Italy / Spain 1966
Manolo Bolognini, Sergio Corbucci for B.R.C. Produzione, Tecisa
directed by Sergio Corbucci
starring Franco Nero, José Bodalo, Loredana Nusciak, Ángel Álvarez, Jimmy Douglas (= Gino Pernice), Simón Arriaga, Giovanni Ivan Scratuglia, Erik Schippers (= Remo De Angelis), Raphael Albaicín, José Canalejas, Eduardo Fajardo, José Terrón, Lucio De Santis, Silvana Bacci, Flora Carosello, Yvonne Sanson
story by Sergio Corbucci, Bruno Corbucci, screenplay by Sergio Corbucci, Bruno Corbucci, Franco Rossetti, José Gutiérrez Maesso, Piero Vivarelli, music by Luis Bacalov, assistant director: Ruggero Deodato, cinematography by Enzo Barboni (= E.B. Clutcher)
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Half gringa, half Mexican Maria (Loredana Nusciak) is about to be abused by a
gang of red-hooded hoodlums when a mysterious stranger dragging a coffin
through the countryside appears from nowhere and kills her tormentors. The
man proves to be Django (Franco Nero), an ex-Northern soldier who has gone to
the South on a personal mission, but is met everywhere with distrust.mIn the next village, he takes up residence with Maria in Nathaniele's (Angel
Alvarez) whorehouse and soon picks a fight with ultra racist Major
Jackson (Eduardo Fajardo) and his gang of red-hooded thugs, who have come to collet protection
money from Nathaniel and who prove to have the town in their steel grip. After killing all of the Marjo's bodyguards, Django invites
the Major to come to town the next day with all of his men for a showdown.
Expecting a quick victory over Django, the Major does really
bring all his men, but then Django pulls a machine gun out of his coffin and
mows all but a few down. He lets the Major survive, but his days in the city are
But why has Django done it? The Major has once killed the woman he loved, and nothing but complete revenge is now Django's driving force.
With the Major gone, a group of Mexicans led by General Hugo
(José Bodalo) now take over the town, and also lay claim on Maria. And wouldn't you know it, Django and Hugo prove to be old friends, with
Django not only having no objections to giving up Maria to the General but also
helping him to steal gold in the care of the Major from an camp,
in order to buy machine guns. It is only when Django and the General have a dispute over the gold that
things start to go wrong - so while the others are celebrating their successful
heist, Django steals the gold from the General, in turn
leaving his machinegun behind, since he needs his coffin to transport the loot.
Django manages to escape, and even takes Maria with him, but then he
loses the gold when it's accidently pushed into the quicksand, and when Django
is trying to retrieve it, the General catches up with him, shoots Maria and -
out of mercy for his old friend - destroys Django's hands so he can't use his
guns no more. The General and his gang soon walk into an ambush set up by none
other than Major Jackson and are all killed, but now the Major wants to have his
revenge on Django, who's less than fit for a gunfight ...
Besides the Sergio Leone's Dollar-trilogy,
Django can probably as the most genre-defining movie when it comes to
spaghetti westerns, as not only do all the genre elements seem to be in place
here, from its emphasis on a lone wolf anti-hero to its revenge plot to its
bleack and gritty approach, it also created the ultimate spaghetti western
superstar with Franco Nero. But that said, Django never feels a paint-by-numbers
job as so many later genre entries did, as it's a very well-crafted movie that's
heavy on atmosphere, that features its fair share of macabre details, that finds
the right balance between violent action and slower moments, and that adds more
suspense to the proceedings than most westerns. And after over 50 years, this
movie still looks remarkably fresh when many others of its ilk shine at best for
their nostalgia value. In all, a deserved classic, and pretty much a must-see
not only for genre fans.
The movie by the way was so successful, that many other Westerns would
suddenly have the word "Django", a name that director Corbucci borrowed from legendary
jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, in the title, be it in its original versions or
its various translations. The film though wouldn't have an official sequel
until 1987's Django Strikes Back, again starring Franco