Release Date: April 6th, 1966 (Italy)
Directed by: Sergio Corbucci
Written by: Sergio Corbucci, Bruno Corbucci
Based on: Yojimbo by Akira Kurosawa, Ryuzo Kikushima
Music by: Luis Enriquez Bacalov
Cast: Franco Nero, Loredana Nusciak, José Bodalo, Angel Alvarez, Eduardo Fajardo
B.R.C. Produzione S.r.l., Tecisa, Euro International Film, 92 Minutes
For those who don’t know, there was a Django before Jamie Foxx took up that moniker. Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained was its own film and not a remake of the 1966 Italian spaghetti western Django. It was, however, a bit of an homage to the original and other films like it and even featured a cameo by Franco Nero, the original Django.
This review is about that original film.
This is one of the most “balls to the wall” films ever made. It features an immense amount of violence, which kind of became a trend amongst Italian spaghetti westerns of the 60s and 70s. The film’s style also spawned a sequel, dozens of unofficial sequels and copycats.
None are as good as the original film starring Franco Nero. Although he did play the character again, this was the best outing.
The film feels a lot more low budget than the Sergio Leone films of the time but it is a lot more colorful visually and tonally. The color palette used in this film is vibrant and full of life. Django’s intense dark blue duds and the dresses of the prostitutes, in the brothel where he spends most of his time, are in stark contrast to the drab and dirty town they inhabit and the very plain uniforms of the militia they oppose.
Django incorporates a level of violence that is over the top but not blatantly offensive. This film had to have had the highest kill count of any western I’ve ever seen. One scene alone pits Django against an army of 48 soldiers. All of them are mowed down by his heavy firepower.
The climactic final battle sees Django have to battle six gunmen in a graveyard while his hands are smashed to bits, making the task of holding a pistol damn near impossible. Of course the hero overcomes, that shouldn’t be a spoiler considering all the sequels (official and unofficial) that were pumped out for decades after this.
Django is one of the greatest spaghetti westerns ever made. It is definitely a film for the man’s man. I mean, what is cooler than a film starting with a lone gunman walking into a dangerous town dragging a coffin behind him? What’s in the coffin? What’s this mysterious stranger’s business in town?
This movie set a trend in creating ultraviolent westerns. It would be nice to see more westerns go back to this “no holds bar” style. Tarantino went all out with his Django Unchained and his Hateful Eight walked the same territory but we need more westerns with gigantic gunfights and ultraviolence than long drawn out narratives. Those films are great to a point but sometimes you want the unrelenting intensity of Mad Max: Fury Road, as opposed to action-less Driving Miss Daisy.
It also has one of the best movie themes of all-time. Seriously, just watch the trailer.