7.4/10
56,662
191 user 92 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)
Reviews
Popularity
3,426 ( 449)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dustin Hoffman ... Thomas Babbington Levy aka Babe
Laurence Olivier ... Christian Szell
Roy Scheider ... Doc Levy
William Devane ... Peter Janeway
Marthe Keller ... Elsa Opel
Fritz Weaver ... Professor Biesenthal
Richard Bright ... Karl
Marc Lawrence ... Erhard
Allen Joseph ... Babe's Father
Tito Goya Tito Goya ... Melendez
Ben Dova Ben Dova ... Klaus - 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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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 the father's body is shown after his suicide with the pistol, the hammer on the pistol is down. When one shoots a pistol, the hammer remains in the cocked position until the last round when the slide remains retracted. See more »

Quotes

Christian Szell: Well... can I trust you?
Doc: You never could. You only had to.
Christian Szell: We're talking about my safety.
Doc: May I be candid?
Christian Szell: Yes.
Doc: I couldn't give a fuck about you...
[he gets stabbed by Szell]
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: The Best of Steve Martin (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

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

User Reviews

 
Solid (and Depressing) Thriller
2 November 2006 | by dr_foremanSee all my reviews

1970s movies are so cynical, aren't they? Dark, depressing, and often grainy-looking and washed out. "Marathon Man" fits that description. It's good, of course - very good - but it's not exactly a good time. Know what I mean?

William Goldman, one of Hollywood's few celebrity screenwriters, wrote both the original novel and the script for this film version. I find him a bit overrated, but here he does a good job of elevating hack-level thriller material into a sort of art form. The beginning of the film is particularly well-written and intriguing, since it's full of creepy and cryptic events that are not immediately explained. But, alas, I find the ultimate explanation of these events to be rather prosaic and disappointing.

So, I think the movie's strengths lie in the acting and directing, more so than the story. Olivier and Scheider give particularly great performances, and Marthe Keller comes across as appropriately sweet and sexy (her big "secret," though, should be really easy for anyone to guess!) I'm a little less enamored of Dustin Hoffman, whose character is inexplicably nicknamed "Babe." He's just way too old to be a typical graduate student (almost forty years old, to be precise), and he simply doesn't have much charisma to me. Usually I like normal-looking, non-glamorous actors, but somehow Hoffman doesn't float my boat.

Still, it's hard not to sympathize with the poor guy while he's being pursued, beaten, tortured etc. The "dental horror" scene is still quite effective, though it's rather short; I was more impressed by the subsequent chase through the dark streets of NYC. (The city, by the way, looks like a hellish, crime-infested, debris-strewn pit in this movie - like it does in most 1970s productions!)

In the end, "Marathon Man" isn't quite another "French Connection," but it's got more than enough suspense to crush a lot of the dross that infests theaters today. It's worth watching just for the terrifying scene when the bad guys start tearing Hoffman's door off its hinges - it's good stuff.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | German | Spanish | Yiddish

Release Date:

8 October 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Marathon Man See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$21,709,020

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$21,709,020
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Robert Evans Company See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | Stereo

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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