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.
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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
El Krim (Sir Ian Holm) was based on the Moroccan revolutionary Abd el-Krim (1882-1963), the leader of a large-scale armed resistance movement in the Rif, a Berber area of northeastern Morocco. See more »
The Legion uses French military equipment and customs. Yet in one scene, when the new recruits are awakened one morning, an American bugle call (reveille) is used. See more »
[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]
[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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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 »
Adventures with the French Foreign Legion in Sahara desert starred by the great Gene Hackman and Terence Hill
This is a nice story of courageous men who have every gone out to face death ; dealing with an American Major named Foster (Gene Hackman) , recently finished WWI , he joined the French foreign Legion , and is assigned (by Max Von Sidow) to guard an archaeological expedition in Morocco desert . The ragtag team is formed by a rascal soldier named Mario (Terence Hill) , joined to avoid jail , a Russian corpulent (Jack O'Halloran) , a tough corporal (Vernon Dobtcheff) and a sadistic lieutenant (Marcel Bozzuffi) , among others . Following a full-clichéd plot with a brutal commanding , plenty of cruel punishments and brutality of training . Besides , the inevitable mystery woman (Catherine Deneuve) who falls in love with Mario . But the Foster's unit is attacked by Al Krim , an Arab leader who actually lived -in fact , he united the Morrocan tribes to battle French and Spanish army in the North of Africa until being defeated in Alhucemas- . The tiny garrison at the dig making a last stand against the assaults (in the wake to ¨Zulu¨ by Cy Endfield and ¨Dawn Zulu¨ by Douglas Hickox) .
This adventure-epic movie contains agreeable acting , drama , noisy action , breathtaking battles and spectacular outdoors . Filmed on location in the Sahara desert , including an impressive production design by Gil Parrondo and marvelous cinematography by excellent cameraman John Alcott . The movie belongs to Foreign Legion genre , the story gets reminiscent with classic movies such as ¨Under two flags¨ (with Ronald Colman) , ¨Beau Geste¨ (Gary Cooper)¨and recently made ¨Legionnaire¨ (with Jean Claude Van Damme) . The pic was lavishly produced by the famous producer Jerry Bruckheimer along with Lew Grade . The motion picture was professionally directed by Dick Richards , and he gets efficiently to remain the adventure and action until the final . Before entering the film industry , Dick Richards was a contributing photographer for Life magazine , subsequently turning into filmmaking . Richards is a good craftsman who has directed a few films but of great quality , such as ¨The Culpepper Cattle¨, ¨March or die¨ , Death valley¨ , ¨Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins ¨and ¨Farewell my lovely¨ at his best . In addition , he found the script for 'Tootsie' and co-produced it with Sydney Pollack . Rating : Acceptable and passable . Well worth watching for Gene Hackman fans and adventure cinema enthusiasts.
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