***/**** Image A Sound A Extras A
starring Sean Connery, Candice Bergen, Brian Keith, John Huston
written and directed by John Milius
by Walter Chaw Based extremely loosely on an actual event, what John Milius's The Wind and the Lion is better examined as is a treatise, and an informed one, on America's continuing role as an Imperialist force bullying esteem under the title of World's Policeman. A moral right to use force to enforce ideology--a manifest belief, in fact, that the United States is an outlaw, frontier nation existing under the thinnest shine of civilization ("bring it on" our current alpha male cowboy growls, embroiled in what he once referred to as a "crusade" in a modern Middle East)--is offered a mirror in the film first by Brian Keith's exceptional Theodore Roosevelt, then by rakish Berber the Raisuli (Sean Connery), at war with his own Moroccan government in showdowns recalling Lawrence of Arabia tumbled with The Wild Bunch. The marriage of epic romance and the epic romanticization of brutality is, after all, the main ingredient of Milius's work as screenwriter (Apocalypse Now, contributions to Dirty Harry and its immediate sequel, Magnum Force) and director (the underestimated Red Dawn), as well as the stuff with which the west, at least in the history books, was won.