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March or Die (1977)

PG  |   |  Drama, War, Adventure  |  8 September 1977 (West Germany)
6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 2,029 users  
Reviews: 23 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 »

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


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 September 1977 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Marchar o morir  »

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

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

Maj. William Sherman Foster: [El Krim and some of his tribesmen have stopped the train on which Major Foster and his Legionnaires are traveling] I have orders to continue the excavation at Erfoud.
El Krim: And I have orders from higher authority to stop you... from Allah. I marvel at the audacity of the French. They think they have the right to divide up other lands, peoples. You can bring 10,000 trains of Legionnaires - you still will not take anything from our homeland.
El Krim: [Making a sweeping gesture, and continuing in an ominous tone]
See more »


Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
Good Early Effort From Bruckheimer . Could Have Been Slightly Better
4 March 2013 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

Immediately after the Great War 1914-18 Major Foster an American born officer in the French Foreign Legion . A disillusioned man who has seen more than enough of the horrors of war , Foster looks forward to more peaceful times only to hear of a spreading insurrection led by El Krim , a Beeber warlord who wants to liberate Morroco from French rule and Foster is sent to put down the insurrection

This is an early production from Jerry Bruckheimer who in the 1980s went on to be the most successful commercial film producer in Hollywood . His films included BEVERLEY HILLS COP , FLASHDANCE and TOP GUN . His films were rarely a hit with critics but what he was very good at was mixing aspects to gain maximum publicity for movies and fill multiplexes . Who can forget Eddie Murphy driving along LA with The Heat Is On blasting out in the foreground or or boys and girls flocking to the cinema in equal numbers to see Tom Cruise fall in love and shoot down enemy jets after which the audience would buy the official soundtrack album . Studios are only interested in profit margins and if a film makes a ton of money then who cares if it didn't win an Oscar ? You have to admit Bruckheimer was always excellent at whta he did

MARCH OR DIE shows early signs at what the producer was trying to achieve - make a film that would appeal to the action adventure market while still appealing to critics . It's interesting during this early period of his career Bruckheimer still might have wanted to win an Oscar for Best Film . THE CULPEPPER CATTLE CO. and FAREWELL MY LOVELY both directed by Dick Richards are two very impressive films from The New Hollywood period and you can see in this film a mix of character exploration and big battle action sequences

The problem is that it doesn't quite come off . You can see Gene Hackman, Major Foster as a tortured man with ghosts from the past realising the only way to lay his demons to rest is via Catherine Deneuve's Mme Picard but the film concentrate too much on Terence Hill's Marco to make this possible . Hill effectively plays the comic acrobatic character which he was best known for in the Italian Westerns alongside Bud Spencer and Marco - unlike Foster - never comes across as a real life character . Likewise the rest of the characters who join the Legion are entirely one dimensional clichés

Two things that do work is firstly El Krim the noble but superstitious leader . In 1977 the average Westerner would have little reaction to the word " Muslim " one way or another . Certainly El Krim is the villain of the story but he's written and played by Iah Holm as someone who fears progress rather than someone who just wants to slaughter Infidels . You wouldn't get a Muslim baddie like this in a movie nowadays . Secondly the long awaited battle sequence when it does come certainly doesn't disappoint

In summary MARCH OR DIE is a historical epic that that tries to appeal to everyone at the same time while never consistently appealing to anyone . That said is rather impressive in parts but you do feel slightly upset that the movies can't sustain it over the whole course of the movie and it does contain a lot of dross


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