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Skeleton Coast (1988)

During the Angola Civil War, CIA agent Michael Smith is captured by the Communists, prompting a rescue mission organized by his father aided by hired mercenaries.


John 'Bud' Cardos


Nadia Caillou (screenplay), Harry Alan Towers (story) (as Peter Welbeck)


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This project was unfinished.

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ernest Borgnine ... Col. Bill Smith
Robert Vaughn ... Maj. Schneider
Oliver Reed ... Capt. David Simpson
Herbert Lom ... Elia
Simon Sabela Simon Sabela ... Sekassi
Daniel Greene ... Rick Weston
Leon Isaac Kennedy ... Chuck
Nancy Mulford ... Sam
Peter Kwong ... Tohsiro
Robin Townsend Robin Townsend ... Opal
Arnold Vosloo ... Blade
Tullio Moneta Tullio Moneta ... Armando
Larry Taylor ... Robbins
Jonathan Rands Jonathan Rands ... Michael Smith
Rudi De Jager Rudi De Jager ... Luit. Schmidt


An elderly American soldier arrives in Angola, where he has organised an audacious mission to spring his son, an imprisoned CIA agent, out of a heavily fortified stronghold. Written by Jonathon Dabell <BC602070@pixie.ntu.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It started with a kidnapping, it ended with a war.


Action | History | War


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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South Africa | USA



Release Date:

14 April 1988 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Skeleton Coast See more »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Klaus Kinski, Christopher Lee, and Donald Pleasence were all considered for key roles. See more »

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User Reviews

Ernest Goes To Africa
23 June 2016 | by BezenbySee all my reviews

It's yet another late eighties adventure/action film featuring such greats as Ernest Borgnine, Herbert Lom, Oliver Reed, Robert Vaughn and…Daniel Greene (from Atomic Cyborg and many, many Italian action films – maybe he got lost on his way to some Fabrizia De Angelis production?). This one has a kind of Dirty Dozen type deal going on which I'll explain….now: Over in some African country I never bothered remembering the name of, Borgnine's son gets kidnapped by the government (or the rebels, something like that), and Ernest goes to Africa to get him back, employing the help of Herbet Lom, then gathering together a rag tag group of mercenaries (Daniel Greene, token chick, token martial artist, old man, religious nut etc) and heads off into the desert with loads of guns to get him back. You know, the usual crap.

It's fun watching Borgnine and his crew blowing the crap out of stuff, and facing off first against Oliver Reed's security forces (you've got to love the way the film makes you think that Reed will come back for another battle, but vanishes from the film instead) then Robert Vaughan's nazi-style forces. Things blow up, people fire machines guns at each other, and is it just me or did Borgnine and his crew just flat out murder those smugglers in order to get that plane? Why are action films from this era so appealing? I'm not sure. There's no barrage of over-stylised shots, no self-parody, no Tarantinoisms, and no modern film would end with such a cheesy freeze frame like this one does. That all helps. Plus, who doesn't like Ernest Borgnine? He was Mermaid Man!

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