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1966, Arrow Films, 91 min, Italy/Spain, Dir: Sergio Corbucci

As the first notes ring out from Luis Bacalov’s iconic theme song, dark-clad, blazingly blue-eyed Franco Nero enters dragging a coffin through the inches-thick mud of a crummy town fought over by ex-Confederate soldiers and Mexican Revolutionaries. Director Sergio Corbucci easily could have followed the spaghetti Western template created by Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood, but instead he and Franco pushed things into a more subversive, political and violent direction. This is the original of at least 30 official and unofficial sequels, and Quentin Tarantino lists this film as No. 3 in his 20 favorite spaghetti Westerns (RESERVOIR DOGS’ infamous ear-cutting scene was a direct reference).

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