Sir William Walker (Marlon Brando) is the aristocratic secret agent sent by Britain to secure a profitable Portuguese sugar cane plantation for the Crown. When he arrives, he befriends the black dockworker Jose (Evaristo Marquez) and plants revolutionary ideas in his head. Walker talks Jose into robbing a bank and builds him up as a national hero in the process. Teddy Sanchez (Renato Salvatori) is the hotel desk clerk with political aspirations who falls under Walker's spell. The blacks revolt on the night of a festival parade that allows them to be disguised and move around without suspicion. Jose turns his troops over to Teddy, who assumes control of the island. Walker returns to Britain but is summoned ten years later to stop a revolution led by Jose against the now corrupt government headed by Teddy. British troops attack the island and hundreds are killed including Teddy who is executed for treason. The sugar cane crops perish in flames when Jose mounts an attack against the British. When William offers him freedom, Jose refuses by stating "freedom is something you take for yourself." Jose is assassinated and becomes yet another martyr for the cause against colonialism. A drunk and despondent William prepares to leave the island realizing he is just as much a pawn as the men he initially incited to revolt. ~ Dan Pavlides, Rovi
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This will undoubtedly go into my all time top ten. Brando described this as his best work, and although I am not a follower of his films, I am inclined to fall behind his assertion. I put this one up there with "The Spook Who Sat by the Door".
The acting is solid, the plot is intriguing, and the message is profound and clear. What more could you ask for in a film?
Brando played the role of a tough merc with perfection. And he does it with a cool Brit accent. This movie, above all others, best explains how to fight and win guerilla wars. A smart movie that is not to be missed by Brando fans. One of his best.
If it wasn't for Brando, this movie would be fodder for the trash. The editing and quality of the film leave alot to be desired, but the script, especially the stretches of pure rambling, lead to a rather contrived and boring storyline, too.
The movie is not totally without merit however. It does rather accurately portray the lengths the Brits would go to in order to protect their colonial prizes. It does accurately delineate the basics of guerilla warfare. It does have a good performance by Brando. But all of these things added together do not make the movie a must watch. In fact, it is definately a DO NOT watch if you are only interested in flicks that entertain....since this is not what the movie strives to do!