March or Die (1977)

PG  |   |  Drama, War, Adventure  |  8 September 1977 (West Germany)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.3/10 from 2,121 users  
Reviews: 25 user | 6 critic

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 »



(story), (story), 1 more credit »
0Check in

Watch Now

From $7.99 on Amazon Video




Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Rivaling Pirates and Spanish gold are the ingredients for this story. Blackie the pirate is the one who first hears from this shipment of gold when he encounters "Don" Pedro. He thinks of a... See full summary »

Director: Lorenzo Gicca Palli
Stars: Terence Hill, Silvia Monti, George Martin
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Two missionaries (Bud Spencer and Terence Hill) come into conflict with the authorities when they turn their missionary into a parrot farm. The Bishop of Maracaibo calls them his 'black ... See full summary »

Director: Franco Rossi
Stars: Terence Hill, Bud Spencer, Jean-Pierre Aumont
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Renegade Luke has been living an easy life so far, travelling through the southwest with his horse Joe, making money by running small-time scams. All this comes to an end when he encounters... See full summary »

Director: Enzo Barboni
Stars: Terence Hill, Robert Vaughn, Ross Hill
Mr. Billion (1977)
Drama | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Anthony Falcon is a billionaire. After he dies, he leaves his entire estate to his Italian nephew, Guido Falcone, a mechanic who wishes to be a cowboy. To get his inheritance, he has to go ... See full summary »

Director: Jonathan Kaplan
Stars: Terence Hill, Valerie Perrine, Jackie Gleason
Boot Hill (1969)
Western | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Victims of oppressive town boss Honey are offered help by an unusual alliance of gunmen and circus performers

Director: Giuseppe Colizzi
Stars: Terence Hill, Woody Strode, Bud Spencer
Lucky Luke (1991)
Comedy | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

Lucky Luke becomes the Sheriff of Daisy Town and runs out all the criminals. Then the Dalton brothers arrive and try to get the Indians to break the peace treaty and attack the town.

Director: Terence Hill
Stars: Terence Hill, Nancy Morgan, Roger Miller
Go for It (1983)
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Two men meet each other in a strange situation and end up being mistaken for robbers first, for secret service agents later.

Director: Enzo Barboni
Stars: Terence Hill, Bud Spencer, Buffy Dee
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The "Trinity" crew makes another modern era film. Plata and Salud are pilots ditching aircraft for insurance money. They wind up crashing for real in the jungles of South America. The plot ... See full summary »

Director: Giuseppe Colizzi
Stars: Terence Hill, Bud Spencer, Reinhard Kolldehoff
Action | Comedy | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

By his dying father's last wish Joe is sent to the Wild West to become a real guy. The dreamy young man despises guns and fights, likes poems and prefers bicycles to horses. Now his three ... See full summary »

Director: Enzo Barboni
Stars: Terence Hill, Gregory Walcott, Yanti Somer
Super Fuzz (1980)
Action | Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Red powder from a nuclear explosion gives a police officer super powers as long as he doesn't see anything red. He is eventually framed for murder and is unsuccessfully executed by many different methods.

Director: Sergio Corbucci
Stars: Terence Hill, Ernest Borgnine, Joanne Dru
Crime Busters (1977)
Action | Comedy | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An attempted robbery turns to be an unexpected recruitment when two unemployed men mistakenly break into a police office instead of a store.

Director: Enzo Barboni
Stars: Terence Hill, Bud Spencer, David Huddleston
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

In 1978, $20 million was stolen from a Detroit bank. One of the robbers was caught, one was found dead, and the third disappeared. The money was never found. Seven years later, the robber ... See full summary »

Director: Bruno Corbucci
Stars: Terence Hill, Bud Spencer, C.B. Seay


Cast overview, first billed only:
Maj. William Sherman Foster
Marco Segrain
Simone Picard
Francois Marneau
El Krim
Sgt. Triand
Marcel Bozzuffi ...
Lt. Fontaine
Top Hat
Paul Sherman ...
Fred Hastings
Mean Corporal
Marne Maitland ...
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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Foreign Legion - they were the greatest fighting force of all time and they obeyed but one command - [March Or Die] 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?


Selected by Quentin Tarantino for the First Quentin Tarantino Film Fest in Austin, Texas, 1996. 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 »


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 »


For He's a Jolly Good Fellow
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Really a very good war movie, but could have been epic
4 April 2011 | by (Seattle, Washington) – See all my reviews

This movie *could* have been as epic a movie as, say, "Apocalypse Now," "Lawrence of Arabia," or "Platoon." Instead we have a colorful, atmospheric period piece, set largely in the Moroccan desert, that plays like a wealthier version of "The Siege of Firebase Gloria." Not that that in itself serves to denigrate this movie. Not at all. Heck, "The Siege of Firebase Gloria" is a pretty decent war pic in its own right. It's just that I get this nagging feeling, that "March or Die," with a little extra input on production values, wider desert shots, more background flashbacks, etc., *could* have been a much more memorable, larger-than-life sort of picture.

But what "March or Die" lacks in the sheer epic expanse of other big-name war movies, it more than makes up for with carefully measured performances by the principal characters, not the least of which is that turned in by Gene Hackman, who plays a certain Major Foster - a cynical but nonetheless highly disciplined former American officer, booted from the "vaunted" army of America, who has found his military niche in the austere, almost mysterious world of the French Foreign Legion.

How exactly a Yank ends up in command of a Foreign Legion battalion leaves a little to the imagination - or at least prompts the viewer to make the necessary allowances for artistic license. True, the FFL was, and is, open to recruits from just about any country, but most of the officer ranks are usually reserved for the French. Some of the officers do in fact work their way up from the bottom, so maybe this explains Major Foster's leadership position.

In any case, I felt it was one of the better performances of Hackman's career. Though his Major Foster is an officer clearly under a lot of personal stress, with a lot of "ghosts in his closet," Hackman carefully avoids the temptation to imbue this man with excessive amounts of passion that I seem to associate with a Gene Hackman performance. And it works well in this movie, because he is *supposed* to be a man of discipline. In fact one of his more memorable lines in the movie is when he reminds a group of unruly recruits, on their way to joining up with the Legion, that "the Legion is the most disciplined army in the world."

The movie itself is a fairly engrossing mixture of military action and political intrigue - namely, certain powers in France saw fit to use Major Foster's Legion battalion as a sort of "protection squad" to help protect a vital archaeological dig in the Moroccan desert, on lands traditionally inhabited by various Arab tribes. Neither the Arab tribesmen, nor Major Foster himself, are really too keen on the prospect of foreigners coming in to usurp other peoples' wealth. But Major Foster, ever the military man in spite of creeping cynicism, does what he is told, or, as he coldly explains to El Krim, the leader of one of the militant tribes (nicely played, oddly enough, by British actor Ian Holm): "A soldier goes where he is sent."

A very interesting host of characters comes into play throughout the movie, including Max Von Sydow as the archaeologist intent on digging up the treasure in the desert - not only for the glory and coffers of France, but, we can assume, for his own personal aggrandizement.

The Legionnaires themselves are an odd and, at times, colorful lot, much as you'd expect from a disparate group of desperate lads, all seeking anonymity, adventure, escape, redemption, or whatever else it is they expect to find in the Foreign Legion: there is Marco, a slippery jewel thief who seems to con his way in and out of everyone's life, but nevertheless has a heart of gold (though, at times, you wonder if he didn't steal that gold in a heist); there is a tragically inept soldier known only as Top Hat, a former musician whose background and reasons for being in the Legion are never really explained; there is a hard-as-nails battalion officer, a certain Lt. Fontaine, who gives no mercy to the troops, and expects none in return - only discipline. There are assorted other nationalities represented in this odd mix of Legion troops, including a young British lad who meets a particularly unpleasant fate at the hands of the Arabs; a handful of ex-German soldiers, joining up after Germany's defeat in the recently-ended Great War; and also an expatriate Russian, named Ivan, who seems to represent some of the human global spillage caused by the Russian Revolution, just then occurring in his homeland. The Legion seems to be not only the best, but perhaps the only, place for him, and the rest of them, to call home.

Last but not least is beautiful Catherine Deneuve, in a minor role, playing a war-weary French widow, thrown into this Moroccan mix due to circumstances beyond her control. I really liked her appearance in this movie. Though she didn't have a particularly heavy part, I would not call her the obligatory female "fluff" - she did in fact add some balance and nuance to the story that, for me anyway, was really quite meaningful.

The movie ends with an epic battle scene reminiscent of other siege-type movies, where the onslaught of seemingly endless streams of enemy soldiers against a thinly-defended garrison IS the battle royale, the raison d'etre of the entire movie. The battle scene is well-done and ultimately poignant. In fact, the entire movie was well-done and poignant. It just seemed to be lacking those few extra points that snatched it from the jaws of greatness. Be that as it may, it is a great war movie worth seeing by any die-hard war movie fan. And if it prompts you to study further about the history of the French Foreign Legion, as it did me, then, so much the better.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Soundtrack dconstant
Uncut full version of "March or Die" ncand3d
Unintentionally Funny stockcontroller
Zulu so much better then this campy movie gaelichero-1
Foster's speech to a grave ianprl
Discuss March or Die (1977) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: