Django (1966)

Genres - Western  |   Sub-Genres - Spaghetti Western, Outlaw (Gunfighter) Film  |   Release Date - Dec 21, 2012 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - Italy, Spain  |  
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When the Italian movie studios saw Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars (1965) making dollars by the fistful they began rolling out Spaghetti Westerns by the conestoga load. One of the earliest efforts is still one of the genre's best, Sergio Corbucci's Django, a spare, hard-bitten, mean-spirited shot of pure adrenaline that counts Quentin Tarantino as one of its cult members (he stole the ear-cutting torture scene for Reservoir Dogs). Using Dollars as a template, Django tells its story almost with photographic storyboards, with the initial image of the sequence -- often an uncomfortably tight clasp -- sufficing to advance the story. Corbucci sets up a revenge motif for the ages, with the odds against the snarly hero woefully in the villains' favor, but Django thrives on the laughably unbalanced odds, as the results of the first bullet-strewn battle scene will attest. The finale, a graveyard shootout that has Django fanning his gun with pieces of meat showing through his bloody palms, is unthinkably brutal and nearly pornographic in its violence. Franco Nero, who became a star after this leading role, is an uncanny -- and clearly intentional -- double for Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name, complete with perpetual three-day growth, horse blanket poncho, and round-brimmed hat.