A chain mail-clad gunfighter contends with a pacifist sheriff, a seductive banker, a one-armed Mexican bandit, corrupt businessmen and hippies while trying to learn the secret of the money allegedly stolen by his lynched brother.
Bounty killers led by Loco prey on outlaws hiding out in the snowbound Utahn mountains. After Pauline's husband becomes Loco's latest victim, she hires a gunman for revenge; Silence, mute since his throat was cut when he was a boy.Written by
Tom Seldon <firstname.lastname@example.org>
(English-language version) Loco's statement to Miguel's mother that they kill bandits for their "bread and butter" contrasts with Pollicut's sarcastic statement that the bandits have to be "fought with bread and butter" at the advice of Sheriff Burnett. See more »
In the initial overhead shot of the stagecoach Silence is riding in (before he meets Sheriff Burnett), two horses are attached to the back of the stage instead of one. See more »
[after Silence has killed four other bounty killers]
W-Wait! I-I surrender! Don't kill me! I-I won't do it again! I'm through with bounty hunting! Don't kill me, Silence!
[Silence shoots both of the man's thumbs off; the killer moans in pain]
Damn you! You've... crippled my hands!
[tries to shoot Silence with his pistol, but is shot in the back by Miguel]
See more »
Two alternative endings were created for this film:
A "happy" ending, in which Sheriff Burnett (having somehow survived being trapped under a frozen lake) rides into town and shoots Loco before he can kill Silence, allowing him to kill the remaining bounty killers. This ending was once believed to be shot for the North African and Japanese markets, but has since been revealed to have been created as an alternative solution for the producers, who wanted the film to have a "seasonal" (ie. Christmas) appeal.
A lesser-known, "ambiguous" re-cut of the original ending with additional footage, in which Silence is wounded, but Loco gestures to his gang members to leave the saloon before they can kill anyone.
An exceptional and striking western one could never have done in Hollywood
This is among the very few films that make you truly disgusted by its violence; not because of the amount of blood as in many other films but because the victims of the bounty hunters are human beings, slaughtered brutally in front of their own family members. Corbucci has disguised this film as a piece of popular cinema, but gives us shocks once in a while, and finally surprises us completely in the unexpected end. This is how he makes his anti-violent message very clear, and it is easy to agree with him.
IL GRANDE SILENZIO is more pessimistic but also more human than any western by Leone or Peckinpah. It may not be a pleasant experience, but if you want to see a masterpiece of cinema instead of a traditional western, it is definitely worth waiting in line for.
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