Arguably the most famous fighting organization of all time, the French Foreign Legion’s fame is largely due to the motion pictures that used it as a subject. Well over one hundred films have been made since the first two-reelers in 1912. They have been produced in a number of countries, mostly in the United States and France, but also in Europe and as far afield as China and Turkey.
The Legion itself saw action in many nations, having its origins in the imperialist nineteenth century. Beginning in Morocco and Algeria, units of the Legion later were sent to Mexico and Vietnam, then known as French Indo-China. Novels and stage plays about the Foreign Legion began to appear in the late nineteenth century, and were followed by motion pictures in the second decade of the twentieth. Eventually, many leading names of the film industry, such as Gary Cooper, Ronald Colman and Marlene Dietrich, would appear in Foreign Legion films in both the silent and sound eras. Cartoon characters like Porky Pig and Bugs Bunny appeared in animated films, for not even the French Foreign Legion could escape being satirized.
Radio and television productions about the famed fighting force followed in due course, as did a number of documentaries. Films featuring the Spanish Foreign Legion are also included here. All media productions through 2007 are listed chronologically in their various sub-topics in this volume.
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