6.3/10
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64 user 46 critic

The Dogs of War (1980)

Mercenary James Shannon, on a reconnaissance job to the African nation of Zangaro, is tortured and deported. He returns to lead a coup.

Director:

John Irvin

Writers:

Gary DeVore (screenplay), George Malko (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Walken ... Jamie Shannon
Tom Berenger ... Drew
Colin Blakely ... North
Hugh Millais Hugh Millais ... Endean
Paul Freeman ... Derek
Jean-François Stévenin Jean-François Stévenin ... Michel (as Jean François Stevenin)
JoBeth Williams ... Jessie
Robert Urquhart Robert Urquhart ... Capt. Lockhart
Winston Ntshona ... Dr. Okoye
Pedro Armendáriz Jr. ... The Captain (as Pedro Armendariz Jr.)
Harlan Cary Poe Harlan Cary Poe ... Richard
Ed O'Neill ... Terry
Isabel Grandin Isabel Grandin ... Evelyn
Ernest Graves Ernest Graves ... Warner
Kelvin Thomas Kelvin Thomas ... The Black Boy
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Storyline

Jamie Shannon is a soldier of fortune -- a mercenary who will stage a coup or a revolution for the right price. He is hired by British mining interests to scout out Zangaro, a small African nation with rich mineral deposits but a brutal and xenophobic dictatorship. Arrested soon after his arrival, Shannon is imprisoned as a spy, badly beaten, and tortured. While in prison he meets one of the country's leading intellectuals, Dr. Okoye, also imprisoned by the regime. Eventually released, he returns to London and is subsequently offered to opportunity to secretly invade Zangaro's capital and lead a military coup. Shannon accepts, but quietly has his own agenda to pursue. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Cry 'Havoc!' And Let Slip The Dogs Of War


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 February 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Dogs of War See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$5,484,132

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,484,132
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Juniper Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print) | (cut) (1988) (video release) | (cut) (1981) (cinema release)

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The "XM-18" grenade launcher used in the movie is a real-life weapon. It is called the Manville Gun. It was named after its inventor, Charles Manville, who designed the gun in 1935. See more »

Goofs

When the team is discussing the weapons they will need for their attack, Shannon mentions their requirement for "9 Millimeter Quad" ammunition. "Quad" version of 9mm ammunition goes back to the development of a special 9mm Load by Speer ammunition Co. called the, "9mm +P Gold Dot JHP (Jacketed Hollow Point) 124 Gr". Which has a muzzle velocity of 400 Meters per second (1,300 Ft/s). It received its Nickname "9mm Quad", from its Major Parameter: (9mm @ 400 m/s). See more »

Quotes

Customs Officer: [finding two large bottles of whisky in Shannon's luggage] Do you have a drinking problem, Mr Brown?
Shannon: I thought there might be a problem with the water.
Customs Officer: [confiscating one of the bottles] There is.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Although the cinema version was uncut the 1986 UK video was cut by 5 secs by the BBFC to remove shots of broken glass being forced into the mouth of Endean's man before being beaten up by Shannon. The 2001 MGM DVD restored the film to its original 119 minute UK length, which had additional character development, including an early scene of Shannon attending the baptism of a fellow mercenary's child, a bed scene between Shannon and Jessie, a scene of the raiding party being delayed by a closed drawbridge, Shannon pressuring Hackett to deliver the Valencia shipment, and extensive footage between Shannon and Lockhart where the latter persuades Spanish officials to allow the cargo on to the boat. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries
Sung by Gillian McPherson
Music by Geoffrey Burgon
Poem by A.E. Housman
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Hazards of the Soldier of Fortune profession.
29 July 1999 | by yenloSee all my reviews

Taken from the Frederick Forsyth novel of the same name. The screenplay is not as good as the book, which went into detail about mercenary operations but does do a good job in telling a mercenary tale. Christopher Walken leads a team of Soldiers of Fortune to overthrow a corrupt and brutal coastal African government. Unlike 1978's The Wild Geese this shows a more sinister side of the hazards of being a mercenary. One point in the film in order to make money Walkens character Shannon takes a contract to do a "Recon" mission on a country. He goes alone and nearly loses his life. When he returns to the states his doctor gives him a rundown on the many wounds and diseases he's had over the years attributed to his profession. Another point Shannon tells a group of Army regulars that Mercenaries only provide support and tactics and it's actually their fight. If they fold in combat the hired soldier can find themselves in a bad situation. Plenty of explosions along with small arms warfare that includes a unique grenade launching submachine gun weapon. If you're a war film fan you'll enjoy. Other mercenary films to check out are 1968's Dark of the Sun and the above mentioned The Wild Geese.


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