The Wind and the Lion (1975)

Genres - Adventure, Historical Film  |   Sub-Genres - Costume Adventure  |   Release Date - May 22, 1975 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 119 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Dan Friedman

Once a while, a film resurfaces or is come upon that proves to be incredibly effective and powerful not because of any specific aspect of its plot or characters, but because during the passage of time, history has proven the film to be either prescient or an eerie parallel to current events. Produced in the mid-'70s, The Wind and the Lion, when viewed through the prism of today, is practically a mirror image of goings-on in the Middle East. The film, written and directed by John Milius, tells the true story (with some adjustments) of an American woman (Candice Bergen) and her children, who are abducted in Morocco by a Berber chieftain played by Sean Connery. This act leads to an overblown military response by the Americans, led by President Theodore Roosevelt and Secretary of State John Hay played incredibly effectively by Brian Keith and John Huston, respectively. Keith in particular captures the spirit of Roosevelt to a tee. In their desire to assert the power of America across the globe in a re-election year for Roosevelt, the Marines invade Morocco and take over. Insert Bush for Roosevelt and Osama bin Laden for the Connery character, and it's downright creepy. It's to the film's benefit that modern viewers can draw these parallels, because there are a lot of holes that are covered over by them. Bergen's character goes through a change that isn't really very believable, and Connery as the chieftain loses some authenticity every time he speaks with his usual Scottish accent. It gives off the aura of a sort of low-budget epic. The sets and costumes are all impressive, but the overall look of the film seems muted. The ending in particular is rather powerful, and Milius puts dialogue in the mouths of his actors that sends chills down the spine when one is reminded that history is more or less repeating itself.