July 7, 1978 in UK cinemas: The Wild Geese

“The dogs of war… The best **** mercenaries in the business.”

A British banker hires a group of British mercenaries to rescue a deposed African president from the hands of a corrupt African dictator. [IMDB]

The Wild Geese is a British 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 same producer and director were later responsible for The Sea Wolves.

The screenplay by Reginald Rose was based on an unpublished novel titled The Thin White Line by Daniel Carney. The film was named The Wild Geese after the Wild Goose flag and shoulder patch used by Michael “Mad Mike” Hoare’s Five Commando, ANC, which in turn was inspired by 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 Moïse Tshombe. [Wikipedia]

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