A graduate history student is unwittingly caught in the middle of an international conspiracy involving stolen diamonds, an exiled Nazi war criminal, and a rogue government agent.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Doc
...
...
...
Richard Bright ...
Karl
...
Erhard
Allen Joseph ...
Babe's Father
Tito Goya ...
Ben Dova ...
Lou Gilbert ...
Rosenbaum
Jacques Marin ...
LeClerc
James Wing Woo ...
Chen
Nicole Deslauriers ...
Nicole
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Storyline

In New York, the brother of an infamous Nazi war criminal is killed in a head-on collision with an oil truck. Shortly thereafter, members of a covert U.S. government group called the Division begin being murdered one by one. Meanwhile, graduate student and marathon runner Thomas "Babe" Levy researches history as his father, who committed suicide after the Communist witch hunts of the McCarthy era ruined his reputation. When he sees his brother, one Division member, stabbed to death, it is revealed that Christian Szell, the White Angel of Auschwitz, is wrapping up loose ends to smuggle priceless diamonds from the United States. Written by Anthony Hughes <husnock31@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

One man's dangerous attempts to clear his father's name. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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| | | |

Release Date:

8 October 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Marathon-Mann  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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|

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although William Goldman adapted the script from his own novel, Robert Towne did an uncredited rewrite for the film's climax (see "Spoilers" below). See more »

Goofs

Dr. Szell is supposed to be living in Uruguay before going to New York. We see shots of what is supposed to be Uruguay which show people traveling in canoes through the jungle, but in Uruguay there is no jungle. See more »

Quotes

[addressing his class]
Professor Biesenthal: Well, you four have the dubious honor of having been picked from over two hundred applicants for this seminar. Well, let me just say this. There's a shortage of natural resources. There's a shortage of breathable air, there's even a shortage of adequate claret. But there is no shortage of historians. We grind you out like link sausages. That's called progress. Manufacturing doctorates is called progress. Well, I say, "Let us hush this cry of progress until ten thousand ...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

The ending credits scroll with Babe's jogging route as a backdrop. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Monk: Mr. Monk Goes to the Dentist (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Le Tram
Music by Charles Mougeot (as C. Mougeot)
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User Reviews

 
A prime example of the way highly styled entertainment should be…
1 September 2007 | by (Mexico) – See all my reviews

Schlesinger made a great action-suspense film and married it to the artistry of unique talents… Hoffman was, by then, a dynamic, young and incredibly versatile film actor with three Academy Award nominations already under his belt for "The Graduate," "Midnight Cowboy," and "Lenny."

But the key to "Marathon Man" was the chemistry between its stars… Perhaps one of the most gut-wrenching and most memorable scenes in the film comes when Hoffman is captured and tortured by Olivier who plays the role of a mean and vicious and sadistic Nazi war criminal, Christian Szell… Olivier's performance resulted in a 1976 Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor…

In 1945, Szell ran the experimental camp at Auschwitz where they called him the White Angel… He was a dentist and could provide escape for any Jew who was willing to pay the price… He started out with gold, naturally, but very quickly worked his way up to diamonds…

As Szell saw the end early, he sneaked his brother into America with the diamonds… And they were right here, in New York, in a safe deposit-box until Szell's brother got killed in a head-on collision with an oil truck…

Uniquely built, and with a marvelous, rugged face, Roy Scheider, well known for his strong performances in "The French Connection," "Klute," and "Jaws," came on board as Hoffman's mysterious businessman brother, getting the rare chance to play a character that's both hero and villain… Doc is a fascinating guy because he chooses to work out his problems in a much different way than Dustin's character does… He was very touched and very moved by his father's death, but he abandoned all his hopes for whatever he intended to do and he became a spy, a killer, a very jaded personality…

In doing something truly suspenseful, Schlesinger accomplished a film that's largely about fear and it's about pain and the infliction of pain because of fear… The thrilling sensation of great expectations came on the 47th Street in the diamond district in New York, where Schlesinger gets the best of it…


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