6.3/10
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59 user 41 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 »

Photos

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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 ... 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:

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Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 June 1981 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

Cães de Guerra See more »

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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The toast given by the French member of the mercenary group is "Vive la mort, vive la guerre, vive le sacre mercenaire." ("Long live death, long live war, long live the cursed mercenary.") This is an adaptation of the original Foreign legion toast, "Vive la mort, vive la guerre, vive la Légion Etrangère", which makes a lot more sense. See more »

Goofs

The original Manville Gun was designed in 1935 by Charles Manville as a 12gauge multi-barrel shotgun (24 shot capacity). However, the XM-18 in DOW is based on an updated 1936 design as a 25mm grenade launcher with an 18 shot capacity (hence the "18" in XM-18). The movie version was still considerably more powerful than WWII era 25mm grenades were capable of. Unable to interest the military in his design, Manville's company stopped making the weapon. Ironically, in the early 1980's, the movie Dogs of War served to generate some interest from the military. Utilizing updated manufacturing processes and materials, the XM-18 type grenade launcher has actually seen some military service as a 25mm (18 shot) or 40mm (12 shot) grenade launcher. It is used by US Special Forces as well as some South American and African countries. With a range of between 150-350 meters, and with modern explosive technology, the 25mm grenade is fully capable of causing as much or more damage as was portrayed in the film. The 40mm grenade version uses the same projectile as is used in the Mk 19 grenade launcher which is widely used in the US Army. The current manufacturer is the Hawk Engineering Company who makes it under the designation MM-1. 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.
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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 The Cinema Snob: Heaven's Gate: Part 2 (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries
Sung by Gillian McPherson
Music by Geoffrey Burgon
Poem by A.E. Housman
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Quite interesting…
20 June 2008 | by Nazi_Fighter_DavidSee all my reviews

Shannon (Christopher Walken) is a mercenary war who accepted for the sum of 15,000 dollars to fly to a fictional country in West Africa on a survey mission to procure military information concerning the stability of a dictator's regime, his position strength, and if there is any chance for a coup?

Posing as an American naturalist—especially in native birds—Shannon landed in Zangaro and gathered all the facts he needed but after suffering a brutal beating from the guards for taking pictures of one of the mistresses of the dictator's in front of his compound…

When he's offered a large amount of money to gather a well-equipped mercenary force and go back to Zangaro and lead a military takeover, he reluctantly assents…

The assault has authority, power and unexpected... consequences. So don't miss it!


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