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March or Die (1977)

During the 1920s, French Foreign Legion Major William Foster's (Gene Hackman'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.

Director:

Dick Richards

Writers:

David Zelag Goodman (story), Dick Richards (story) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gene Hackman ... Maj. William Sherman Foster
Terence Hill ... Marco Segrain
Catherine Deneuve ... Simone Picard
Max von Sydow ... Francois Marneau
Ian Holm ... El Krim
Jack O'Halloran ... Ivan
Rufus ... Sgt. Triand
Marcel Bozzuffi ... Lt. Fontaine
André Penvern ... Top Hat
Paul Sherman Paul Sherman ... Fred Hastings
Vernon Dobtcheff ... Mean Corporal
Marne Maitland ... Leon
Luigi Bonos Luigi Bonos ... Andre (as Gigi Bonos)
Wolf Kahler ... First German
Matthias Hell Matthias Hell ... Second German (as Mathias Hell)
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Storyline

Foreign Legion Major William Foster (Gene 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 Segrain (Terence 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. Arab leader El Krim (Sir Ian 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 Zulu (1964). Costumes, firearms, and props are all very authentic-looking, and show great attention to detail. Written by Cameron Fairchild <fairchop@ix.netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Foreign Legion - they were the greatest fighting force of all time and they obeyed but one command - [March Or Die] See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 October 1977 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Marchar o morir See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,000,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Gene Hackman and Marcel Bozzuffi appeared in The French Connection (1971). See more »

Goofs

The bugle call for reveille is the same in the US and French armies. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[a battered group of legionares marched through a train station, while the crowd chanted the French national anthem; the first actual lines are about 4 minutes within the movie]
Sgt. Triand: [to a line of German prisioners] If you join the French Foreign Legion, remember: there are no questions asked. Come! Join the Legion!
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Alternate Versions

The one major network showing of "March or Die" was considerably different from the original release, with a great deal of additional footage and a completely different ending. At the end of the original release Marco (Hill) gives a rousing speech to replacement Legionnaires, which is word-for-word the same speech Foster (Hackman) gave recruits near the beginning of the film. (To potential deserters: "If the Legion doesn't get you, the Arabs will. If the Arabs don't get you, the desert will. And if the desert doesn't get you... I will.) A caravan is leaving the fort behind Marco as he gives his speech. The original release ends on this note, implying that Marco has stepped into Foster's shoes as loyal Legion commander. In the network showing, after Marco delivers his speech, we see Marco deserting. He has slipped into Arab garb and joined the caravan leaving the fort. The Sergeant-Major is shown smiling at him, implying that he is complicit in Marco's desertion. Also in the network showing: A fierce desert battle between a legion column and Arab raiders. The entire battle is deleted from the original release. The column is led by the mean Lieutenant. In one scene, the mean Lieutenant is shown placing a pistol to his head and committing suicide. The scene does not appear in the original release. In addition, in the original release, the footage of the mean Lieutenant firing his pistol during the column's battle with raiders, is edited into the final battle scene at the archaological dig. The effect is quite jarring, as he has not been present for about a third of the film. See more »


Soundtracks

Plaisir d'amour
(uncredited)
By Johann Martini and Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian
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User Reviews

Butchered Masterpiece
19 August 2011 | by joangregSee all my reviews

First off, I have seen two versions of this film. Surprisingly, the first time I saw it was on late night TV, and recalling from memory it was shown in two parts. SUPERB! It was about four full hours, and the plot and character development both made sense. THEN, I saw it was to be released in the theater (hurrah, I thought!). No. The film was destroyed by too much editing. Needless to say, I thought this whole situation weird because I remember seeing the much superior TV version before seeing the Theater version. What I major disappointment that was! Anyhow, those who have only seen the short version may wonder why Marco starts out in the movie in a different uniform (I believe he and his brother, which you never see, were in the Italian army, or something like that) and why you sort of see the the French Lt. (who looks like Charles Bronson)around the beginning, but then he sort of fades out of the script. Once again, I recall that the Arabs actually attacked the oasis at the very beginning of the movie (as seen on TV) and he was a sole survivor: Then later he kills himself. I only saw the TV version once, but this is what I recall. TV version: 9.5 out of 10. Theater version: 6.5 out of 10. Wish I could find the full version!


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