Skip to content

The Wild Geese (1978)

The_Wild_Geese_(1978_film)_poster

If you happened to see this film like I did at the right age growing up then you’ll agree that it doesn’t get much better and that this just might be cinema’s most enjoyable mercenary flick. It’s a tried and true formula in The Dirty Dozen mold with a few twists squeezed into a somewhat familiar plot but with our four leading men at the front of this army it’s almost way too cool.

Richard Burton leads the way after being hired by shifty Stewart Granger to export a jailed politician from a third world country. He quickly enlists Richard Harris, Hardy Kruger and Roger Moore at the height of his Bond years to take part in the daring raid along with an army of 50 troops. Head Sergeant Jack Watson whips everyone into shape in a thoroughly enjoyable boot camp before our heroes head into dangerous territory. Frank Finlay turns up as does a number of familiar faces from British cinema including Ronald Fraser and Patrick Allen.

The film is violent and there is plenty of gun play which should be expected from a film directed by Andrew V. McLaglen who cut his teeth on Gunsmoke and Have Gun Will Travel episodes before graduating to John Wayne westerns among other titles. It’s seeing films like this that got me hooked on Richard Harris at a young age and even though he mailed quite a few drunken performances in, I have always found him entertaining. As for this film he apparently kept the drinking down to a minimum which is surprising considering Burton was along for the ride. The film also introduced me to Hardy Kruger who is very good here. Moore is Moore but for me that’s a good thing and Jack Watson steels quite a few scenes during basic training. There was an ill fated sequel made in 1985 that was set to go with Burton. His untimely death put the production into a tail spin and was eventually made with Scott Glenn but it really became a sequel in name only. One thing I learned while watching this movie was that there were different versions of the film as I had seen it in a theater in Costa Rica. When I eventually saw it on VHS at home in Canada, there were a few violent scenes edited. Today this is pretty common with different cuts for home video but way back when it was like I had made a unique discovery.

As for The Wild Geese, remember I never said the film is a classic, just that’s it’s truly enjoyable. In the end isn’t that what really matters?

11 Comments »

  1. In its own way, the movie is a classic of its kind for me. I guess I also saw it at the “right” age, being about 10 yrs old when I saw it in the theater. For me, it was about as good as movies got at that time. I’m still enormously fond of it. This movie and Dark of the Sun would make an excellent double-bill of mercenary flicks.

    • Rod Taylor could have fit right in with this group on screen and made it even better and why not bring his Sun costar Jim Brown along for the mission. This is one film I revisit every couple years as it is a personal fave.

    • I have to admit it is a movie that caters to the male of the species. If hubby is fan of Dirty Dozen type flicks this is worth his time. As for Harris, I have always been a fan and after he sobered up he gave some great interviews. Full of fun stories and wit.

  2. I’m the type of LayDee who loves these macho, all star male movies, and I am sure I’ve seen this but probably so long ago I just forgot it, so: an excuse to re-watch. 🙂 on a side note, despite being an age where probably none of my friends had a clue who Burton was, I remember clearly exactly where I was when I heard on radio he’d died.

    • That’s exactly why we get along so well. We need more LayDee’s just like you. As for Burton, I can’t recall where I was but I do remember going to see 1984 which was released after his death strictly because of his participation.

  3. The Wild Geese is one of those post 1960’s war movies that still got it so right. Like the ‘Dirty Dozen’ and ‘The Devils Brigade’ (William Holden) you can watch it over and over again. I have always been a fan of Richard Burton and Roger Moore – so to see them together in a good war movie is wonderful; and for me it is a classic. Although i enjoyed the Wild Geese 2; without the old crowd it didn’t have the same feel – still very good though; as i am a fan of Edward Fox also!

Leave a Reply to kristina Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

"DESTROY ALL FANBOYS!"

Smashing System Bias Since 1972...

Movies ala Mark

With a Cast of Thousands

Classic Horrors

From silent screen to Halloween, and everything scary in between.

Just Hit Play

The Good, the Bad and sometimes Ugly in film

Strother Martin Film Project

What we've got here is failure to communicate

Sophia Riley Kobacker

it's all about the story, possums...

Wolfmans Cult Film

Cult, B-Movies, cheesy fun films to Film Noir to classics new to me.

Talking Pulp

All things pulp and then some

cinema cities

a personal odyssey through film

Mark David Welsh

Watching the strangest movies - so you don't have to...

Film Speech

All things film and television

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

portraitsbyjenni

My perspective on life & Classic Movie Recommendations

Statis Pro 1978 Replay

Methodically replaying every game of the 1978 baseball season!

4 Star Films

Looking Deeper at The Best Classic Movies

everythingnoir

Movies, Television, Books....Everything Noir

Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

by John Bengtson "the great detective of silent film locations" New York Times

Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

Silent-ology

Uncovering the silent era

The Canadian Cinephile

“Film lovers are sick people.” ― François Truffaut

Noirish

The annex to John Grant's *A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir*

Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Sunset Boulevard

Writings of a Cinephile

The Bogie Film Blog

A Film by Film Affair with Humphrey Bogart

Vienna's Classic Hollywood

Vintage Hollywood films and stars

The Film Authority

You're ten seconds from watching an amazing film...

Once upon a screen...

...a classic film and TV blog

shadowsandsatin

. . where the worlds of film noir and pre-code collide . .

Alfred Hitchcock Master

Where Suspense Lives!

Tipping My Fedora

Enjoying mystery, crime and suspense in all media

Silver Screenings

Ruth's Old Movie Reviews

monsterminions

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

Comet Over Hollywood

Home for classic movie lovers

filmgeek101

classic movie views for the classic and not-so-classic movie fan

Riding the High Country

Reviews and ramblings

Speakeasy

movies galore

"DESTROY ALL FANBOYS!"

Smashing System Bias Since 1972...

Movies ala Mark

With a Cast of Thousands

Classic Horrors

From silent screen to Halloween, and everything scary in between.

Just Hit Play

The Good, the Bad and sometimes Ugly in film

Strother Martin Film Project

What we've got here is failure to communicate

Sophia Riley Kobacker

it's all about the story, possums...

Wolfmans Cult Film

Cult, B-Movies, cheesy fun films to Film Noir to classics new to me.

Talking Pulp

All things pulp and then some

cinema cities

a personal odyssey through film

Mark David Welsh

Watching the strangest movies - so you don't have to...

Film Speech

All things film and television

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

portraitsbyjenni

My perspective on life & Classic Movie Recommendations

Statis Pro 1978 Replay

Methodically replaying every game of the 1978 baseball season!

4 Star Films

Looking Deeper at The Best Classic Movies

everythingnoir

Movies, Television, Books....Everything Noir

Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

by John Bengtson "the great detective of silent film locations" New York Times

Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

Silent-ology

Uncovering the silent era

The Canadian Cinephile

“Film lovers are sick people.” ― François Truffaut

Noirish

The annex to John Grant's *A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir*

Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Sunset Boulevard

Writings of a Cinephile

The Bogie Film Blog

A Film by Film Affair with Humphrey Bogart

Vienna's Classic Hollywood

Vintage Hollywood films and stars

The Film Authority

You're ten seconds from watching an amazing film...

Once upon a screen...

...a classic film and TV blog

shadowsandsatin

. . where the worlds of film noir and pre-code collide . .

Alfred Hitchcock Master

Where Suspense Lives!

Tipping My Fedora

Enjoying mystery, crime and suspense in all media

Silver Screenings

Ruth's Old Movie Reviews

monsterminions

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

Comet Over Hollywood

Home for classic movie lovers

filmgeek101

classic movie views for the classic and not-so-classic movie fan

Riding the High Country

Reviews and ramblings

Speakeasy

movies galore

%d bloggers like this: