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The Dogs of War

 (451)
6.31 h 44 min198115
This riveting adaptation of Frederick Forsyth's best-seller stars Christopher Walken and Tom Berenger as mercenaries hired by a shadowy cartel to dethrone an African dictator.
Directors
John Irvin
Starring
Christopher WalkenTom BerengerColin Blakely
Genres
AdventureAction
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio Languages
English
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Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

451 global ratings

  1. 61% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 25% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 10% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 3% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 1% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

AnthonyReviewed in the United Kingdom on 29 May 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Blue Ray update well worth buying
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I saw this movie when it first came out in Belize. It was a good film then and it has stood the test of time very well. It was something of a flop upon release. Not sure why? The cast is first class, the script is excellent.
The director allows the cast to develop their characters and this adds depth to the overall; feeling of the film.
It gets a lot of criticism for not sticking to Fredrick Fprysthes book more. As the book is both long and complex this is a stupid criticism. In the short time available for the movie and as good a job as developing characters and story as could be done was done. visually it looks very good, a huge movement on the DVD. This 1080p shows what a very good job of lighting and cinematography was done in the first place.
A gem of a movie.
One person found this helpful
Rupert GarciaReviewed in the United Kingdom on 09 December 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
A Decent Film that is Unfairly Criticized
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Yes, it is a bit dated, but The Dogs of War is every bit as good as any early Bond or Alistair MacLean film and better than most seventies action 'B' films out there. The acting is spot on and I loved the revenge element. A bit rough and ready, but better than I remembered it to be. Tom Berenger supports Christopher Walken, with quite a few English TV regulars - Hugh Quarshie from Holby City anyone? I can't believe I knew that. Not racist in the slightest, if anything it is too realistic.
One person found this helpful
Morden BoyReviewed in the United Kingdom on 29 July 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Frederick Forsyth Classic
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Classic war movie. The new longer blu ray version does it justice. Walken steals the show.

It was also partly filmed in Belize where I lived in the 1990s. Happy memories.
3 people found this helpful
Trevor WillsmerReviewed in the United Kingdom on 10 November 2007
3.0 out of 5 stars
Cry havoc...
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The Dogs of War is part of that subgenre of war movies that briefly blossomed in the late-sixties and seventies but found little favor in subsequent years, the story about the ageing mercenary who suffers a crisis of conscience (Dark of the Sun, The Wild Geese, Savior etc). It was also the last significant attempt to turn Christopher Walken into a mainstream leading man in the Brando mould on the back of his Deer Hunter Oscar, with the trailer and marketing almost ignoring co-stars Tom Berenger and, despite delivering the film's best performance as a cynical documentary filmmaker, Colin Blakely. Certainly Walken takes a beating as convincingly as Brando, though the public weren't biting in 1981.

Frederick Forsyth's novel gained much notoriety due to the excessive lengths he went to in researching it - few writers would actually invest in a hastily abandoned African coup d'etat to get the inside details right, though it seems Forsyth did just that. As a result, the film goes to great lengths to stress its veracity, with director John Irvin, still hot after the success of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, adopting the stripped-down near documentary style that served Fred Zinnemann so well with The Day of the Jackal. Irvin's subsequent work would sadly mark him out as one of the flattest action directors in the business, but here - perhaps leaning on the experience of cinematographer Jack Cardiff, who also directed Dark of the Sun - he delivers the goods surprisingly effectively. Underneath all the gritty pseudo-realism it's a very familiar story (Winston Ntshona practically plays the same role here as an imprisoned deposed president that he did in the more Boys' Own The Wild Geese three years earlier), but it's well told - or at least in the two-hour European cut of the film which, perversely, is only available on DVD in the US, and there in a version with dodgy synchronisation in the early scenes: Europe has to make do with the cut US version shorn of 16 minutes. Geoffrey Burgon's score makes good use of A.E. Housman's Epitaph On An Army of Mercenaries while among the familiar faces in the supporting cast can be spotted Paul Freeman, Ed O'Neill, Jim Broadbent (as one of Blakely's film crew), Victoria Tennant and an unbilled Helen Shaver, though aside from Blakely, the standout performance probably comes from Hugh Millais' cold-fish middle man.

Once again, bear in mind that the US NTSC DVD is the uncut European version of the film, while the UK PAL DVD is the cut US version!
17 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United Kingdom on 27 July 2015
3.0 out of 5 stars
I wish they'd stuck to the book!!
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As I had read and thoroughly enjoyed the detail of the planning in the book I thought many of the changes in the film unnecessary and the planning and assembly of materials for the invasion very rushed. Actually I found it better to think of the film as an entirely different story from the book. Christopher Walken was not my idea of Cat Shannon at all. The book ending and epilogue added a poignancy totally missing from the film.
4 people found this helpful
shshshReviewed in the United Kingdom on 16 May 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Cracking thriller
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Full of good detail and interesting scenes. It's not rambo action, the actual fire fight comes late in the film. Walken is wonderful, and so skinny.
One person found this helpful
Mr. THOMAS HOLMES.Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 10 August 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Performances from whole cast are excellent!!!
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Loved how the film was edited, camera angles,really holds your attention...great entertainment!!!!
M. A. ThomsonReviewed in the United Kingdom on 31 January 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Excellent
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Absolute brilliant classic. Superb acting by all concerned. Good story, good script, excellent
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