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March or Die (1977)

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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 ... See full summary »

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Title: March or Die (1977)

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Cast

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

Storyline

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

Taglines:

The magnificent story of every courageous man who has ever gone out to face death and every brave woman who has ever waited for him to return. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 September 1977 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

March or Die  »

Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$1,000,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

El Krim is based on the Morrocian revolutionary Abd el-Krim (1882-1963), the leader of a large-scale armed resistance movement in the Rif, a Berber area of north-eastern Morocco. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Marco Segrain: [facing a line of new recruits and citing the late Major Foster] Some of will give up. Some of you will even try to run. I warn you, until now no one succeeded. When the Legion doesn't get you, the Arabs will. When the Arabs won't catch you, the desert will. And when the desert doesn't devour your measly corpses, then I will. I wouldn't know what's worse
See more »

Connections

Version of Legionnaire (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

La Marseillaise
(uncredited)
By Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Grim Slogan of the Foreign Legion
20 January 2013 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

March Or Die, the grim slogan of the French Foreign Legion is the title of this film starring Gene Hackman as an American with the Legion in World War I. The time is post the first World War and the Legion is now returning to colonial policing duty in the various French colonies of North Africa.

Where during their absence the natives of Islamic persuasion have become quite restless and they've found themselves a leader in Ian Holm playing the real Abdel Krim. Krim is looking for something to unite the various tribes under his banner and he's found a cause in an archaeological expedition headed by Max Von Sydow that is being accompanied by Hackman and his troops on their return to Morocco.

In real life Krim was quite the charismatic leader and a warrior as opposed to a terrorist. His exploits were front page news around the world and a caricature of him is the basis for the operetta The Desert Song by Sigmund Romberg.

Von Sydow wants to dig up some precious relics and the gold contained therein for the French treasury. That's why he's getting Legion protection. Hackman is of mixed feelings as he's seen too much of war recently on the western front.

March Or Die is a fine film and a fitting tribute to the Legion who though made of the riffraff of the world has a combat record second to none. These guys know they're society's dregs and there's plenty more where they came from. So straggling is not encouraged.

Hackman, Von Sydow and Holm fill their roles out well. And there are two other principal parts, Catherine Deneuve as a widow financing the Von Sydow expedition and Terrence Hill taking a break from spaghetti westerns playing a jewel thief who gets kind of hammerlocked into joining the Legion in Paris.

The battle scenes and other scenes depicting life in the Legion weren't staged any better in the many incarnations of Beau Geste. March Or Die will be the ultimate Foreign Legion film.


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