Django Along with Sergio Leone's Clint Eastwood trilogy, Sergio Corbucci's Django, starring Belgian hunk Franco Nero as the gritty mercenary who drags a coffin behind him, was one of the most influential spaghetti Westerns... more ». After mowing down armies of bad guys with his machine gun (which he brandishes in classic two-fisted tough-guy fashion--from the hip), he stages a daring gold heist from a Mexican military fortress and then plots to double-cross his bandito partners. Corbucci, who cowrote the story, fashions an unrelentingly violent tale of rival gangs squeezing the life out of a muddy, bloody border town, reveling in the sadism of the genre. The film opens with a woman strung up and lashed by a group of lascivious bandits, only to be saved by even more sadistic gunmen who plan to burn her alive, and Django fan Quentin Tarantino borrowed the scene where a vindictive general slices the ear off a corrupt preacher for Reservoir Dogs. While not as stylish as Leone's operatic epics, Django pushed the borders of violence into all-new territory, and the film was banned outright in England and cut in the U.S. It spawned 20 unofficial sequels before Nero returned 20 years later for the only legitimate sequel, Django Strikes Again. In the meantime, Nero followed up this grimy antihero role with a turn as the singing medieval superknight Lancelot in Camelot! Also features a short interview with Nero. Django Strikes Again Franco Nero returns in the only official sequel to Sergio Corbucci's trendsetting Django. Twenty years later the repentant gunman has buried his past and entered a monastery, but he is rallied into action when his daughter is kidnapped by slave-driving Prussian autocrat Christopher Connelly. Captured and set to work in Connelly's silver mine, Django escapes with the help of a prisoner (a warm performance by Donald Pleasance), digs up his trusty machine gun, and returns wielding death, appropriately from the seat of a hearse. Django Strikes Again was shot in the jungles of Columbia, and the landscape only vaguely resembles the American Gulf Coast, but the lush river settings create a magnificent backdrop for the film's set piece, which features a black, armored steamship that cruises local towns for mine slaves and young girls to be sold to the bordellos. Director Ted Archer maintains the strong brutal streak that runs through the history of Italian westerns. Kids are tortured and monasteries and convents raided by Connelly's men, while Django beheads a pair of raiders with a swipe of a scythe. The carefully plotted (if at times preposterous) story and the transformation of Django from heartless mercenary lifts this from the mire of spaghetti Western sadism to create a genuinely involving film that is, at its best, better than its inspiration. Also features a short interview with Nero. --Sean Axmaker« less
"Django was director's Sergio Corbucci pet project for a couple of years (he hardly finished the film, as half way through he ran out of money). It features italian actor Franco Nero in one of his first roles ever (he had been working as a fireman prior to making this film), and the film would spawn many other rip off's in name only. It remained so popular, that in Germany whenever there is a film with Franco Nero in it, they use the Django name (even if the film takes place nowadays). As far as the story goes, it features a black-clad gunslinger dragging a coffin through the mud, he arrives in a border town and pulls out a machine-gun from his coffin, killing about everyone in sight. The bad guys, of course don't appreciate this, and start torturing the locals. Among the tortures, there is the infamous ear-slicing scene that probably inspired Tarantino's in Reservoir Dogs, only that here it goes beyond anything you could have imagined (I'm referring to the uncut and uncensored version of this film, which I hope is the same as this DVD). Afterwards, a series of further tortures and sadism ensues, until our hero, against all odds, must beat the bad fuys in a cemetary. An incredible film, not for the faint-hearted, that included among it's crew members, director of photography Enzo Barboni, who would later on make the Trinity films (featuring a Franco Nero look-alike in Terence Hill) and Ruggero Deodato, who would make the infamous Cannibal Holocaust (when will this gorefest be released in DVD?). Django would also influence the Jimmy Cliff reggae gangster film The Harder They Come, which covers pretty much the same story. Django Strikes Again, on the other hand, is among the worst sequels ever made (hence, the overall 3 stars, 5 for Django and 1 for the sequel). Almost entirely shot in Colombia, South America (? ), featuring some of the country's worst local actors along the way. The least said about this inept sequel the better (when will Giulio Questi's Django Kill... If You Live Shoot! starring Tomas Milian be released?)."
THE MAN WITH A NAME : DJANGO
wdanthemanw | Geneva, Switzerland | 06/15/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I won't argue here, the four westerns directed by Sergio Leone in the sixties fly high above the hundreds of spaghetti westerns shot in Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy or Iceland during the same blessed period. However, this not a reason to overlook the cinematographic works of the outsiders of the italian master. Take Sergio Corbucci's DJANGO for instance. True that Franco Nero doesn't have Clint Eastwood's presence, true that DJANGO's supporting characters can't be compared with Gian-Maria Volontè or Klaus Kinski's hysterical apparitions.So what, why leave this movie in the overpopulated Purgatory of forgotten movies. I was excited by the duels presented in Django, not by the machine-gun duels too predictible, but rather by the duel in Nathaniel's saloon or the final duel in a cemetery between a Franco Nero dealing with a crushed hand and the bad guys wearing red clothes so that you (and Django) can't miss them when the gunfight starts.DJANGO STRIKES BACK, set in Mexico but shot in beautiful Colombia 20 years later, is not so exciting but you absolutely have to watch once the prologue of the movie, presented in italian with subtitles. Two pistoleros, well over the 60 years old mark, desperately try, after an hilarious gunfight, to remember the name of this legend of the West, the Man with the machine-gun. The irony of this scene is an excellent homage to Sergio Leone.Two mini-interviews with Franco Nero, an interactive game for your kids, production notes and trailers complete this limited Anchor Bay edition.A DVD zone outsiders."
Django Strikes Again
Montoya | El Dorado Hills, CA United States | 07/28/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Not sure about director 'Ted Archer' but one thing is certain: 'Ted Archer' is not Guiseppe Colizzi or Sergio Carbucci! -- however 'Ted' is still a gifted director all the same. Likewise not sure if 'Django Strikes Again' truly qualifies as a spaghetti western or just as an offbeat Italian film? Whatever the case diehard Italian film/spaghetti western lovers will love this movie but everyone else will probably loathe it as we can see from the one-star reviews already submitted. For those of us who love the imagination and intention of these Italian films the movie does not disappoint, especially with the characteristically eccentric performance of Donald Pleasance, as well as a very mature and thoughtful rendition from Franco Nero. The transfer to DVD is excellent in region zero - a nice surprise as well! Italian film/spaghetti western movie lovers will rate this film as four stars, while all others will probably give only one star. In the end though as a creative work it is a great effort based upon a lofty ideal which the film does not quite reach however four out of five stars for trying!"
Gritty, yet unsatisfying
M. Nichols | West Chester, OH United States | 07/16/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"One cannot downplay the fact that DJANGO obviously inspired a number of films, from the spaghetti western through modern cinema. One scene is copied nearly exactly in Tarantino's RESERVOIR DOGS. Still, appearing two years after Sergio Leone's FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, DJANGO itself was already copying the trilogy of films that have defined the genre. The entire plot of the first film, for example, is nearly exactly that of FISTFUL... and several scenes appear to have been lifted from FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE (1965). The title character as well is an obvious copy of Eastwood's "man with no name." Still, the film is enjoyable, though the direction is uneven and there are several definite lags in the action where you're tempted to turn off the film altogether. The ending redeems these shortcomings, however, and leaves one feeling that the venture was worthwhile.
The audio track on this DVD, from the usually marvelous Anchor Bay, is the major disappointment. While the film looks good, the horrible dubbing is a major distraction and it's clear that the English dialogue does not match what was originally scripted. I know that Anchor Bay works hard to put together the best possible print of a film and sometimes that means dubbed audio instead of subtitled - and it sometimes works if the film itself is good enough to rise above it, but DJANGO is not quite that good. In the liner notes Anchor Bay acknowledges that "in spite of a biting, well-written script for the film, much of [Django's] hard-edged dialogue and tough-guy turns of phrase are lost in a workmanlike translation for the English dub, as is his grizzled baritone vocal delivery, voiced over by a much higher-pitched actor."
The one official sequel, DJANGO STRIKES AGAIN, accompanies the original as a second disc and is of similar quality. While the audio is much improved over the original, too much time has passed and, away from the Old West setting, the character inevitably fails.
It is a pity that these are not better films because Anchor Bay has done one hell of a job with the packaging, especially with the collectible booklet which features poster art and descriptions of most of the over 50 unofficial sequels to DJANGO that appeared between the original and DJANGO STRIKES AGAIN.
Regardless of its flaws, however, this is a keeper, simply because it's not a film you're likely to find elsewhere in any better condition and certainly not accompanied by as many extras as Anchor Bay has included with this package - and it stands as one of the better examples of the genre, despite its inferioty to the Leone/Eastwood pictures. And buy this one while you can if you're interested in both films, because Anchor Bay plans to release DJANGO in an "unlimited" edition, but without DJANGO STRIKES AGAIN."
Great film that would've benefitted from a subtitling option
Seth T. Hahne | SoCal | 06/16/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"DJANGO has a wonderfully gritty feel to it. It and other Italian westerns of it's time (e.g., "The Dollars Trilogy") had an enormous effect on American cinema -- first in the Western genre (even the later John Wayne films drew from the Italian West) and then branching into mainstream affairs. Though the character of the antihero, so popular in the spaghetti westerns, had long existed in American film, he lived (and usually died) in the crime noir genre almost exclusively. Until Italy made its mark, westerns were inhabited by absolutes: good guys wore white and bad guys wore black. But if something as pure as the good old fashioned western could be polluted by the noirish antihero elements, so could (and would) all other genres. And so it went.Franco Nero, as the title character, Django, fulfills perfectly the classic spaghetti western role (as did Eastwood in his own projects). He is the unstoppable, immoral, gunfighter whose only weakness is his conscience. Seemingly indefatigable, he falters only slightly when his heart is touched, and is undone -- only to return to conquer all his opposition. Eastwood follows the identical path in FISTFULL OF DOLLARS. All told, DJANGO is a fun and entertaining, though not light and inconsequential, glance back to the beginnings of the modern western. My only real complaint with the DVD release is the lack of option concerning subtitles and the original-language track. Especially after the packaging material laments the poor English-language dubbing, I would've been excited to hear the original track (with English subs, of course!)."