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.
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 »
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 »
When an American billionaire dies, his poor Italian nephew inherits everything, provided he can arrive in the USA to claim his inheritance before the deadline but the corporate lawyer-executor tries to steal the inheritance.
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 »
In 1952, as the Korean War rages on, American officers land in Kyoto. Among them are Major Ceve Saville, assigned to a fighter squadron, and Lieutenant Carl Abbott. The latter neglects his ... See full summary »
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 »
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.
Respectable lawyer Peter picks up Anna, an Italian woman of dubious virtue, from the club and takes her back to his Uncle's place. They soon discover they are not alone. A gunman Quill (Julian Mateos), is waiting for them.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In the mid 50's, it was announced that Errol Flynn would be starring in his first TV series, a French Foreign Legion show which would have also gone by the title " March or Die" . It never materialised. 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 »
This is THE French Foreign Legion movie, mainly because there aren't very many of them. Jean-Claude Van Damme starred in a sort of remake in '98 ("Legionnaire"). This features a truly international cast. The lead American is Gene Hackman, as the major commander of the outpost. Terence Hill is best known for his "Trinity" character in spaghetti western comedies from Italy. He plays a new recruit, an acrobatic thief who quickly becomes an unofficial hero among the men. Von Sydow is the Swedish member, who made his name in Ingmar Bergman films; he plays an archaeologist here. Deneuve, as a visiting daughter of a deceased associate of Von Sydow's, is the famous French actress. Ian Holm is British, but plays the Arab leader. Also on hand is Jack O'Halloran, ex-boxer, as a giant ex-bodyguard for the swept away Russian aristocracy. He appeared in "Superman" the following year.
As most people know, the Legion was composed of men who no longer had a place anywhere else in the world. They're all on the run from something or someone, and it's spelled out here, more than once. The time is just after World War I; the place is Morocco. The picture doesn't skimp on detailing this atmosphere; there was obviously a lot of money well spent on getting it right, though Hackman always seems a bit out of place (I believe Legion commanders had to be French, but you can do much worse than Hackman). If anything, it dwells a bit too much on detail and the first hour is tedious. The pic still didn't explain for me the purpose of having the men trudge endlessly in the desert sands, except maybe to weed out weaklings. There's a touching subplot involving a sad sack legionnaire whom Hill is unable to save despite continual effort. Mostly, the story revolves around the hardship involved, accompanied by a required sadism on the part of commanders, to get by day to day in the Legion.
It all points to a thrilling battle in the final act, when the Arab leader sends his hordes against the vastly outnumbered legionnaires, who seem stuck in a 'fight to the last man' scenario. The plot has Hackman under orders to provide guard at an excavation site, giving Holm an excuse to unite the tribes in a bloody attack. It's eye-opening to hear the Arab leader speak of resisting all foreigners and realize nothing much has changed even as I type this. But the final battle is spectacular, reminiscent of "Zulu." Though outnumbered about 20 to 1, the Legion makes effective use of rapid-fire weapons. Photographed on a great location, there are some startling images of numerous bodies littering the sands. I acquired an R2 DVD, which is the best way of viewing this film at this point.
16 of 17 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?