The Wind And The Lion (a blueprint for a United States President)
One of my favorite films of all time is John Milius’s The Wind and the Lion (1975). An epic not on the scale of another of my favorite movies, Lawrence Of Arabia, the Wind still works on various levels, including great acting, superb dialogue, outstanding cinematography, a music score by Jerry Goldsmith, and a movie excitement missing from many of our recent so-called adventure stories.
I can remember my first viewing in the summer of 1975 at the Will Rogers Theater on Western Avenue in Oklahoma City. The imagery of Brian Keith playing my favorite US President Teddy Roosevelt blew me away. The cutting screenplay by Director John Milius, especially the words given to Keith and Sean Connery, playing
Berber brigand Mulai Ahmed er Raisuli, were manly, and telling of two leaders that had their shit together. Any politician of the current day needs to listen to the words of Mr. Roosevelt and his take on how the United States needs to conduct business in the modern world.
Dialogue from the movie:
Pres. You know as well as I do we can’t have errant desperadoes running around kidnapping American citizens. If I could, I’d go there with a couple of Winchesters…battalion of marines, but I can’t do that, can I? Obviously he has no respect for human life! Threatening the lives and property of American citizens. It’s an insult in the eyes of the world community, you realize that? What do I want? I want respect! That’s what. Respect for human life and American property. And I’ll send the Atlantic Squadron to Morocco to get respect.
Mr. Hall: That’s Illegal.
Pres. Why spoil the beauty of the thing with legality?
From this you can see that our President was not a going to let American interests be trod upon by others. He demanded respect and if not given he would make sure we got it. Look at how we bow down to the little Hitler in Iran. Disgusting. Do you not think we would have that situation taken care of if we would have a President as strong a leader as Teddy was. It makes me sick to my stomach that we are now going to watch Iraq go into a civil war between religious factions now that we are leaving this county with over 4,000 dead and countless others who will suffer the effects of war.
Dialogue from the movie:
Pres. The American grizzly bear is a symbol of the American character: strength, intelligence, ferocity. Little blind and reckless at times. But courageous beyond all doubt. And one other trait that goes with all previous. Loneliness. The bear lives out his life alone…..indomitable, unconquered…..but always alone. He has no real allies, only enemies, but none of them are as great as he.
Newspaper man; you feel this might be an American trait?
Pres. Certainly. The world will never love us. They respect us. They may even grow to fear us. They will never love us…for we have too much audacity….and we’re a bit blind and reckless at times, too.
Roosevelt was right on the money. If we think we are loved by others, hell, we are not even loved by our own citizens. How disrespectful we treat our leaders, from the President on down. How we run rough shot over our founding fathers, our laws, our fighting men. Have we the attention of some of our enemies? Yes, but not all. Take Iran. Pray to God they don’t kill us before we awake the monster that can take them out.
The Wind and the Lion is a deep movie as John Milius is one of our greatest screenwriters and his words are biting. A movie make thirty-six years ago about American imperialism, just after the VIet Nam War, was not trashed then, and today stands up to our national concerns. Listen to what it says and you might understand how our presidents should play the hands given to them. If we as a nation play the fool and blink, our country might be gone sooner than you think. (written a few years ago but totally pertinent currently)