimilitude/ one of the best in the genre 5 stars
6/24/03 Daniel A-S A Brilliant Film 5 stars
6/18/03 Eric Johnson AWESOME! One of the best! 5 stars
6/12/03 L Cpl Rob Hicks Had friends in Angola . This was a realistic portrayal of mercs. 5 stars
5/09/03 Ron August Memorable Joan Armatrading title,& superb subplots w/ excellent character actors.Not 2 miss 5 stars
5/03/03 Staff Sgt. J R Cullen A Brillient film w/ great preformances 5 stars
4/29/03 Mark A great action/war movie! Well written and acted. No sentimental crapp! 5 stars
4/25/03 Brian King The film's cast says it all. This movie is terrific fun. 5 stars
4/25/03 Kelly A. Peterson Great, noble military action at it's highest level, several interesting sub-stories within 5 stars
4/12/03 Jeff Bird Bloody Good Film 5 stars
4/10/03 Mike Baker An excellent film - 1 of my favourites - why isn't it available on DVD yet?!? 5 stars
4/02/03 Arild Great film ! Hopefully on DVD soon... 5 stars
3/26/03 KWC BeSt COmat MoviE Ever 5 stars
3/25/03 lisa no war! 1 stars
3/20/03 Andrew Visagie Best War movie I have ever seen. I have it on VHS. Cant wait for it to be released on DVD. 5 stars
3/19/03 Shavaughn Excellent film, one of the best ever 5 stars
3/15/03 Peter This is one of the best films ever made and on hardly any format that sucks! 5 stars
2/16/03 Jack Sommersby Great write-up of a near-flawless, magnificent achievement in film. 5 stars
2/15/03 Charles Tatum Outstanding action, avoid sequel 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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  11-Nov-1978 (R)

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