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Undeservedly little-known gangster movie
SMK-42 February 1999
This is an undeservedly little-known gangster movie. The story resolves around the traditionally motive of loyalty, betrayal, and the strange moral code of the Mafia (in Italy), but we are never quite sure what ending the story is going for. The film keeps up the pace nicely throughout and the excellent doubly-twisted ending comes as a total surprise.

Gastone Moschin is very good in the lead as the apparent excon and victim of the Mafia's attention, but the acting prize goes to Mario Adorf's Mafia Lieutenant. He also has the best line, right at the end - which I cannot give away as it would spoil the suspense.
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Neat Double Plot Twist
eibon0923 April 2001
Milano Calibro 9/Milan Calibre 9(1972) contains a fast paced tightly edited prologue that is done with brilliance. The opening five minutes are both brutal and sadistic. Rocco played by Mario Adorf is introduced in the prologue as a psychotic mafia hood. The prologue is an example of setting up mood and story for the film.

Mario Adorf gives a performance that brings to mind Joe Pesce in Goodfellas(1990) and Casino(1995), Takeshi Kitano in Boiling Point(1990), and Lee Marvin in The Big Heat(1953). He is excellent as the mafia hood with a sadistic streak. Mario Adorf plays his character with unbelievable and vicious conviction. His performance is one of the best acting jobs from the film.

This movie along with La Mala Ordina/Hired to Kill(1973) and Il Boss/The Boss(1973) makes Fernando Di Leo the Italian eqivulent of Jean Pierre Melville. Fernando Di Leo is influenced by Melville in many aspects. Milan Calibre 9(1972) reminds me of Le Doulos(1961) with their use of anti heroes. One of many films that Jean Pierre Melville made an impression on.

Has a double plot twist which is utilized in cleaver and unpredictable fashion. I was surprised by the first plot revealing twist. I was convincing stunned by the second plot revealing twist which was much more unexpected. The double plot twist is one characteristic that makes the film special.

Fernando Di Leo stands out in the gangster craze of Italian cinema in the same way that Sergio Leone stood out as a master of Italian Westerns, Dario Argento as a master of Giallos, and Lucio Fulci as a master of Italian Zombie pics. He brings out a direction full of passion and spunk. The director films the violent scenes with panache and piazzazz. An underrated filmmaker in Italian cinema.

Soundtrack of Milan Calibre Nine is awesome and cool. Luis Enriquez Bacalov is excellent at performing music for Italian Crime and Western motion pictures. The Police are depicted in a cynical and unsympathetic light. The only Police officer who comes out in a sympathetic tone is Fonzino who's only in the movie for a few minutes.

The major action sequence in Milan Calibre 9(1972) prefigures John Woo. What's so twisted about the end of the motion picture is its Rocco whose the most trust worthy person in the entire story. Gastone Moschin gives a gripping performance as a man who cannot escape his tragic fate. Some wonderful performances are handed out by Barbara Bouchet, Philippe Leroy, and Lionel Stander.

The scene where Nelly Bordon played by Barbara Bouchet is doing an erotic dance is filmed with multiple camera angles. An sensual introduction to the character of Barbara Bouchet. The editing in this one scene is good and imaginative. Barbara Bouchet is definitely one of the beautiful women from the 1970s when one sees Milan Calibre 9(1972).

An example of the growing popularity of the gangster movie in Italy. Milan Calibre 9(1972) is in my opinion belongs among the top ten of Italian gangster pictures. The Godfather(1972) may have influenced the gangster film in Italy during the 1970s, but Milano Calibro 9(1972) takes on a life of its own. I've was very impressed by Milano Calibro 9(1972) that I've taken an interest in other films from this genre and decade in Italian cinema.

Provided many influences and inspirations for filmography of Quentin Tarantino. His portrayal of tough guys in his films takes a page out of Milan Calibre 9 as well as other mafia features by Fernando Di Leo. The sadistic violence and unpredictable plot twists can be seen in Resevoir Dogs(1992) and Pulp Fiction(1994). No one filmmaker has influenced Tarantino more frequently besides Jean Pierre Melville than Fernando Di Leo.
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Excellent Italian crime thriller!
The_Void13 November 2006
Films like Milano Calibro 9 are the reason I watch this sort of film. After trudging through so many disappointing Italian thrillers, it's always great when you find a diamond in the rough - and that's exactly what this well crafted little gem is. The film is a thriller bordering on the 'Polizia' style of films that would go on to become Italy's version of the Dirty Harry franchise, although the main plot focus here is on crime and the mafia. It has to be said the plot isn't overly deep - as the themes of stealing and treachery exist only to further the complex and twisted plot, but the film is great fun to watch and a success for that reason. The plot focuses on Ugo Piazza; a convict just out of prison. He soon meets up with his sexy girlfriend Nelly Bordon, and with the unpredictable and sadistic Rocco, who revels in committing acts of violence, and we later learn that £300,000 has gone missing, and the local crime syndicate believes that Ugo has it - as does the local police inspector, who has his own opinion about why Ugo went to jail in the first place.

The main reason why this film excels is thanks to the fantastic performances. Gastone Moschin leads the film with a performance that reminded me of something Ray Winstone would deliver. He provides a likable anti-hero, while Mario Adorf gets to enjoy himself with the meatiest role in the film. Barbara Bouchet co-stars and looks great, especially in her dancing scene in a bar. Bouchet is one of my absolute favourite Italian actresses, and I always enjoy seeing her in films - especially when they're up to the standard of this one. The film does somewhat adhere to the pitfall plaguing many Italian thrillers - that being that the story doesn't always make sense, but generally; the plot flows really well and the twists and turns ensure that it never gets boring. The climax of the film is excellent, and director Fernando Di Leo excellently pulls off the double twist at the end, which both resolves the story and provides neat entertainment. Overall, Milano Calibre 9 may not be the most well known cult Italian film - but it's one that shouldn't be missed by fans of this sort of stuff, and therefore comes highly recommended.
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Mind-Blowing Italian Crime Masterpiece
Fernando Di Leo's "Milano Calibro 9" is an out-and-out masterpiece of Italian Crime cinema and, in my opinion, one of the most astonishing crime stories ever told. The first film in Di Leo's excellent 'Milieu' trilogy, "Milano Calibro 9" was followed by "La Mala Ordina" (aka. "Manhunt", also 1972) and the brilliant "Il Boss" (1973). The three films are not connected story-wise, but all three are excellent, and highly realistic portrayals of organized crime. As far as I am concerned "Manhunt" is (allthough excellent) slightly inferior to this one and "Il Boss" which both stand out as absolute all-time highlights of crime cinema. "Milano Calibro 9" is the best of them all, a film that is astonishing in all aspects, be it the ingenious plot that, apart from a compelling story and clever twists, includes social criticism, the performances, the gritty atmosphere and suspense or the brilliant score. I can hardly find the right words to express my admiration for this masterpiece which easily ranks among the greatest Gangster flicks ever brought to screen.

Gastone Moschin stars as Ugo Piazza, a tough and elliptical ex-convict who has just been released from prison. Immediately after his release, Ugo is approached by members of the Milan mob lead by the irascible gangster Rocco (Mario Adorf), as they suspect him to be responsible for the disappearance of a large sum of money belonging to their boss, an American (Lionel Stander) who controls the organized crime in Milan...

"Milano Calibro 9" is a film that delivers an astonishingly realistic mood of the underworld like hardly another. The intriguing storyline goes in hand with interesting characters, raw atmosphere, suspense and breathtaking action, social criticism and brutal violence. The film is simply stunning from the beginning to the end, which is even intensified by the brilliant score, a collaboration of the famous composer Luis Enríquez Bacalov and the Italian Progressive Rock band Osanna. Ugo Piazza must be one of the most charismatic gangster characters ever in cinema, and Gastone Moschin was the prefect choice for the role. Moschin delivers a brilliant performance, and the rest of the cast is also great. Mario Adorf is irascible like a rabid dog as the ferocious gangster Rocco, a role that fits him like a glove. The great Lionel Stander fits perfectly in his role of the American Mafia Don.

The two cop characters in the film are played by two of the greatest regulars of Italian genre-cinema, Luigi Pistilli and Frank Wolff (who committed suicide before the film was released). The ravishing Barbara Bouchet is astonishing and incredibly sexy in the role of Ugo Piazza's stripper girlfriend. Bouchet is both a stunning beauty and an excellent actress and this is doubtlessly one of her most memorable roles. This is also a political film and director Di Leo embedded a lot of social criticism about topics like corruption. This film simply has everything one can possibly desire in cinema. Films like "Milano Calibro 9" are the reason why I love cinema. This is an absolute masterpiece in all regards and, without exaggeration, one of the greatest Crime flicks ever made! The ingenious opening scene alone is more memorable than most films get in two hours. 10/10
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A high calibre of crime film indeed
Red-Barracuda4 February 2013
An ex-con attempts to go straight but cannot escape the influence of his old crime bosses. Underpinning everything is the matter of a missing $300,000 that he is under suspicion of stealing. The mob and the police want him to reveal all, while he protests his innocence.

Milan Calibre 9 is one of crime specialist director Fernando Di Leo's most famous movies. He was probably the best director in the Italian poliziotteschi and is responsible for several other classics of that sub-genre, such as The Boss and The Italian Connection. Like those, this one is also a fast paced, tough and violent flick with some excellently staged action scenes. The big shoot-out at the outdoor garden party stands out as an example of the latter. But mainly the story is driven more by interesting characters and a fairly complex plot with several twists and turns.

The Milan setting itself is used well, with a good sense of place. Unlike the other Italian thriller genre of the 70's, the giallo, the poliziotteschi were virtually all set in Italy itself. Many, like this one, featured the city in question in their title. They were more realistic than their more stylised gialli counterparts and I guess they connected with their audience in a slightly different way in that they provided thrills along with observations about contemporary crime concerns. Milan Calibre 9 like other Di Leo crime films has some such social commentary. The corruption in the justice system and the degradation of the mafia are subjects that are touched upon.

It benefits from a very strong cast. Mario Adorf is in his element as the sadistic gangster Rocco, he owns every scene he is in. Barbara Bouchet is as exquisite as always, she plays a night-club dancer who is introduced to us in a mouth-wateringly erotic dance routine. Lionel Standler is very convincing in the role of the sinister crime boss The Americano; while the two cops are played by reliable Italian genre film regulars Luigi Pistilli and Frank Wolff.

All in all, this is a quality action-thriller that remains relatively obscure. It's a very good example of what the Italian crime movie was all about.
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A Violent, Sexy, Clever Crime Movie
Eumenides_016 November 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Some movies you just need to watch a few minutes to know you'll love them. Fernando Di Leo's Caliber 9 opens with a gangster overseeing a criminal operation in a pigeon-occupied plaza. A package containing $300,000 moves across the city, passing from runner to runner, until ending up in the hands of the sadistic Rocco (Mario Adorf), an enforcer for a crime lord. But along the way someone has replaced the bank notes with blank pages. Rocco's revenge is swift and brutal, rounding up the runners one by one and disposing of them in one explosive go. It's a stylish, fast-paced montage, playing to an amazing main theme composed by the legendary Luis Bacalov. Five minutes is all we need to know that Caliber 9 is a violent, mesmerizing, exciting movie.

Who stole the money? That's the movie's mystery in this mixture of Italian Poliziottesco and American film noir. The Poliziottesco is a crime/action subgenre of Italian cinema that flourished during the '70s, characterized by its unglamorous and graphic depiction of crime and violence. This came out the same year as The Godfather, and it's interesting to compare how each country portrays organized crime. Coppola's loyal, honourable family has no place in Di Leo's Italy. Rocco has no problems torturing a woman by smashing her face against furniture repeatedly. It's violence divested of entertainment values; the criminals aren't nice and we're not supposed to like them.

Rocco and the police think Ugo Piazza (Gastone Moschin), a runner involved in the scheme and who was arrested shortly after for a botched robbery, stole the package. Both Rocco and the Police Commissioner (Frank Wolff) are waiting for Ugo to go get the money. The police see this as an opportunity to arrest Rocco's boss, the crime lord known as The Americano (Lionel Stander).

The only problem is that Uzo vehemently denies having taken the money, and he intends to prove it so he can settle down again with his former girlfriend, Nelly (Barbara Bouchet). Ugo could have walked out of an American film noir: a man of few words and fewer friends, caught between brutal thugs and cops who wants to use him as bait, running against time to prove his innocence, he has the typical aura of doom that looms over the lives of film noir protagonists.

His only connections in the crime world are the blind Don Vincenzzo (Ivo Garrani), a former Mafia Don, and his bodyguard, Chino (Philippe Leroy), but they refuse to get involved out of principle. If Ugo really stole the money, then he broke rules of conduct amongst criminals. The movie is very ingenious in the way it contrasts a mythical, bygone age of honourable Mafiosi, nostalgically recalled by Don Vincenzzo, and the unchecked vicious thugs controlled by Rocco. The concept of honour comes back to haunt Chino at the end, in one of the movie's many twists.

But Ugo is a resourceful guy, capable of withstanding a beating if that will further his goals. Although not the physical type he's smart and we watch him manipulate Rocco, The Americano, the police and Chino like pieces in a chessboard, except he's moving the pieces on each side. Anyone who has seen A Fistful of Dollars or Miller's Crossing may think they know where this is going, but the way Ugo turns everyone against each other is a class act on its own level.

The acting is efficient but not stellar. Moschin's subdued performance is the perfect counterpoint to the over-the-top tour de force by Adorf, who bursts into the screen like a wild beast ready to tear his preys apart. Although his performance as a tough, nasty thug lends itself easily to parody, it's also one of the funniest aspects of the movie The movie also suffers from something endemic in Italian cinema from the '70s. At the time almost everyone in the arts was a leftist and usually the films were full of political content. Some directors knew how to incorporate this naturally into the story – Elio Petri's Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion does a great job showing the way a fascist cop's mind works, and Bertolucci's The Conformist is a sober portrait of life in Mussolini's regime. Others failed to marry story and content and turned into pamphlets. Such is the case of Caliber 9 at times: actors Frank Wolff and Luigi Pistilli play politically opposed cops and slow down the narrative with conversations about the social causes of crime, the treatment of inmates, political corruption, etc. These scenes seem to belong in another film, and Di Leo only justified not removing them because Wolff and Pistilli deliver great performances.
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Excellent suspense movie
Fpi17 September 2006
Crime novels can be rather dull sometimes, but everyone will agree that some are simply excellent - suspenseful, totally unpredictable and with numerous plot twists. This film is apparently based upon one of the excellent ones. Both silly and intelligent viewers will be kept on the edge of their seat until the very ending, which by the way has an unforgettable quote. When a plot like this is coupled with terrific acting and world-class visuals and music -- the result has to be good.

Those sympathetic to early seventies fashion and music are in for a real treat. Osanna/Bacalov's music is totally uncompromising and - in my honest opinion - worth a hundred times the entrance money in its own right. This may be the best soundtrack ever! The visuals are also astonishing - timeless in their beauty, but still with a strong flavour of early 70s. And you'll also catch some glimpses of what must be the world's most beautiful woman.

In sum, all this simply makes up a classic. NOT TO BE MISSED!

(Those who already own the soundtrack, which actually seems easier to find than the movie, should be advised that the movie has alternate versions, all brilliant).
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Coventry30 September 2007
No less than Quentin Tarantino referred to "Milano Calibro .9" as the absolute greatest Italian film-noir ever made, and who the hell are we to question that statement? This truly is one of the most grippingly fascinating and shockingly straightforward crime portraits ever filmed and I wouldn't hesitate for one second to call it a genuine masterpiece of cult cinema. "Milano Calibro .9" is the first installment of Ferando Di Leo's trilogy, followed by the equally mesmerizing "Manhunt" and "The Boss". The stories and characters of these films are unrelated, but together they represent the gifted director's personal and highly criticizing visions of organized crime in Italy during the early 70's. Perhaps even more remarkable than the excessive display of nihilistic violence in these movies, is Di Leo's devotion to point out the incompetence of Italy's government and law-system during that era. The country itself is to blame for all the powerful crime networks and the relentless mafia organizations it spawned, and the director will make damn sure this message is communicated clearly. But naturally, even without all the political involvement, "Milano Calibro .9" is a phenomenal film, with non-stop suspense, rough action, realistic character drawings and head-spinning dialogs. The intro alone is fantastic, as more action and brutal violence occurs in ten minutes than most Hollywood movies have to offer throughout the entire playtime. I hate to give away too much about the convoluted plot, but I can assure it contains all the necessary ingredients: treason, vengeance among criminals, strip bars, executions, corrupt coppers and the ongoing search for a stolen loot of $ 300.000! The atmosphere in this film is continuously gritty and ominous, because literally no one can be trusted and any character risks to get shot in the back at any given moment. Di Leo brilliantly uses Milan as the location for all the mayhem, and the city inexplicably plays one of the most important roles in the story, because it forms the home of the economic crisis, high level of delinquency and police forces reluctant to alter their methods of crime-fighting. The cast is awesome, with Gaston Moschin in an unconventional but masterful lead role. Mario Adorf impresses as the sardonic and relentless second-in-command and Barbara Bouchet takes every man's breath away with her sexy appearance and ravishing beauty. The sensual dance sequence she performs is only one of thousand reasons to watch "Milano Calibro .9", but it's undeniably the most convincing one.
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Interesting polizioto fusion
chaos-rampant14 August 2008
Milano Calibro 9 is story-wise closer to noir, complete with femme fatale, a laconic and weathered protagonist and unexpected plot- twists but in the same time is plagued by the usual workmanlikeness that plagues many of these Italian police films. Di Leo's direction lacks the unique touch, visual and otherwise, that elevated Melville's films from simple potboilers. So even if the movie attempts to break the mold of typical poliziotos, the direction makes it look like the kind of films it tries to distance itself from. The political aspect is pretty heavy-handed, to the extent that it is almost entirely and explicitly manifested through the dialogues between Luigi Pistilli's "criminals are the effect, not the cause" left-ist inspector and Frank Wolff's typical hard-assed police captain.

On the good side, Gastone Moschin's understated performance as Ugo Piazza is fantastic and thankfully makes up for Adorf's atrocious overacting, Barbara Bouchet is gorgeous as usual and also gets to show her dancing skills in a bikini, the music is cool and the plot twists near the end are effective in their unpredictability. The story is interesting enough I guess but as a whole color me unimpressed.
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When you see someone like Ugo Piazzi, you tip your hat.
lastliberal-853-25370829 January 2013
Like The Italian Connection, this Fernando Di Leo film features Mario Adorf. It also features Barbara Bouchet (Gangs of New York), who left the States in the 70s to do Italian films. She jumped from Police films, to giallo, to erotica. Always a pleasure to watch.

This is a typical double cross film with a missing $300,000. Who took the money? Who will end up with the money? Who will double cross whom? The police just sit back and let the mafia, led by the Americano (Lionel Stander) tear each other apart.

Lots of fights, a big shootout, and some fine performances by Adorf, and Gastone Moschin
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A first-rate Italian crime thriller winner
Woodyanders3 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Tough, shrewd ex-con Ugo Piazza (superbly played with understated stoic and steely resolve by Gastone Moschin) gets paroled from prison. Both the mob and the police alike suspect Ugo of hiding $300,000 dollars which should have been given to an American drug syndicate. But Ugo refuses to divulge any information about the missing loot to either party. Writer/director Fernando Di Leo relates the absorbing story at a constant quick pace, does an expert job of creating and sustaining a supremely rough, gritty, and uncompromisingly harsh tone, stages the action scenes with considerable panache (a major shoot-out at an outdoor party is especially amazing and exciting), makes inspired use of the cold urban locations, and punctuates the narrative with shocking outbursts of extremely raw and brutal violence. This film further benefits from sturdy acting by a stellar cast: the ravishing Barbara Bouchet burns up the screen with her sultry portrayal of Ugo's loyal dancer girlfriend Nelly Bordon (Barbara's introductory scene depicting her dancing in a bikini in a swingin' club is memorably sexy), Mario Adorf delivers a deliciously robust turn as flamboyant and sadistic gangster Rocco Musco, Philippe Leroy excels as Ugo's rugged, yet weary former partner Chino, plus there are fine contributions by Luigi Pistilli as cagey, hard-nosed Inspector Mercuri, Frank Wolff as a liberal police commissioner, Ivo Garrani as the wise Don Vincenzo, and Lionel Standler as fearsome mob capo Americano. Moreover, we even get some spot-on stinging social commentary on the ineffectualness of the criminal justice system and the deterioration of the mob. The powerful surprise twist ending packs a strong and lingering sucker punch right to the gut. Franco Villa's slick cinematography gives the picture an attractive glossy look. The lively, rousing, hard-grooving score by Luis Enriquez Bacalov hits the funky spot. Highly recommended.
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The adventures of potato head
Bezenby10 November 2017
Every criminal in Milan thinks that small time crook Ugo Piazza (Moschin) has stolen $300,000 from local crime lord the Mikado (Lional Stander), from Mikado's sadistic enforcer Rocco, who has already brutally tortured and killed three people involved with the cash, to Ugo's own girlfriend, exotic dancer Barbara Bouchet. Most people even believe that he had himself thrown into jail for three years until the heat died down, but Ugo denies everything.

That doesn't stop Rocco harassing the hell out of him, however. First he's taken to a scrapyard to have the crap beaten out of him, then Rocco and his goons turn up at Ugo crap hotel and destroy the place, but Ugo still denies taking the cash. Ugo goes to his old partner Phillip Leroy for help, but the man can only offer him money and advises him to go see the Mikado (although he does give Rocco a kicking for good measure).

The Mikado, knowing that if Ugo has the money, then there's no point in killing him, hires him as a runner and has him work for Rocco, but things go from bad to worse when a red-clad figure who has been following Ugo kills one of the goons, steals more cash, and sets in motion a series of events that ends in a bloodbath. I suppose this being 1972 they had to throw in a mysterious killer somewhere.

This all sounds like your usual Euro-crime movie, but there also an ongoing socio-political debate between two cops (An animated Frank Wolff and a subdued Luigi Pistilli) about the differences in the rich and the poor, and the North and the South of the country. This is reflected in the Mikado's speech about the old and new mafia, and how honour is not practised by the 'new' criminals, which is something that comes back to haunt the film's bleak ending.

Just about every actor involved here stands out. Phillip Leroy tries to live in peace but his hand is forced by events beyond his control – his weary resignation at what he has to do in the end is a highlight, Gastone Moschin is no oil painting but as the quiet, brooding lead plays a very good burned out criminal, but Mario Adorf blows them all of the screen as the manic 'moustache Pete' who may be violent and cruel, but still knows how to stick to the code of honour. His character is no fool either, as a tense, and mostly silent scene between Ugo and himself in a police station shows.

The soundtrack is a killer too! Although not my favourite Poliziotteschi film (for that is what they are called), it's probably my favourite Fernando De Leo film. Oh! Special mention to the set design of Barbara Bouchet's flat – amazing use of black and white.

This was one of two films released after Frank Wolff's suicide. His co- star here, Luigi Pistilli, would also go on to commit suicide after receiving bad reviews and having a public meltdown (much later, in 1996). On a happy note Phillip Leroy and Mario Adorf still walk the Earth!
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JasparLamarCrabb5 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Fernando Di Leo's mobster movie is kept buoyed by a ferocious performance by Gastone Moschin and some of Di Leo's very best direction. Moschin, who would find lasting infamy as the dreaded "Fanucci" in THE GODFATHER PART II, plays a recent parolee suspected of ripping off mobster Lionel Stander. He's hounded by psychotic Mario Adorf and ruthless police commissioner Frank Wolff. Di Leo's directs the proceedings with a lot of flair and the movie moves at a very quick clip. Moschin has great chemistry with Barbara Bouchet (as his go go dancing girlfriend) and the entire cast is first rate. Adorf is a standout as the unrelenting Rocco, a mafia foot soldier who NEVER gives up his principles. The excellent music score is by Luis Enriqez Bacalov. A riveting thriller from beginning to end. Echoes of this film can be seen in the likes of RESERVIOR DOGS & THE DEPARTED (note the breath-taking ending).
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Euro Gangster Movie Classic
mikecanmaybee2 May 2019
I thought I was clicking onto a entertaining Euro-spy movie, but that was not the case. It turned out that I was watched a film that ranks just behind Goodfellas and the Godfathers. An absolute classic.
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.....and the cigarette still burns!!!
elo-equipamentos25 January 2019
In a Milan's fog and a grey atmosphere a robbery will be done, 300.000 dollars, a lone man was arrested and had imprisoned for four years, after released their former mates take him for an unfriendly account settling, even he denies that stolen the money they have suspect he wasn't telling the truth, this fabulous italian gangster picture gained worldwide fame, also his director too, who will leaves many discreet clues to trying to conceal the eager audience, Gastone Mochin plays the cold suspect Ugo Piazza, a kind of quiet crook who wants proves by any means his innocence, the casting is terrific having an older Lionel Stander as the boss known as American, a often louder Mario Adorf, a bad temper thief Phiippe Leroy and finally the beauty Barbara Bouchet who expose her skills in a sexy dance a provocative body language on the nightcub, intense picture that has a great music score!!!


First watch: 2019 / How many: 1 / Source: DVD / Rating: 8.5
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Top-tier Italian gangster outing
Leofwine_draca21 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Director Fernando Di Leo comes up trumps once more with this excellent Italian gangster movie, blessed with an unusual and tricksy plot which is always unfolding and totally unpredictable from start to finish. Whilst the plot is different to the rest of the Italian 'polizia' type crime films, I'm pleased to say that all the genre elements that fans know and love - the music, the characters, the action - are present and correct. Snappy dialogue is mixed in with some fine action set-pieces, including an incredible extended shoot-out in a garden which has to be seen to be believed and probably inspired John Woo's action movies.

Strumming guitars make up the lively score which nicely complements the on screen activities. The opening five minutes of this film are simply spectacular, breathtaking, with stylish camera-work and Di Leo's trademark explicit violence involving a woman being savagely beaten and a victim having an unfortunate close shave in a barber's shop. The film that follows is utterly involving and has great casting in form of the leading character, Hugo Piazza, as played by Gastone Moschin. Lacking the youthful good looks that Luc Merenda and Franco Nero brought to their own particular crime films, Moschin is a revelation here and miles away from his mannered bumbling policeman character in the comedy/giallo THE WEEKEND MURDERS. Playing his role understated and subdued, Moschin scores a hit with his realistic and sympathetic character, a kind of mysterious anti-hero you never learn too much about. A great and unusual leading role and one that pays off.

The film involves Moschin's fortunes as he finds himself being harassed by some greasy Italian Mafia types. After his tough friend Kino beats them off, Moschin rests easy but it's not long before he has to go and face up to the godfather, played by the ancient Lionel Stander. Stander decides to re-employ Moschin to keep an eye on him, despite the fact that he suspects him of stealing 300,000 dollars in loot. This part is never explained fully but it doesn't matter. From then on, Moschin must go about setting up dangerous drug deals and cold-blooded murders until it all predictably falls apart. The last twenty minutes of this movie are tremendously exciting and end with a couple of unforeseeable twist endings that knocked my socks off.

The cast is full of Italian faces familiar to any genre fans. The love interest is played by the welcome Barbara Bouchet, whose finest moment is when she gyrates in a bikini in a sleazy nightclub - the camera is there to follow every trace and curve of her body for the viewer's appreciation. Genre regulars Frank Wolff and Luigi Pistilli lend solid support as policeman and hit-man respectively and scumbag Bruno Corazzari is great as an unfortunate Mafia aide. Best of all, however, is Mario Adorf in a supporting role as psychotic gangster Rocco. Adorf would go on to star in Di Leo's MANHUNT(incidentally a movie that's just as good as this one) but he's just as good here playing the total opposite of his later character, a stressed-out, Joe Pesci type who enjoys torturing people and keeps breaking down. A great role and a nice character twist at the end there for him too.

Genre fans looking for a nice bit of GODFATHER-inspired action will find much to love about this movie. Di Leo's trademark explicit violence is present in some cold-blooded murder scenes including a guy getting bumped in the bog and even the ruthless drive-by shooting of a blind man! The ending is classic stuff and as a whole the film is totally successful with only minor flaws that are easy to ignore. Another Italian classic and a film to be tracked down.
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Left me wanting more from Di Leo
tomgillespie200219 August 2015
Fernando Di Leo was a well-respected director who near-perfected the poliziotteschi genre during the 1970's, taking a genre spear-headed by the likes of Italian film-makers Umberto Lenzi and Carlo Lizzani and delivering tough-as-nails stories about brutish men in a brutish world. Milano Calibro 9, or simply Caliber 9, is one of Di Leo's most highly-regarded works, kicking off his Milieu trilogy (followed by Manhunt and concluded by The Boss) for which he is now best remembered for. And the film is terrific - inspiring future directors such as John Woo and Quentin Tarantino, Milano Calibro 9 begins with an explosion of violence that serves as a warning of what is to come.

After a heist that saw a wad of money go missing and the criminals behind it either dead or behind bars, shadowy mafia boss The Americano (Lionel Stander) is left fuming, turning his city upside down in search for his cash. Career criminal Ugo (Gastone Moschin), one of the participants in the robbery, is released from prison and is immediately reprimanded by his psychotic former boss Rocco (Mario Adorf), who fingers Ugo as the culprit. Denying any involvement and trying to go straight, Ugo finds himself pulled back into the criminal world he thought he had left behind by the mafia and the police, the latter trying to pressure him into turning informer. Hooking up with his friend Chino (Philippe Leroy) and girlfriend Nelly (the gorgeous Barbara Bouchet), Ugo plans to turn the tables on his former gang while he still has a fraction of leverage.

The film is not without it's problems - occasionally the narrative sags when the action is away from the city's violent underworld, and the sporadic political discussions between the veteran Commissioner (Frank Wolff) and his left-wing underling seem relevant but out of place - but Milano Caliber 9's quality lies within its tone and exhilarating brutality. The opening sees the manic Rocco beat up suspects, tie them together in a cave and blow them up with dynamite. Although the film doesn't maintain the excitement of this early scene, it truly comes alive when the characters - an ensemble of odd-looking barbarians - threaten each other with words, fists, knives or guns. Moschin proves to be a stoic anti-hero, but Adorf steals the show as the arrogant loud-mouth Rocco, resembling Super Mario in a tailored suit and a neater moustache. The twists and turns keep coming right until the end, and left me wanting to see more from a film-maker who has, up to now, completely evaded me.
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Forget Hubbard, quantum mechanics or Castaneda, this film WILL change your life!
Darkling_Zeist23 January 2014
After viewing Castellari's 'High Crime' and Di Leo's 'Milano Calibro 9′ my life-long obsession with Italian crime cinema began in earnest; and a more suitable baptismal font from which to anoint oneself with euro crime's original sin would be hard to find, as 'Milano Calibro 9' remains one of the towering achievements of Di Leo's woefully undocumented career. From the bravura opening montage; where Di Leo creates a tense, dynamic pulse of underworld chicanery, driven to a tumultuous climax by the dense, throbbing, almost baroque jazz funk of, Luis Bacalov (arguably his finest score). And from then on Di Leo is unerring in his fierce vision of violent double dealings and unflinching vengeance, with nary a skipped beat for the film's duration, a rollicking, breathless yarn gloriously undiluted by soft-bellied tangents, or vapid self indulgence. The gangster milieu simply doesn't get any better than this; as much as I dig on Melville's studied, glacial cool, Di Leo's swarthy mise en scene has balls the size of prize winning pumpkins. Some may find all these myriad of hyperbolic blogs dedicated to a Italian crime cinema a trifle perplexing then, oh yes! They discover 'Milano Calibro 9', and in one brutal pole axing knee to the oily conkers it's all over; one can never return to the anodyne world of mainstream cinema without a considerable degree of incredulity. Forget Hubbard, quantum mechanics or Castaneda, this film WILL change your life.
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"the real Mafia is gone"
RainDogJr9 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
While I'm a huge Quentin Tarantino fan, it wasn't him the one who introduced me to the Italian filmmaker Fernando Di Leo. That would have been the usual, however this time my introduction came thanks to the twitter page of film critic Harry Knowles. He referred to some Fernando Di Leo movies as "awesome Italian Mafia movies that make the mob out to be the piece of s*** they are". I was immediately interested and later on I found out that Tarantino was a huge fan of Di Leo (and that John Woo too). So when I finally got from ebay the new Blu-Ray set of the "Fernando Di Leo Crime Collection" (with four of his films: MILANO CALIBRO 9, LA MALA ORDINA, IL BOSS and I PADRONI DELLA CITTÀ), it was just f****** great.

After watching the pre-credit part of MILANO CALIBRO 9 (first film of the set) I was thinking something like "this is exactly how you start a crime film!" It blew my mind actually, and it definitely gives you a taste of how these bastards do things: is all about order and caution until something goes wrong… then is all about being the boss and merciless violence. Plus, it gives you what is pretty much an unforgettable score; great stuff and I don't think I'm going too far if I say that it is one of my favorite opening sequences ever.

MILANO CALIBRO 9 bring us the story of Ugo Piazza (I'm pretty sure this name will stay with you just like it stayed with me), a criminal who just got out of prison after a four-year sentence (that was reduced to three years due to his good behavior). This film is like a giallo, with mystery all the time and an unknown red-dressed man who happens to follow the movements of our main character; is having the question "did Piazza stole or not $300,000 from a very powerful crime boss (known as "the American")?" instead of the classic giallo question of "who is the murderer?"

We have some really memorable characters. Take for instance the conclusion of the film (don't worry, I'm not going to spoil you the whole thing): sometimes in movies those big plot twists simply don't work. Here we don't have that case but I really don't think the ending would have been as great as it without the -just awesome- involvement of the character Rocco (played by the German actor Mario Adorf - Rocco sort of looks like the Eli Wallach from the THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY days!). You just have to love this Rocco guy, even when he is like the most unlikeable and annoying bastard around. Even some of the minor "mafiosos" deliver memorable and fun material (like that one who helps an old man to solve a crossword puzzle). And well, Barbara Bouchet is simply a delight.

While Di Leo's film didn't fully explore them, it did have some interesting thoughts on the Mafia, the illegal drug trade and even the police system. I found many similarities with the great and realistic show THE WIRE; in both we have the flaws of the police system exposed (and incompetent chiefs too), the thing of drug dealers investing their earnings in the building of apartment blocks (that thing is only mentioned here by the character Don Vincenzo, a blind old man who once was a respected crime boss) and the overall interest of some police officers to not only go after the "mafiosos" but also after the people with the dirty money. Based in all of this, maybe I should say this film is ahead of its time… but really who knows? Actually I will just say this: it's just a f****** great film!

*Watched it on 7 April, 2012
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violent and sexy police thriller
christopher-underwood15 October 2017
A really good, uncompromising, violent and sexy police thriller with a fabulous lead performance from Gastone Moschin. Just out of jail, he is presented as being stuck between a rock and a hard place as he tries to manoeuvre himself so as not to get re-arrested by the police or killed by his mafia inspired ex-employers. He gives such a solid and believable performance which helps(or hinders) the viewer as we seek the truth in this exciting and twisting tale. Barbara Bouchet is ushered in as an exotic dancer in a wonderful beaded two piece. She gives a great performance, both as a dancer and key figure in this beautifully written piece. The action slows somewhat whenever we return to the police station but the double act of Frank Wolff and Luigi Pistilli and bad cop and good cop, help to keep things moving and Pistilli's dialogue seems to be very much the personal and political thoughts of writer/director Fernando Di Leo. A marvellous rock soundtrack and so, so, 70s decor help to ensure a very watchable, if very violent and thrilling ride.
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I agree - Ugo Piazza is a God!
bensonmum24 February 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Incredible! I haven't watched many 70s Euro-Crime films in a while, but I can't remember any being quite this good. Caliber 9 is just amazing. Almost everything about the movie is perfect. The plot is simple enough - recently released from prison, Ugo Piazza is approached by his old employers, led by the Americano, about $300,000 in cash he may have stolen and hidden. Without any other prospect, he agrees to go to work for the gang with hopes of throwing off the old suspicions. I'm seriously not going to go into any more detail - I'd hate to ruin any of the plot twists and turns for anyone who might be reading this.

Director Fernando Di Leo expertly oversees one of the more interesting films I've seen recently. The movie moves at a fantastic pace with action, interesting dialogue, and intrigue around every corner. The violence is plentiful, but not overdone (a complaint I've had in the past about some Euro-Crime films). The acting is far superior to what you'd expect in a movie of this type. Mario Adorf, Philippe Leroy, Lionel Stander, and Barbara Bouchet give some of the best performances I've ever seen from them. But, the real standout is Gastone Moschin. His steely-eyed Ugo Piazza is one of the best characters ever. The understated way Moschin plays Piazza is brilliant. Finally, I've already referred to the plot, but it is so well written, it deserves another mention. There's not a wasted scene. The final couple twists brought a real smile to my face. They're so unexpected that I was totally caught off-guard. Bravo!

Overall, Caliber 9 is a real winner. It's the kind of movie I love discovering and the reason I sit through some total garbage just hoping I'll stumble on something like this. I wish I was a real writer and could better express my feelings toward Caliber 9. I'm not, so I'll end this the way I started - incredible!
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Too many plot twists .....
PimpinAinttEasy26 January 2016
Dear Fernado Di Leo, I had a tough time keeping track of all the plot twists. There were so many of them. But it was an entertaining film at the end of the day. You lack the finesse of Elio Petri or Melville. But it is OK. A lot of filmmakers would kill to make a film like this.

You did assemble a cast of real bad asses.

Gastone Moschin - well, I'll just say he was an odd choice for a leading man. Its not like he was bad or anything. But he would have been better off as one of the gangsters who get shot.

Barbara Bouchet was sexy as hell.

The exchanges between the capitalist and the communist police officers was interesting. That was your own stamp on the film.

The scene at the beginning was terrific. You used the background score to great effect. Though I did not like how it suddenly turns into a rock n roll tune.

I will check out more of your films.

Loved the background score by LUIS BACALOV, the over the top acting by MARIO ADORF, complicated plot and the nude ravishing cabaret dancing BARBARA BOUCHET. i also realized that GASTONE MOCHIN, the dour hero acted as fanucci in GODFATHER 2.

this is like an over the top version of JEAN PIERRE MELVILLE movie. there are a lot of similar themes and tropes. honor and friendship between gangsters. philosophizing police officers. women used as objects of sex. the violence is almost caricaturish. the first 15 minutes of the film is fucking outrageous. strongly recommend it.

Best Regards, Pimpin.

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Stylistically, this movie is ahead of its time.
tarbosh2200023 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Ugo Piazza (Moschin) has just gotten out of jail. All he wants to do is reconnect with old flame Nelly (Bouchet) but some gangsters are making his life a lot more miserable than it already is. They are convinced Ugo has $300,000 stashed away somewhere, and they intend on harassing him until he forks it over. Rocco (Adorf) keeps pushing Ugo, and at the top of the ladder is a sinister crime lord known only as "The Americano" (Stander). Ugo goes to visit his old friend Chino (Leroy) for help - and now Chino is involved in the whole mess. Not just with gangsters, but with the local cops as well. Luckily, the Police Commissioner (Wolff) and an idealistic cop named Mercuri (Pistilli) are constantly engaged in a back-and-forth dialogue about left wing and right wing issues. But does Ugo actually have the money? And if so, will he make it out of this treacherous situation? Milano Calibro 9 (or just Caliber 9 to us Americans) is another excellent Fernando Di Leo movie. It's beautifully shot and edited, and the plot is always engaging and intriguing. From the killer opening on down, this movie more than delivers the goods in the entertainment department. And although the plot may seem simple, there's a lot of food for thought as well. That seems to be a tricky thing to pull off, but Di Leo does it and we all benefit.

Set in Milan (hence the Italian title), we are immediately thrown into a dangerous world. But it's a beautiful world on the surface, and nowhere better is this symbolized than by Barbara Bouchet's character, Nelly. Her beauty is overwhelming, and even her apartment is dazzling. But just below the surface is violence and instability. Gastone Moschin plays Ugo perfectly, in a very stoic manner. He has a great face, and if this movie was remade today (which hopefully it won't be), Jason Statham could play the Ugo role.

Stylistically, this movie is ahead of its time and is strikingly modern. Sure, it may be a world of rotary phones, typewriters and cops who drink and smoke pipes at the station (which is fascinating to modern eyes because it represents a time long past, never to return), but on a technical level, this movie could have come out this year. Di Leo masterfully brings technical expertise together with quality writing and performances and naturally a winner of a movie emerges. Not a lot of directors can achieve what he achieves and that's a testament to his talent. And the music! The music is beyond awesome. As if getting the genius Bacalov wasn't enough, he also brought on board the great band Osanna (for those who don't know, they're a big name in the Italian prog community). Di Leo was a fan of the album Bacalov did with The New Trolls, and fans will note that parts of the great album "Concerto Grosso" are used in the background as well. We can't speak highly enough of the music in this movie. It truly puts the icing on an already-excellent cake.
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