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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, Daniel Caltagirone, Nicholas Farrell and Steven Berkoff. The film was filmed in Tangier and Ouarzazate, Morocco.


Alain Lefèvre (Jean-Claude Van Damme) is a French boxer in 1925 Marseille, France. His brother has asked for him to throw a fight so both can live with the money. Lucien Galgani (Jim Carter), the mobster who forced him to do so, requests he do it in the second round. Galgani s girlfriend Katrina (Ana Sofrenović) is 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, and instead defeats his opponent. Just as the escape plan is about to succeed, Alain s brother is killed, and Katrina is captured by Galgani s men. Alain shoots and kills Galgani s brother; desperately needing a new escape plan, he 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 southern United States and felt that by returning to Africa he would be treated well; Mackintosh, a former British Army Major who was dishonorably discharged due to a gambling problem; and Guido, a naive Italian boy who wishes to impress his fiancée 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.

After marching for days, the current troop arrives at a small pond. Unfortunately, before getting their full share of water, they are ambushed and shot down by the Berbers. Among the dead is Guido. After leaving, the survivors, including Alain, go to the Legion s fort.

Meanwhile, Galgani has sent his hired thugs into the Legion as well, to find Alain and get revenge for his brother. After a few days, they find him in the fort. After the commander sends Alain along with Mackintosh and the others to guard the fort, Mackintosh reveals that he had been sent to kill Alain as part of a deal to reimburse his father, who was left penniless due to gambling debts. Before he can do so, however, they are chased down by the natives, who advance towards the fort.

The colonel sends Luther in a dangerous mission to infiltrate the natives camp. Alain, knowing it will be suicide, demands to go along but is ordered not to. Before leaving, Luther gives him his harmonica as a symbol of friendship. As Alain is later guarding the fort outside, he sees Luther returning without his disguise, with the Berbers following behind. As they begin attacking, Alain decides to kill Luther in order to give him a quick death.

Very swiftly, the rest of the Berbers take down the Legionnaires. As one of Galgani s thugs is about to kill Alain, he gets shot down by Mackintosh, who remorsefully reveals that Katrina has managed to escape from Galgani and go to America, as she always wanted. Alain, as a token of appreciation, gives him a single bullet so that Mackintosh can commit a merciful suicide. In the end, only Alain stands up alive after the battle. Abd el-Krim, seeing Alain s courage and determination, allows him to live and tells him to inform his superiors what is 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 in which Alain rescues Katrina and is to originally kill Galgani, but does not (as the director and producer felt it was too violent). There is a script to the alternate ending at the New Year s Eve party when Alain aims his pistol at Galgani, and the place goes quiet. But Alain refrains from killing Galgani and walks out with Katrina.


  • Jean-Claude Van Damme as Alain Lefèvre (nom de guerre Alain Duchamp)
  • Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Luther
  • Steven Berkoff as Sergeant Steinkampf
  • Nicholas Farrell as Major Mackintosh
  • Jim Carter as Lucien Galgani
  • Ana Sofrenović as Katrina
  • Daniel Caltagirone as Guido Rosetti
  • Joseph Long as Maxim
  • Mario Kalli as René Galgani
  • Joe Montana as Julot
  • Kim Romer as Captain Rousselot
  • Anders Peter Bro as Lieutenant Charlier
  • Paul Kynman as Rolf Bruner
  • Vincent Pickering as Viktor
  • Takis Triggelis as Corporal Metz
  • Tom Delmar as Corporal Legros
  • Kamel Krifa as Mohamed Ibn Abdelkrim El-Khattabi / Abd El-Krim



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.

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


Home media

The movie was released as a direct-to-video in the United States, since distributor Lionsgate predicted the movie would do poorly on the box-office because, at that time, Van Damme s drawing power was decreasing drastically.


Critical response

The film received mixed reviews.

Year 1998
ReleaseDate 1998-12-03
RuntimeMins 99
RuntimeStr 1h 39min
Plot Alain is a boxer in 1925 Marseille, France. When he doesn’t take the dive paid to take by a mob boss, he has to split. He joins the Foreign Legion and is sent to Morocco. He makes 3 friends and they watch each other’s backs.
Awards Awards, 1 nomination
Directors Peter MacDonald
Writers Sheldon Lettich, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Rebecca Morrison
Stars Jean-Claude Van Damme, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Steven Berkoff
Produced by Wendi Friedman,Samuel Hadida,Christian Halsey Solomon,Werner Koenig,Kamel Krifa,Sheldon Lettich,Peter MacDonald,Roberto Malerba,Richard G. Murphy,Edward R. Pressman,Jean-Claude Van Damme,Gregory G. Woertz
Music by John Altman
Cinematography by Douglas Milsome
Film Editing by Mike Murphy,Christopher Tellefsen
Casting By Irene Lamb
Production Design by Charles Wood
Art Direction by Franco Fumagalli,Nathan Schroeder,Marco Trentini
Set Decoration by Alessandra Querzola
Makeup Department Desideria Corridoni,Maria Teresa Corridoni,Hayat Ouled Dahhou,Siham Ouled Dahhou,Katalin Elek,Zoltan Elek,Mauro Meniconi,Alberto Moccia
Production Management Hamid Araissi,Fabiomassimo Dell Orco,Roberto Malerba,Michael Solinger
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director Mike Brewster,Jamie Christopher,Simon Emanuel,Rachid Gaidi,Ahmed Hatimi,Richard Kellond,Cliff Lanning,Michael Murray,Matthew Sharp
Art Department Majid Aoulad Abdellah,Alex Boswell,Stephen Bream,Abdenabi Izlaguen,Luciano Magagnini,Roberto Magagnini,Sarkis Marandjian,Mauro Masotti,Gary McIlraith,Jouali Med Abdelhamid,Antonio Murer,Philip Murphy,Andy Nicholson,Rachid Quiat,Rando Schmook,Michael White
Sound Department Don Banks,Rubén Domingo,Henry Godding Jr.,Edmund J. Lachmann,Mike Le Mare,Steve Livingston,David Marcus,Solange S. Schwalbe,Lionel Selwyn,Ivan Sharrock,Karola Storr
Special Effects by Daniel Acon,Trevor Butterfield,Maurizio Corridori,Neil Davies,David Harris,Mathew Horton,Darren May,Judith May,Duilio Olmi,Claudio Quaglietti
Stunts Robert Bastens,Georges Bejue,Ignacio Carreño,Ricardo Cruz,Dean Forster,Pedro García García,Luis M. Gutiérrez Santos,Paul Heasman,Mark Henson,Paul Herbert,Mark Lisbon,Peter Miles,Peter Pedrero,Dinny Powell,Gary Powell,Greg Powell,Nosher Powell,Joel Proust,Angelo Ragusa,Jesús Riarán,Todd Senofonte,Tom Struthers,David Ware,Peter White,Faycal Attougui,Tom Delmar,Paul Heasman,Gérard Lesage,Philippe Losson,Cedric Proust,Gary Robert,Mustapha Touki,Lahlali Zakaria
Camera and Electrical Department Patrick Bramucci,Fausto Cancellieri,Alessandro Cardelli,Ali Cherkaoui,Roberto De Angelis,Claudio Del Gobbo,Massimiliano Dessena,Jonathan Downing,Antonello Emidi,Jack English,Sergio Faina,Stefano Falivene,Claudio Frollano,Jeremy Knaster,Gianmaria Majorana,Driss Marzak,Daniele Massaccesi,Tommaso Mele,Bill O Leary,Mauro Pezzotti,Carlo Postiglione,Mohammed Hamza Regragui,Sky Sharrock,Marco Sticchi,Emiliano Topai,Riccardo Umetelli,Francesco Zaccaria
Casting Department Driss Biratate,Mulay Mustapha,Mary Jo Slater
Costume and Wardrobe Department Lahcen Abbana,Stefano De Nardis,Ali Lammari,Mustapha Mimis,Giulia Orsacchiotto,Abdelfattah Qzaibar,Maurizio Torti
Editorial Department Paul Elman,Hilarie Roope,Misako Shimizu
Location Management Vito Colazzo,Marco Giacalone
Music Department John Altman,Bill Baird,Richard Bissill,James Collins,Peter Davies,Randy Gerston,Erik Jordan,Gerard McCann,Amy Rosen
Script and Continuity Department Lisa Vick
Transportation Department Abdelhay Elanbassi,Hicham Regragui,Mohammed Chaoui
Additional Crew Noureddine Aberdine,Cecilia Alvarenga,Jon Baker,Denise Cresswell,André Duhamel,Maria Fiorito,Terry Gilbert,Houda Jabrane,Kamel Krifa,Patrick Jack Lee,Madelyn Most,Milena Bono Parodi,Joel Proust,Enzo Sisti,Bernadette Tanchauco,Nosher Powell
Genres Action, Adventure, Drama
Companies Long Road Productions, Pressman Film, Quadra Entertainment
Countries USA
Languages English
ContentRating R
ImDbRating 5.5
ImDbRatingVotes 24275
Keywords one word title,male rear nudity,shower room,shared shower,group shower