Directed By: Sergio Corbucci
Starring: Franco Nero, José Bódalo, Loredana Nusciak
Tag line: "The movie that spawned a genre"
Trivia: The film spawned hundreds of unofficial sequels
The title character of Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 film, Django, is, by all appearances, your typical spaghetti western hero: a man quick with a gun who's also short on conversation. In fact, the only thing that sets him apart from his peers is his traveling companion, which happens to be a coffin. As the opening titles play out against the film's awesome title song, we watch Django drag this coffin through the mud and up a steep hill. It's a hell of a way to kick off a movie, and Django is one hell of a movie!!
Within moments of his arrival in a Mexican border town, Django finds himself caught in the middle of an ongoing feud between two murderous mobs. On one side are the local Mexican bandits, led by the ruthless General Hugo Rodriguez (José Bódalo), and on the other, a crew of American Confederate soldiers under the command of Major Jackson (Eduardo Fajardo). As is the case with most such feuds, their battles occur in the center of town, injuring innocent people who get caught in the crossffire. What neither side counted on, however, was Django, whose blazing guns show no favorites and take no sides.
Though silent most of the time, Django does occasionally let his guard down, and when he does, his attitude can best be described as hostile. But then, he's going up against some real lowlifes in this town. In fact, Django gives us not one, but two strong adversaries, the first of whom is Major Jackson, a bigoted Confederate Army officer with a deep hatred for all Mexicans. His first showdown with Django occurs in the town saloon, where the Major and his men question the gunslinger about his role in the killing of five of Jackson’s men. Django did, indeed, gun these men down, and before the Major can react, our hero draws and finishes off a few more. General Rodriguez is every bit as brutal as his American counterpart, and even cuts the ear off a man he believes is working against him. At the outset, Django and Rodriguez appear to be friends, but friendships like theirs aren’t destined to last very long.
Due to its excessive violence, Django was banned outright in many countries, and the MPAA refused to issue it a rating upon its release in the United States. With one or two exceptions, the violence in Django is tame by today's standards, yet what hasn’t dissipated with time is the film’s exhilarating style, heightened by a handful of incredible gunfights. With action and excitement aplenty, Django takes its rightful place as one of the best Spaghetti Westerns the genre has to offer.