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Marathon Man (1976)

A graduate history student is unwittingly caught in the middle of an international conspiracy involving stolen diamonds, an exiled Nazi war criminal, and a rogue government agent.

Director:

John Schlesinger

Writers:

William Goldman (screenplay), William Goldman (from: his novel)
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Popularity
3,432 ( 591)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dustin Hoffman ... Babe
Laurence Olivier ... Szell
Roy Scheider ... Doc
William Devane ... Janeway
Marthe Keller ... Elsa
Fritz Weaver ... Professor Biesenthal
Richard Bright ... Karl
Marc Lawrence ... Erhard
Allen Joseph ... Babe's Father
Tito Goya Tito Goya ... Melendez
Ben Dova Ben Dova ... Szell's Brother
Lou Gilbert Lou Gilbert ... Rosenbaum
Jacques Marin ... LeClerc
James Wing Woo James Wing Woo ... Chen
Nicole Deslauriers Nicole Deslauriers ... Nicole
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Storyline

Thomas "Babe" Levy, whose brother Henry James "Doc" Levy is an oil business executive, is a Ph.D. candidate in History at Columbia University. He is also training as a marathon runner. Babe is paying homage to his deceased father, H.B. Levy, in pursuing the same studies as him, his father who committed suicide while being under investigation in the Communist witch hunts. Babe's work does not sit well with Doc who wants Babe to move on with his life. While at Columbia, Babe meets and begins to date Elsa Opel, a foreign exchange student also in History. While out for a walk in Central Park late one night, Babe and Elsa are mugged, the unusual aspect of it being that their attackers were men in suits. Babe will learn that the mugging was not a random attack after someone close to Babe is found murdered, the deceased who was not who he purported to be. From here, Babe is thrown into an international conspiracy concerning Nazi war criminal Christian Szell in hiding, and a large cache of ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

One man's dangerous attempts to clear his father's name. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | German | Spanish | Yiddish

Release Date:

8 October 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Marathon-Mann See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$21,709,020
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | Stereo

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Dustin Hoffman lost fifteen pounds for this role. He ran up to four miles a day to get into shape for playing the role. He would never come into a scene and fake the breathing. According to Producer Robert Evans, Hoffman "would run, just for a take, he would run for a half-mile so he came into the scene, he'd actually be out of breath." See more »

Goofs

The man helping the fuel oil truck driver back up into the street exhales condensation, indicating that the weather is cold. This is despite the fact that a radio announcer has previously stated that the weather is unseasonably warm. See more »

Quotes

[Szell prepares to torture Babe a second time]
Christian Szell: Oh, please don't worry. I'm not going into that cavity. That nerve's already dying. A live, freshly-cut nerve is infinitely more sensitive. So I'll just drill into a healthy tooth until I reach the pulp. Unless, of course, you can tell me that it's safe.
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Crazy Credits

The ending credits scroll with Babe's jogging route as a backdrop. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Super Smash Bros. Melee (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Dors, o cité oerverse
(1881)
(from 'Hérodiade')
Music by Jules Massenet
Libretto by Paul Milliet (uncredited) and Henry Grémont (uncredited)
Sung by Joseph Rouleau, with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House (Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra)
Conducted by John Matheson
Courtesy of London and Decca Records
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User Reviews

 
A prime example of the way highly styled entertainment should be…
1 September 2007 | by Nazi_Fighter_DavidSee all my reviews

Schlesinger made a great action-suspense film and married it to the artistry of unique talents… Hoffman was, by then, a dynamic, young and incredibly versatile film actor with three Academy Award nominations already under his belt for "The Graduate," "Midnight Cowboy," and "Lenny."

But the key to "Marathon Man" was the chemistry between its stars… Perhaps one of the most gut-wrenching and most memorable scenes in the film comes when Hoffman is captured and tortured by Olivier who plays the role of a mean and vicious and sadistic Nazi war criminal, Christian Szell… Olivier's performance resulted in a 1976 Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor…

In 1945, Szell ran the experimental camp at Auschwitz where they called him the White Angel… He was a dentist and could provide escape for any Jew who was willing to pay the price… He started out with gold, naturally, but very quickly worked his way up to diamonds…

As Szell saw the end early, he sneaked his brother into America with the diamonds… And they were right here, in New York, in a safe deposit-box until Szell's brother got killed in a head-on collision with an oil truck…

Uniquely built, and with a marvelous, rugged face, Roy Scheider, well known for his strong performances in "The French Connection," "Klute," and "Jaws," came on board as Hoffman's mysterious businessman brother, getting the rare chance to play a character that's both hero and villain… Doc is a fascinating guy because he chooses to work out his problems in a much different way than Dustin's character does… He was very touched and very moved by his father's death, but he abandoned all his hopes for whatever he intended to do and he became a spy, a killer, a very jaded personality…

In doing something truly suspenseful, Schlesinger accomplished a film that's largely about fear and it's about pain and the infliction of pain because of fear… The thrilling sensation of great expectations came on the 47th Street in the diamond district in New York, where Schlesinger gets the best of it…


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