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Marathon Man (1976)

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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Writers:

(screenplay), (from: his novel)
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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
...
...
...
...
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 in hiding 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

Country:

Language:

| | | |

Release Date:

8 October 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Marathon-Mann  »

Box Office

Budget:

$6,500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On the last day of shooting, Laurence Olivier visited Dustin Hoffman at his home, bringing with him "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare" as a gift. He then proceeded to read scenes from several of the plays, much to Hoffman's delight. The actor credits the story about his conflict with Olivier to general malice on the part of writer William Goldman, who did not take kindly to the fact that Hoffman had persuaded director John Schlesinger to change the ending of Goldman's book. See more »

Goofs

At the zoo Elsa incorrectly spells the French word phoque ("seal") as "foc". See more »

Quotes

Janeway: [tantrums] Shit!
[Janeway arrives back at Szell's hideout where Karl and Erhard are waiting; Janeway is revealed as a double agent, which horrifies Babe even more]
Babe: [screams to Janeway] I saw you kill them! You killed them! You killed them! You killed them! You fucking killed them! You killed my brother!
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Super Smash Bros. Melee (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Dors, o cité oerverse
(1881)
(from 'Hérodiade')
Music by Jules Massenet
Libretto by Paul Milliet (uncredited) and Henry Grémont (uncredited)
Sung by Joseph Rouleau, with the The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House (Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra)
Conducted by John Matheson
Courtesy of London and Decca Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Solid (and Depressing) Thriller
2 November 2006 | by (Brooklyn, NY) – See all my reviews

1970s movies are so cynical, aren't they? Dark, depressing, and often grainy-looking and washed out. "Marathon Man" fits that description. It's good, of course - very good - but it's not exactly a good time. Know what I mean?

William Goldman, one of Hollywood's few celebrity screenwriters, wrote both the original novel and the script for this film version. I find him a bit overrated, but here he does a good job of elevating hack-level thriller material into a sort of art form. The beginning of the film is particularly well-written and intriguing, since it's full of creepy and cryptic events that are not immediately explained. But, alas, I find the ultimate explanation of these events to be rather prosaic and disappointing.

So, I think the movie's strengths lie in the acting and directing, more so than the story. Olivier and Scheider give particularly great performances, and Marthe Keller comes across as appropriately sweet and sexy (her big "secret," though, should be really easy for anyone to guess!) I'm a little less enamored of Dustin Hoffman, whose character is inexplicably nicknamed "Babe." He's just way too old to be a typical graduate student (almost forty years old, to be precise), and he simply doesn't have much charisma to me. Usually I like normal-looking, non-glamorous actors, but somehow Hoffman doesn't float my boat.

Still, it's hard not to sympathize with the poor guy while he's being pursued, beaten, tortured etc. The "dental horror" scene is still quite effective, though it's rather short; I was more impressed by the subsequent chase through the dark streets of NYC. (The city, by the way, looks like a hellish, crime-infested, debris-strewn pit in this movie - like it does in most 1970s productions!)

In the end, "Marathon Man" isn't quite another "French Connection," but it's got more than enough suspense to crush a lot of the dross that infests theaters today. It's worth watching just for the terrifying scene when the bad guys start tearing Hoffman's door off its hinges - it's good stuff.


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