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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)
Reviews
Popularity
4,509 ( 767)

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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

A story circulated for a long time that Dustin Hoffman (being a "method actor") stayed up all night to play a character who has stayed up all night. Arriving on the set, Sir Laurence Olivier asked Hoffman why he looked the way he did. Hoffman told him, to which Olivier replied in jest, "Why not try acting? It's much easier." Hoffman repeatedly denied the story, and finally cleared up the matter in 2004. The torture scene was filmed early in the morning, Hoffman was going through a divorce from his first wife and was depressed, and had spent the previous two nights partying hard. Hoffman told Olivier this and his comment related to his lifestyle and not his "method" style of acting. See more »

Goofs

During the film, reference is made to Uruguay, Szell's post war refuge country. But at the end of the film, at Szell's brother's house, when Babe realises that Elsa is also employed by Szell, Babe asks her what she does for Szell. She answers that she smuggles diamonds from Paris to Paraguay. (instead of Uruguay) See more »

Quotes

[When Elsa leaves the library, Babe hesitates, and then runs after her. He finds her as she is climbing the stairs to her apartment and makes small talk, trying to prolong the conversation. When she keeps walking away, he bursts into an honest confession]
Babe: Look, I'm sorry I stole your book.
Elsa Opel: What?
Babe: I took your book and put it underneath mine. I, I didn't know how to talk to you, I was embarrassed, so I took your book.
Elsa Opel: Aren't you embarrassed now?
Babe: Yeah. I'm, I'm humiliated.
Elsa Opel: So, why do you pursue ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Glee: Prom Queen (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Le Tram
Music by Charles Mougeot (as C. Mougeot)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Please Pass The Novocaine
28 October 2005 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

I have always found this to be a very entertaining, involving, taut suspense movie with some very dramatic scenes. I've seen in three times and liked it better each time, particularly since it's been available on DVD which enhanced the sound from mono to stereo, and the 1.85:1 widescreen enhancing the cinematography.

I didn't find the infamous (this was quite a buzz when the film came out) dentist scene to be as terrifying as it was made up to be and the references to the McCarthy hearings are a bit annoying and typical of Hollywood director John Scheslinger. It's also a typical modern-day film in which the U.S government's police agencies are corrupt (oh, puhleeze, filmmakers - think of something new).

However, despite those negatives, the film is fascinating with no dry spots despite its two-hour length. There is a nice variety of action scenes and very interesting characters. Marthe Keller never looked better. Too bad she didn't make more movies in the U.S. Dustin Hoffman, as he did so well in the '70s, keeps your attention and Laurence Olivier is absolutely riveting. This is a terrific thriller, start to finish.


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