Legionnaire (film)

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DVD cover
Directed by Peter MacDonald
Produced by Christian Halsey Solomon
Kamel Krifa
Sheldon Lettich
Peter MacDonald
Roberto Malerba
Richard G. Murphy
Edward R. Pressman
Jean-Claude Van Damme
Written by Sheldon Lettich
Rebecca Morrison
Jean-Claude Van Damme
Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Narrated by Jean-Claude Van Damme
Music by John Altman
Cinematography Douglas Milsome
Edited by Mike Murphy
Christopher Tellefsen
Distributed by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Release date
  • December 3, 1998 (1998-12-03)
Running time
99 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $20,000,000

Legionnaire is a 1998 American drama war film directed by Peter MacDonald and starring Jean-Claude Van Damme as a 1920s boxer who wins a fight after having been hired by gangsters to lose it, then flees to join the French Foreign Legion. The cast includes Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Steven Berkoff, Nicholas Farrell and Jim Carter. The film was filmed in Tangier and Ouarzazate, Morocco.

Plot summary[edit]

Alain Lefevre (Jean-Claude Van Damme) is a French boxer in 1920s Marseille, France. Alain is forced by local crime boss Lucien Galgani (Jim Carter) to take a dive in a fight. Galgani's girlfriend Katrina (Ana Sofrenovic) is also Alain's ex-fiancée whom he left standing at the altar. But Katrina forgives Alain, and the two hatch a plan to run off to America together.

Alain does not take a dive in the fight, but just as the escape plan is about to succeed, Alain's friend is killed, and Katrina is captured by Galgani's men. But Alain has shot and killed Galgani's brother. Desperately needing a new escape plan, Alain signs up for the French Foreign Legion, and is shipped to North Africa to help defend Morocco against a native Berber rebellion of Rif warriors, led by Abd el-Krim.

Along the way, Alain meets some new friends, including Luther, an African American who has fled injustice in the States, Mackintosh, a former British Army Major with a gambling problem, and Guido, a naive Italian boy who wishes to impress his girl back home by returning as a hero. But things will not be easy. The only real way to escape from the Legion is to survive the term of service, and the rebels have them outnumbered.

Galgani has sent his hired thugs into the Legion as well, to find Alain and get revenge for the death of Galgani's brother. In the end, only Alain stands up alive after the battle and Abd el-Krim seeing Alain's courage and determination allows him to live and tells him to inform his superiors what's waiting for them if they continue the colonization. Now the only survivor of the ordeal, Alain is left alone in the desert as he remembers Katrina and his former friends. There is the alternate/deleted ending when Alain rescues Katrina and is to originally kill Galgani but doesn't as the director and producer walking on set felt it was too violent.


Actor Character
Jean-Claude Van Damme Alain Lefevre (nom de guerre Alain Duchamp)
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje Luther
Steven Berkoff Sgt. Steinkampf
Nicholas Farrell Major Mackintosh
Jim Carter Lucien Galgani
Ana Sofrenović Katrina
Daniel Caltagirone Guido Rosetti
Joseph Long Maxim
Mario Kalli René Galgani
Joe Montana Julot
Kim Romer Capt. Rousselot
Anders Peter Bro Lt. Charlier
Paul Kynman Rolf Bruner
Vincent Pickering Viktor
Takis Triggelis Cpl. Metz
Tom Delmar Cpl. Legros
Kamel Krifa Abd-El Krim

Production notes[edit]

Van Damme originally pitched the story of joining the foreign legion to escape from the mob as a more humorous vehicle starring himself and a comedian such as John Candy.[1]

The often-recorded 1936 song "Mon légionnaire" is sung over the closing credits by Ute Lemper.

Deemed unreleasable for movie theaters in the United States, Legionnaire was released to cable TV channels and home video despite a $35 million production budget.[2]


The film received mixed reviews.[3][4]


  1. ^ "Van Damme very determined". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 2010-11-27. 
  2. ^ Liebenson, Donald (1999-02-11). "A DIRECT HIT? NEW VAN DAMME FILM BYPASSES THEATERS, TAKES BATTLE STRAIGHT TO VIDEO". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-12-22. 
  3. ^ Nichols, Peter M. (1999-01-08). "Movie Review - HOME VIDEO; Two Big Names On Small Screen". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-01-29. 
  4. ^ "Legionnaire". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2011-03-22. 

External links[edit]