The Wind and the Lion

Score Analysis by Dirk Wickenden
Originally published in Legend: Issue 21/1996
The Official Jerry Goldsmith Film Music Society Journal
Text reproduced by kind permission of the author, Dirk Wickenden

Author’s note – this analysis was written when the only recording available was the original Intrada CD of the old Arista LP and from a VHS tape of a television broadcast, years before the film’s release on DVD

Overture – The Film – Background

The Wind and the LionColumbia’s 1975 presentation of THE WIND AND THE LION was written and directed by John Milius (script writer on MAGNUM FORCE and APOCALYPSE NOW, the director of CONAN THE BARBARIAN and FLIGHT OF THE INTRUDER, to name a few achievements). The film was based on a true story, that of an American named Pedecaris, who was kidnapped in the early 1900s by El Raisuli, an Arab pirate. The man was released a few days later, but Milius saw the potential for an epic film, full of high adventure. The idea was bandied around Hollywood for seven years, until producer Herb Jaffe became interested and joined the project.

The ever-reliable Sean Connery received top billing as Mulay EI Raisuli, with Candice Bergen as Eden Pedecaris. Brian Keith portrayed Theodore Roosevelt, whilst famous director John Huston starred as the presidential advisor, John Hay. The Pedecaris role was originally meant for Faye Dunaway, whilst the screen presence of Connery as a (Scottish) wisecracking Arab is what elevated the production above its rather disjointed narrative (although this may be due to editing of the rough cut before final release).


In 1904 Morocco, Eden Pedecaris, her son and daughter are kidnapped by a Berber tribe, enabling Raisuli to bargain with his rulers and the invading Americans and Europeans. Seeing that it might help his re-election prospects, President Roosevelt involves himself and dispatches the U.S marines to the area.

The Music – Background

Composer Jerry Goldsmith had scored another Connery-starrer, RANSOM in 1974 but THE WIND AND THE LION clearly outshines that British film in relation to the score. There are elements of this score that resemble other Goldsmith works but one must not hold this against him. Goldsmith created a symphonic work of great complexity, utilising Moroccan rhythms and scales, adapted for western instruments. He employed a large percussion section, including timbales, small bass drum, tenor drum, bongos, field drum and elephant drums, as well as the ‘normal’ usage of snare drums, cymbals, bass drum, and timpani. Often, the percussion dominates the proceedings, but never overpowers the other instruments, such as clarinet, bassoon, violin, viola, and cello. One can view two sections of the manuscript in Roy Prendergast’s book “Film Music: A Neglected Art” – details in the bibliography following this article.


There are more motifs contained in this score than in many of Goldsmith’s more recent scores [author’s note 1996, at time of writing], which have tended to employ a monothematic approach:

Fanfare Motif: A five-note motif; used in various orchestrations throughout, mainly on brass. It is used to prefix many of the action sequences (and main titles). A variation of this motif is used at various points, for example The Palace.
The Lion: My own terminology for the rousing theme for Raisuli, used to illustrate various scenes, most with the Berber chief present. One moment introspective, the next expansive. Again, orchestrated for different instruments, most notably flute, strings and trumpets.
The Wind: My own terminology for the American’s “Presidential” theme – only used once, in the Yellowstone footage.
Love Theme: An expansive, expressive theme for flute and celli and often counterpointed for strings, and also flute /celli, sometimes countered by woodwind.
Ethnic Theme: Mainly on agitated violins; also on clarinets and trumpets (most notably in the cue Raisuli Attacks).


During my preparation of this analysis, I engaged in research of the music and musical instruments of the region in which The Wind and the Lion took place.  Although it should be noted that Jerry Goldsmith used oboes, cor anglais (English horn) and bassoons to emulate the sound of the ethnic wind instruments.

From Morocco to Turkey, there is a mish-mash of peoples who share a common culture. The dominant inhabitants of Pre-Islamic North Africa were the Berbers (in the film, the tribe that kidnaps the Pedecaris family is Berber), who were driven into the desert and mountains by the rise of Islam during the seventh century and the migratory Bedouin Arabs in the eleventh century. The Berbers are today Moslem, but their culture is a mixture of native and Moslem ideals.

The ingredients of the region’s music consist of the remains of the Greco-Roman occupation and Berber and Jewish songs. The Moors in Spain in the fifteenth century also had great influence on the courts of Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, as did Hispanic musicians. Today, Berber songs and dances are only to be found in the Atlas mountains, due to the Bedouin invasion in the thirteenth century. A description of various indigenous instruments follows: Most folk music is vocal, occasionally accompanied by a tambourine. The most common names are the Taar, Duff, and Bendair. These are very similar in construction to the ones available in the western world, with membranophones in the region – Tabl refers to the cylindrical drums, along with ones with kettle-shaped bodies. The most common drum is the Darburka (Daraburka) or Tombak, consisting of a metal or pottery body.

Under the category of aerophones, the Gasba (or Gasaba) is an end-blown flute, with five or six fingerholes. It is played slanted to the player’s side as in the case of the ancient Egyptian Sib. Gasba are constructed of cane or metal. The Nira is a short recorder-like flute, which is played in the towns of northern Morocco. The double reed Shawm is another instrument with a conical and flared bell, varyingly called the Zukra, Zamr or Gaita. Players place a reed inside their mouth (listening to the score, one can hear nasally-sounding instruments, which are possibly of this type – ask Mr Goldsmith!).

Yet another aerophone is the double clarinet Argul, Yarul, Zamar or Zamr, which has two pipes with each sporting a single reed, placed inside the mouth of the player, with five or six fingerholes. There are no octave holes in the pipe, so melodies are on the two pipes, or use one as a drone. Various sizes abound, the largest of which is in Egypt, with a four feet long drone pipe. Another double clarinet is the Sghanin, which is specific to Morocco.

As for stringed instruments, a three-stringed plucked lute (the Lutar) is unique to the Berbers, whilst the western violin is utilised by Moslems as a replacement for the Rehab, a forerunner of the violin. There is also the Moroccan two-stringed Rabab., an upright bowed lute. A member of the lute family appears to be used in the score – most probably not the Lutar.

The Score

The main titles start with the brassy five note Fanfare, leading into the Lion Theme. This segues to high register violins riding the waves breaking on a beach (Main Title).

The film cuts back and forth between horsemen (galloping through the surf) and a tribe – Goldsmith uses Moroccan percussion. Then the horsemen attack! This would have been an ideal situation in which to employ a cut-back cue.

We cut to a view of Tangier. At the Pedecaris’ house, it is peaceful, with only the sounds of cicadas, peacocks, birds and a high register string pad. This cross-cuts to the horsemen riding through the streets, again accompanied by percussion. Back at the house, a servant approaches Eden’s table and falls across it with a knife in his back, with a string scored hard hit attached. The Fanfare precedes a horse breaking through a fence. The violins present the Ethnic motif as the Berbers chase the family. Goldsmith follows a servant’s fall through a window to the ground below with the strings, ending in brass.  Woodwinds emulating a shawm and counterpointed strings play through the chaos. Amidst this mayhem, a horseman quietly asks Eden’s daughter Jennifer to go with him and this allows the composer to write a string cell, leading into a flute rendition of the Lion Theme. The film then shifts back to the carnage in the house and this cut is accompanied by the brassy Fanfare (The Horsemen).

The camera shifts to a shot of Raisuli’s back. The flute presents his theme with strings in counterpoint as he turns around. He mounts a horse taken by his men and there is a motif that sounds very much like the Klingon Theme Goldsmith would utilise four years later in STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE. The horse bucks and kicks to playful strings and woodwinds as Raisuli is thrown. Eden laughs and a sword is held to her throat. Raisuli rises nobly to the Fanfare and mounts his own horse. There is a bridge for percussion and then another Fanfare on brass as he slaps Eden (The Raisuli).

Flute and oboe continue the Lion Theme as the camera centres on Morocco as shown on the globe. The film has cut to America and we see John Hay talking to President Roosevelt. The following scenes, showing Roosevelt engaged in various sports whilst talking about the Pedecaris’ kidnapping, are left unscored. Cut to a view of the sea, accompanied by a flute fanfare. We see Eden’s son asleep, and hear the Ethnic Theme on flute and light bells. The Berbers awaken Eden and Jennifer to oboe and violins continuing the ethnic motif. The high register strings play the Lion Theme, which the celli then continue, with a high register string counterpoint. As Eden attempts to change her clothes beneath a blanket, under the watchful eyes of the men, Goldsmith scores agitato violins (Morning Camp).

As the tribe rides on. The Ethnic Theme with percussion and strings underscore Raisuli’s conversation with Eden. The film cuts to a palace in Tangier – as two Americans converse with the prince, there is quiet percussion (probably sourced).

Cut to Berbers galloping on horses. The Fanfare is presented on oboe and harp. Strings perform the Ethnic Theme. At Raisuli’s oasis, he beheads two men for eating fruit from ‘his’ trees. No ‘shock music’ is used. The Lion Theme on flute and violins with percussion is joined by the brass Fanfare. The strings switch to a counterpoint as Eden and Raisuli argue.

The film next shows Roosevelt on a train with a sourced marching band (playing Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight) as he is cheered by townsfolk. He makes a statement for the press – “Pedecaris alive or Raisuli dead”. As the train departs, the band plays Rally Round the Flag.

Cutting back to Morocco, strings and brass counterpoint play the Ethnic Theme, with percussion. The Lion Theme on flute and oboe describe scenes of the tribe’s lifestyle.

At night, Eden is in Raisuli’s tent and we are treated to the Love Theme on strings with a countering oboe and embellishment on harp (True Feelings). Cut to day, and horsemen arrive at the camp with Roosevelt’s press release. Raisuli is outraged, with the Fanfare on flute and pizzicato strings.

The film cuts to the “Presidential Hunting Camp on the Yellowstone”, as the subtitles tell us, with typical Western movie strings and brass – the Wind motif is played on oboe, countered by French horns performing the Fanfare. Roosevelt talks to reporters about the grizzly bear he shot (historically, this is how Teddy bears got their name). The dialogue is left unscored.

Cut to “Fez – The Seat of the Sultan”, ethnic-sounding oboes and cor anglais play the Ethnic Theme joined by counterpointed violins and percussion. The following scenes with the Sultan and Americans are left unscored.

The film next shows the Berbers, accompanied by the Fanfare, countered by the Ethnic Theme (in a dirge) as they ride into town. An oboe pronounces the Lion Theme. This leads into a new cue – Ethnic motif on flutes, oboes and strings in counterpoint. We then see Eden’s son and daughter, William and Jennifer, talking (The Palace).

The Wind and the Lion

Cut to President Roosevelt’s birthday party, which, apart from the partygoers singing “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow”, is left unscored.

The film cuts to Tangier – a regal brass fanfare is joined by snare drums, comprising a short cue. Goldsmith remains silent as American marines discuss military intervention.

We next see Eden and her children in an escape attempt – there is a suspenseful harp and string pad, joined thereafter by flute and piano. A hard hit is scored as William strikes a guard over the head (twice – no less!). Oboe, flute and clarinet ascend, then strings and oboe and cor anglais present the Ethnic Theme and timpani accompanies the horse ride away.

The sun rises after the long ride across the desert to ethnic flute, percussion and pizzicato strings. Mid-range strings announce the arrival at the sea. Piano joins in, in a cue reminiscent of Planet of the Apes. The cue continues on French horn, celli, high register strings and percussion. As an Arab who assisted in the escape attempt betrays the family, Raisuli appears on the sand dunes and shoots the bad guys. An alternative trumpet fanfare and percussion, together with strings, underscore this scene. In this action sequence, the trumpet section puts on a fine display, as do agitated violins (Raisuli Attacks). As Raisuli goes to Eden, he is followed by the “Love Theme” on strings and flute. The film cuts to the camp as the theme continues on flute and counterpointed oboe – this music is tracked from the earlier use of “True Feelings”.

Crossfade to Tangier Harbour with a snare source. More drums join in as American marines march into Tangier and towards the palace. Snares re-enter as there is a battle with the palace guards. The Americans occupy the palace to the sound of a sourced marching band.

Cut to a horse and carriage in America with John Hay. A band in the bandstand performs Just a Song at Twilight as the President is rifle shooting.

Raisuli is in front of a fire. Clarinet plays a motif that reminds one of The Monument from Logan’s Run. The conversation with Eden is underscored by flutes. Strings and oboe with celli perform the Lion Theme. Cut to morning and horsemen appear, scored with percussion and flute, and clarinet fanfare with a deal from Roosevelt (The Legend).

The desert at night, with percussion and a string fanfare, “The Lion Theme” is featured on the brass. This segues to the Love Theme on flute as the tribe rides out. “The Ethnic Theme” is on violas, then this leads into the “Lion Theme” with soaring strings, which tale out to a crossfade to later on in the journey, with the men singing (Lord of the Riff).

Fade to night, with the Lion Theme on harp, suspenseful strings, eerie flute and bells. As they ride into town, Germans ambush them. The U.S Marines Corps approach, scored with snares, and takes the Pedecaris family inside a building for safety. With Raisuli a prisoner of the Germans, more of his men plan his rescue. This is tracked with the Flute Fanfare and Ethnic motif from Morning Camp.

Cut to Eden and company as William dreams of his adventures with Raisuli. Goldsmith scores the “Love Theme” on harp and oboe, with high register strings and a member of the lute family (presumably the composer is using this theme to also signify the adventure-filled narrative). The boy awakens to a marine playing a harmonica.

Eden forces the American captain and his men to help her rescue Raisuli. They emerge from the relative safety of the building as the film cuts to Raisuli’s followers with brass and woodwind fanfare (part of the cue on the album entitled The Letter). A battle ensues between the Americans, the Germans and Berbers, with the fanfare, violin and flute trills. The Lion Theme is presented by the brass. The following battle scenes are unscored. Eden frees Raisuli and he grabs her rifle, to the Love Theme on celli and violins, and bids her farewell. (This is part of the album cue Something of Value). Strings lead into the trumpet section’s skilful playing tracked from Raisuli Attacks. The German captain fights Raisuli from horseback and is knocked off. Raisuli lets him live. As William holds his rifle out for the Berber chief to take, the film goes into slow motion as he gallops past, reaching for the weapon to the brass fanfare, which crossfades to breaking surf. This cuts to Roosevelt talking about Eden’s recovery and about decorating the marines involved. He reads a letter from Raisuli to an introspective theme on woodwind (The Letter). The letter states that Roosevelt is “like the wind” and Raisuli is “like the lion”.

Cut to sunset by the sea. Raisuli and one of his men are talking. “We have lost everything” the man says. “Is there not one thing in life worth losing everything for?” answers Raisuli. This leads into the end titles, scored with a repeat of the main title cue.

Goldsmith’s ethnic score is multi-faceted, with many themes. The leitmotif approach works well. It is powerful, and proves that the Mickey-Mousing can sound sophisticated. The score was nominated for an Academy Award, but lost to John Williams’ Jaws. Perhaps Jerry Goldsmith should be given a film of this nature in the near future, giving him the chance to fashion an epic score. The recent {at time of writing] FIRST KNIGHT, in relation to the music, is a step in the right direction.

Seventeen Years Ago…

Now here we are in 2013 and looking back, it is staggering to realise seventeen years have passed since I wrote the above analysis for Legend. The majority of the article is still as valid as it was then and the excellent double disc Intrada set of 2007 ‘fills in the gaps’ for things I had to rely on my hearing for, listening to a VHS of the film. It was also an interesting exercise in researching the ‘real’ music and instruments of the locale that the film was set in and to impart something beyond a straightforward analysis of one of Jerry Goldsmith’s best scores.


• Music Cultures of the Pacific, The Near East and Asia by William P. Malm (2nd edition)-Prentice-Hall, New Jersey
• Colour Encyclopedia of Musical Instruments by Alexander Buchner – Hamlyn, London 1980.
• Musical Instruments of the World – edited by Ruth Midgley – Paddington Press, U.K. 1976.
• Film Music: A Neglected Art (2nd Edition) by Roy M. Prendergast – W.M. Norton, New York 1992.
• The Films of Sean Connery by Robert Sellers – Vision Press, London 1991.



  • toonava on said:

    Leonard was the stunt coordinator and did some of the stunts and also has a minor part as Roosevelt’s boxing opponent early in the film.

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