When an American woman, Eden Pedicaris (Candice Bergen), and her two children are kidnapped in Morocco by a Berber chieftain, Mulai Ahmed el Raisuli (Sean Connery), President Theodore Roosevelt (Brian Keith) sends warships and Marines, leading to an international confrontation. The film focuses on the personal conflict between Roosevelt and Raisuli, and on the romance between Raisuli and Mrs. Pedicaris.
The Wind and the Lion is a good old-fashioned high adventure. While it does not allow the beauty of the thing to be spoiled with obsessive accuracy, it features loving attention to period details, impressive set-piece action sequences, memorable acting and dialogue, and a sweeping musical score by Jerry Goldsmith.
The only real problem with the movie is the basic improbability of any sane woman allowing herself to be 'rescued' from Sean Connery. Or any sane man allowing Candice Bergen to be 'rescued' from him!
This Film features examples of:
- Action Film Quiet Drama Scene: Many.
- "I am bluffing too."
- Mrs. Pedicaris playing chess with Raisuli.
- Action Mom: Mrs. Pedicaris is always one, although she doesn't actively wield a weapon until half-way through the movie.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: The Bashaw
- Badass: several characters
- Badass Boast
- Big Damn Heroes: Raisuli rescuing the Pedicaris family from the desert bandits
- Blood Knight
- In the fight with the bandits, and the final duel with von Roerkel, Raisuli is clearly enjoying himself.
- Captain Jerome.
- Theodore Roosevelt would love to get out of DC, go to Morocco, and be one himself.
- Casual Danger Dialogue: Lots of it
- Catch Phrase
- "Pedicaris alive--or Raisuli dead!" (an example of Truth in Television)
- "You are a great deal of trouble."
- "No respect for human life!"
- The Cavalry
- Crowning Moment of Awesome
- Raisuli rescuing the Pedicaris family from a band of fifteen or twenty desert bandits--single handed. Not content with merely picking them off from 4-500 yards using his Mauser's iron sights while on horseback, he draws his sword and charges in to polish off the last three or four up close and personal.
- Captain Jerome's Marines storming the Bashaw's palace.
- A family friend in the beginning calmly picking off attacking Berbers...until he runs out of bullets.
- Crowning Moment of Funny:
- Most of Raisuli's below-mentioned snarking.
- The Sultan firing the machine gun.
- Crowning Music of Awesome: The score is by Jerry Goldsmith. 'Nuff said.
- Dare to Be Badass: Mrs. Pedicaris and her son William.
- Deadpan Snarker: at various times, Theodore Roosevelt, his Secretary of State John Hay, and Mrs. Pedicaris, but Raisuli has the best snark of all:
Eden Pedicaris: Why would anyone want to cut out a man's tongue?
Raisuli: Perhaps the previous owner had nothing pleasant to say.
- Eagle Land: President Roosevelt's musings on the character of the American grizzly bear. Also plays out with the reckless adventurism of the Marine captain.
- Evil Uncle: Played with. Both Raisuli and the vizier are the Sultan's uncles.
- Funny Background Event: during the above musings, a horse is rolling in the background. The director's commentary remarks that that was a coincidence, and that most people would have reshot the take.
- Final Battle: The three-sided confrontation between the Bashaw's retainers and the Germans, the Berber cavalry attacking the town from the outside, and Mrs. Pedicaris and the Marines in the middle
- Foreshadowing: There are numerous foreshadowings of World War One.
- At one point, Raisuli scoffs at Industrial Age warfare: "The Europeans have guns which fire many times promiscuously and rend the earth, but there is no honor in this; nothing is decided by this."
- Captain Jerome: "Gentlemen, if we fail and are killed, I certainly hope the world DOES go to war!"
- Fridge Logic: The Marines seize the Moroccan government to induce it to recover the Pedicaris family from the Raisuli. So how does the US end up siding with the Raisuli against the US-controlled Moroccan government? And if the Americans are dictating the course of events, why does Captain Jerome consider the Bashaw's retainers as adversaries and how did the Germans end up in the middle of the operation?
- The Germans are being opportunistic landgrabbers, and trying to grab a foothold while things were distracted.
- Gentleman Adventurer: Theodore Roosevelt; Also, Sir Joshua Kenyon-Smith, the Briton who runs out of bullets ("Oh, damn.") in the opening fight sequence
- Going Native: The kids have no problems with the idea, although their mother certainly does.
- Gory Discretion Shot: The beheading sequence
- Gunpoint Banter: Mrs. Pedicaris and Captain Jerome
- Hey, It's That Guy!:
- Hypocritical Humor: "This Roosevelt--does he have no respect for human life?!"
- Hollywood History: The real-life Pedicaris was a man, and very little of the plot is based on actual events.
- "Why spoil the beauty of the thing with accuracy?"
- Indy Ploy: The attempt to free the Raisuli
- Ineffectual Death Threats: Raisuli has no intention of harming the Pedicarises
- Insult Backfire: when the Bashaw declares to Captain Jerome (after the Marines have stormed the palace) that President Roosevelt is "a dangerous lunatic", Jerome smiles, salutes with his sword and hamtastically replies "Yes, sir!"
- Large Ham: Theodore Roosevelt; Also the Raisuli (that's "Mulai Ahmed Mohammed el Raisuli the Magnificent" to you, bub!)
- Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Raisuli and von Roerkel
- Lonely At the Top: How Roosevelt feels sometimes, ruminating about the American spirit and the loneliness of "great men".
- Mama Bear
- Major Injury Underreaction: Roosevelt hiding the fact that he'd gone blind in one eye as a result of boxing injuries.
- Mexican Standoff
- Music of Note: By Jerry Goldsmith.
- No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: How Raisuli treats the Pedicarises and his other captives . . . well, some of them, anyway.
John Hay: He kidnapped a British consul once, but they became friends and he sent him back - he spat on the blood money.
Theodore Roosevelt: Spat on it?
John Hay: Yes. There've been others, though -- Spanish and French emissaries.
Theodore Roosevelt: Did he send them back too?
John Hay: Parts of them.
- No One Gets Left Behind
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent
- Overly Long Name: Mulai Ahmed Mohammed el Raisuli
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Raisuli, and by extension all the Berbers.
- Rated "M" for Manly
- Reclining Reigner: The Bashaw when the Marines bust into the palace.
- Refuge in Audacity
- Theodore Roosevelt: "Why spoil the beauty of a thing with legality?"
- Teddy and his children shooting at a target of the Kaiser is this in-universe.
- Captain Jerome is made of this trope.
- Theodore Roosevelt: "Why spoil the beauty of a thing with legality?"
- Royal Brat: The Sultan of Morocco
- Scimitars are just better: "Men prefer to fight with swords so they can see each other's eyes."
- Shown Their Work: While the plot bears only a tangential relationship to history, Brian Keith's portrayal is very faithful to Theodore Roosevelt's personality.
- Hard-core military history buffs will also be impressed by the gorgeous matte painting shot of the armored cruiser USS Brooklyn and the Marines' Krag-Jorgensen rifles and Colt "potato digger" machine guns.
- Not to mention Captain Jerome carrying of the sword at the double (at port, flat to his body, left hand guiding the blade). Usually known only to Marine officers and noncommissioned officers, the latter only after they've been through NCO School.
- Silk Hiding Steel: Mrs Pedicaris may seem like a Victorian Proper Lady...but she's also a Lady of War with two children to protect.
- Smart People Play Chess: Raisuli and Mrs. Pedicaris, complete with pawn-point banter
- Spanish Doubling: Though the story is set in Morocco and the US, nearly everything was shot on location in Spain.
- Tear Jerker
- Title Drop: in Raisuli's letter to Roosevelt
- Train Station Goodbye: ...albeit without a train: "I'll see you again, Missus Pedicaris . . . when we are both like golden clouds on the wind."
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: between Raisuli and Mrs. Pedicaris
- Verbal Tic: Raisuli sprinkles his speech with old sayings and metaphorical turns of phrase; for instance, "The lion takes long strides, but the path is worn smooth by pygmy armies." Over the course of the story, Mrs. Pedicaris gradually matches Raisuli metaphor for metaphor, to the point where an exasperated Raisuli complains, "Missus Pedicaris, you speak like a Berber!"
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story
- Warrior Poet: Raisuli's Establishing Character Moment is him quietly reading by a fountain...while his men pillage the house behind him.
- Worthy Opponent: Roosevelt and Raisuli come to think of each other this way.
- Also, Roosevelt considers the grizzly bear to be one, which is why he insists to the taxidermist that it be displayed "in a fighting stance" and not made to "look like a hairy cow".
- When Alice asks her father to have the Raisuli brought before her in chains, Roosevelt chides her and notes "If you pick the road to greatness, and you'll have that choice someday, you'll come to realize that the road traveled by great men is dark and lonely, and lit only occasionally at intervals by other great men, and sometimes... they're your enemies... they're still the only true luxury you have."
- You No Take Candle: averted. John Hay speaks in condescending pidgin to a Japanese military attache at Roosevelt's birthday party. The Japanese officer then stands up and gives a toast to the President in perfect, fluent, downright eloquent English. After sitting down, he turns to Hay and snarks, "You likee speechee?"