7.5/10
51,409
177 user 87 critic

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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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:

A thriller. 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

Although the first preview of the movie was successful, the second one which was shown in San Francisco did not go well. The audience complained about all the violence in the movie, so Director John Schlesinger and Editor Jim Clark deleted a scene near the beginning of the movie in which Doc fights with two assassins who killed his friend, removed a graphic and gory close-up of Szell disemboweling Doc with his wrist blade, and cut both of the torture scenes heavily. Graphic insert shots from the torture scene which were filmed by Clark were removed. Some photos, such as original lobby cards and still shots show Szell torturing Babe longer with dental instruments in the first torture scene and actual on-screen drilling of Babe's tooth in the second torture scene. See more »

Goofs

When Chen is attempting to garrote Doc in his Paris hotel room, the blood pack attached the back of Roy Scheider's hand is clearly visible. See more »

Quotes

Janeway: My name's Peter Janeway. But you can call me Janey, all of my friends do.
Babe: I'm not your friend.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Children (2014) 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
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Emperor has no clothes.
4 October 2002 | by quinnmassSee all my reviews

Ok, I like Dustin Hoffman. I like Roy Scheider, and Lawrence Olivier was a great actor. Fine. The dentist scene is visceral and creepy and quite memorable. Fine. People I respect have said many positive things about William Goldman. OK.

Having said that, this movie rates HIGH on the Unintentional Comedy Scale. The plot is unthinkably, profoundly inane and laughable and nonsensical. I.N.A.N.E. Let me get this right, and I am quoting other commenters here, `a Columbia graduate student (Hoffman) unwittingly thrust into a game of deadly international intrigue when his brother (Scheider) is killed by a Nazi fugitive (Olivier) looking to smuggle a stash of diamonds he had left over from World War II after escaping justice' (virek213) and `Dustin Hoffman plays a marathon runner whose CIA brother is killed by an evil former nazi played by Laurence Olivier.' (Adam Morrison). You're kidding, right? Take out the words `Olivier' and `Hoffman' and we have the makings of a plot that doesn't even pass the laugh test.

Ask yourself, why is Hoffman's character involved? Because, ala Dr. Evil, Olivier stabs Scheider BUT DOESN'T KILL HIM. He just leaves. I mean, just slit the guy's throat. Come on. Even Scott Evil knows this. Just get a gun and shoot the dude. Oh, wait, I forgot, we have to leave him there, NOT QUITE DEAD, so that we can spend an enormous amount of complicated energy panicking about whether the guy we easily could have killed happened to say anything to anyone before he died. Brilliant. I mean, did any of you people think of this when you wrote your reviews? I am not making this up - there are POSITIVE reviews for this farce here.

Think this one through. I am an evil Nazi dentist. I decide to send a woman, a spy, to America, to seduce the brother of an American spy that I work with, so that I can. oh Jesus, I don't know. maybe if later and we're in a fantastical scenario where I need to kill the brother/find the brother, then she can - surprise - turn on him, since she will be the person he relies on, HE WILL BE COMPLETELY FOILED, and I will have succeeded! As part of this clever strategy, I send my goons (one of whom comically limps - where was the `BWAHAHAHAHA!'?, one of whom is Al Neri, on loan from Michael Corleone) to beat them up! Why? Who knows? Best not to ask!

I keep my diamonds in a bank in New York City. As the William Devane character says, `and now he's [Olivier] going to expose himself to incredible risk!' to come get the diamonds. Smart. Good plan. NYC. Good place to keep all my valuables, so if I ever need 'em, it will be INCREDIBLY RISKY to get 'em. But only risky because my brother, who had the key all along and could have just walked in there and gotten the diamonds at any time, ever, has just died because he could not overcome his evil irresistible impulse and ran into (I am not making this up) a gas truck, which exploded.

As for the scene at the house. I am just at a loss. I don't even know where to start. There are 5 people at the house, and 0 out of 5 of them behave with any logic. If you think from each of their standpoints what they are doing, and really try to puzzle it out, it's just nonsensical. I think the writers just decided, OK, everybody needs to be dead at the end of this scene, except for Hoffman. Then they tried to work backward and figure out how this whole shootout would actually play out, logically. Then they said, screw it, and went to lunch.

It's important, when you want to keep a low profile in an area where you could be recognized, and also you're an evil Nazi with a past, to bark at Jewish people in a screamy sort of ordering tone, so that you keep yourself disguised and don't jog any memories. And how many seconds before the woman who recognizes the Nazi gets run over by the car was it obvious that this clichéd movie convention was about to happen? For me, it was only about 8 seconds.

The closing scene is just laugh out loud funny. I mean, could it have been more awkward? Did that all take place so that our hero is not gunning someone down and is therefore morally able to claim the high ground? Nazi has to die, but hero can't just kill him. Isn't self-defense a little more standard of a movie convention that they could have gone with? He just trips on the steps and falls? Please. How lame is that? As lame as this whole moronic movie.


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