During the 1920s, French Foreign Legion Major William Foster's unit is protecting an archaeological dig but the discovery of an Arab sacred burial site prompts the angry Arab tribes to attack Foster's small garrison.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Maj. William Sherman Foster
Marco Segrain
Simone Picard
Francois Marneau
El Krim
Sgt. Triand
Lt. Fontaine
Top Hat
Paul Sherman ...
Fred Hastings
Mean Corporal
Luigi Bonos ...
Wolf Kahler ...
First German
Matthias Hell ...
Second German


Foreign Legion Major Foster (Hackman), an American haunted by his memories of the recently-ended Great War, is assigned to protect a group of archaeologists at their dig. Foster's unit includes the charming, thieving rascal Marco (Hill), who joined the Legion only to avoid prison. After long stretches portraying the boredom and hardship of day-to-day life in the Legion, Foster's command occupies a small village where the archaeologists believe they've found a burial site sacred to the Arabs. An Arab leader (Holm) uses this affront to unite the tribes in Jihad, and attacks the tiny Legion garrison at the dig. An epic battle follows, very reminiscent of the film "Zulu". Costumes, firearms, and props are all very authentic-looking, and show great attention to detail. Written by Cameron Fairchild <fairchop@ix.netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Foreign Legion! Only the desperate joined. Only the lucky ones survived. See more »


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

8 September 1977 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Marchar o morir  »

Box Office


$9,000,000 (estimated)


$1,000,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film cast includes one Oscar winner: Gene Hackman; and three Oscar nominees: Catherine Deneuve, Ian Holm and Max von Sydow. See more »


The Legion uses French military equipment and customs. Yet in one scene, when the new recruits are awakened one morning, an American bugle call (reveille) is used. See more »


Lt. Fontaine: [Top Hat has collapsed during an open desert march; Marco, without Fontaine's permission, falls out of formation to help his comrade] Leave that man alone! In the Legion, you march, or die!... Get his pack and rifle, and rejoin the column.
See more »


For He's a Jolly Good Fellow
See more »

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User Reviews

Great cast AND really good movie
2 November 2000 | by (Montréal, Québec) – See all my reviews

MARCH OR DIE has one impressive cast: Gene Hackman, Terence Hill (in one of his rare movie that you can take seriously), Catherine Deneuve, Max von Sydow, Ian Holm...

Great script that has everything well balanced: humor, action, suspense, drama. It will please those who like good war movies, those who like historical movies, and those who like just plain good movies!

This is the ultimate movie about one of the ultimate elite troop in history: the Légion Étrangère.

20 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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