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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 »
Edit

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

Gene Hackman had been experiencing pains in his back. The film's insurance company refused to allow the shooting to continue because a permanent injury to Hackman could have cost it a lot of money. The insurers suggested shooting the film somewhere in the deserts of the United States. But the color of the sand dunes in Agadir is not the same as the color of the sand in Nevada. Several big American transport planes were used to transport tons of sand from the Agadir dunes in order to camouflage the sand of Nevada. (Source: Beyond Casablanca, Page 131). 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

Simone Picard: [Marco has cleverly found a way to get from the troop car to the first class train car] What else can you do besides steal and climb like a monkey?
Marco Segrain: I read palms. I'm part gypsy.
See more »


Soundtracks

Le Boudin
(uncredited)
Music by Guillaume-Louis Wilhelm
The offical song of the French Foreign Legion.
See more »

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User Reviews

March or Die
9 November 2004 | by (Jakarta) – See all my reviews

is this film a classic? It surely has certain elements that could make

it one. Catherine Deneuve at her best, at the very pinnacle of her

beauty; Max Von Sydow as an archeologist who convinces the French gov't to resume digging in ruins in morocco, in an area containing unruly and savage Berber tribes that have slaughtered all comers; Gene Hackman as the legionnaire captain who has to break his promise to those very tribes that they would never venture into the area again; the guy who played Jaws in James Bond as a Russian 'volunteer' to the legion, sporting a beard that any Taliban would be envious of; some unknown as Marco, a riviera jewel thief, also 'volunteered' into the legion and a cast of doomed conscripts.

The whole film plays out like a funeral procession. the captain

(Hackman) keeps spouting his bile at the gov't, the authorities, the academics, etc. who have condoned this suicide mission, knowing full well they are throwing away men's lives for nothing. He keeps raving in fact even as the Arab tribes are massing and charging toward them.

As in any classic French foreign legion film, the doomed legionnaires are holed up in the ruins of an old castle, hopelessly outnumbered with no escape. if the Arabs don't kill them, the desert will. If the desert

doesn't kill them, the legion will kill them as deserters. There is no

salvation. Only death with honor.

In fact, there is little suspense in the film, as everyone involved

considers the mission absolutely hopeless. And they are right: they

are all gunned down or hacked apart by the desert marauders. The director has a strange sense of cruelty, methodically showing them getting it, one by one.

It's a weird sort of film that relishes and wallows in pure

nihilism. One is left wondering, 'what was the point?'.

I guess that was the idea. I kept waiting for a Hollywood ending, a

speck of optimism on the horizon, a sudden miraculous twist, but as the

credits rolled to a sonorous drum beat i realized, 'Hmmm... this is it, I guess'.

The gloom and doom telegraphed from the very beginning

played out step by step with no surprises or hitches. Sort of a

strange exercise in film-making, if you ask me.

Didn't Gene Hackman comment on this baby, "March or Die: the audience marched in and this film died"?


9 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Foster's speech to a grave ianprl
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