Dick Richards directed this French Foreign Legion adventure that's at once parodies and pays tribute to the venerable Hollywood epics that preceded it. Gene Hackman stars as Major William Sherman Foster, a soldier who has been kicked out of West Point but has managed to obtain command of a group of Legionnaires after the end of World War I. His troops have been ordered to accompany an archeological expedition traveling to Morocco headed by Francois Marneau (Max von Sydow). Foster's motley band includes an on-the-lam cat burglar named Marco Segrain (Terence Hill), an ex-guardsman from the deposed Russian monarchy named Ivan (Jack O'Halloran), an adventure-seeking aristocrat named Fred Hastings (Paul Sherman), and an alluring beauty named Simone Picard (Catherine Deneuve). As the band makes their way to Morocco, they cross paths with the fervid and bloodthirsty Arab leader El Krim (Ian Holm), who vows to unite his people to expel foreigners from their land.
by Paul Brenner synopsis