|Directed by||Sergio Corbucci|
|Produced by||Antonio Morelli|
|Music by||Ennio Morricone|
|Edited by||Eugenio Alabiso|
|Release dates||December 18, 1970|
|Running time||118 min.|
|Country||Italy, Spain, West Germany|
|Language||Italian, English, Spanish|
Compañeros (original release title: Vamos a matar, compañeros) is a Zapata Western directed by Sergio Corbucci in 1970. The film, an Italian-Spanish co-production, stars Franco Nero, Tomas Milian, Jack Palance and Fernando Rey. The soundtrack for the film was written by Ennio Morricone, and the orchestra was conducted by Bruno Nicolai.
Compañeros is one of Corbucci's best-known westerns, as well as one of the best-known spaghetti westerns altogether. The film has been compared to Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo ("The Good, the Bad and the Ugly", 1966), as it intertwines the paths of several characters in the middle of a conflict, but takes place during the Mexican Revolution instead of the American Civil War. Due to the setting and Nero's and Milián's characters, it is similar also to Corbucci's earlier Zapata western, Il mercenario ("The Mercenary"), which was released two years earlier. Alejandro Ulloa was the cinematographer for both films.
Compañeros is the only film in which the two stars of Italian genre films, Franco Nero and Tomás Milián, acted together. Nero later complained that Corbucci concentrated too much on Milian, and refused to act in ¡Viva la muerte... tua! ("Long Live Your Death", 1971), if Corbucci was to direct it.
During the Mexican Revolution, a peasant named El Vasco (Milian) starts a revolt in his town by killing the army colonel in charge. Rebel leader and self-appointed General Mongo (José Bódalo) soon arrives on the scene and hires El Vasco to his revolutionary gang. However, Mongo is more interested in gaining fortune for himself than for his country. Yodlaf Peterson (Nero), a Swedish mercenary arrives in Mexico to sell guns to General Mongo. The safe containing the money is locked and only Professor Xantos (Rey) knows the combination. Xantos is the leader of a student counter-revolution that opposes violence, and is held in a prison by the United States army, after he tried to find funding from the US and did not agree to give the monopoly of his country's entire oil wealth in return.
El Vasco dislikes the suit-wearing Peterson and calls him a "penguin", but at the suggestion of General Mongo, the two reluctantly join forces and set out to capture Xantos. Their task is made harder by the American army and a wooden-armed American named John (Palance), who wants to exact revenge on Peterson, his former business partner. Peterson had left John to die after he was crucified, and his pet hawk had to peck his right hand off to save him. In order to maximize their personal gain and to support Xantos' rebel fighters, El Vasco and Peterson have to doublecross Mongo. They receive help from Lola (Iris Berben), the leader of Xantos' rebel group, to whom El Vasco develops a crush, and her group of young revolutionaries.
- Franco Nero as Yodlaf "Penguin" Peterson
- Tomas Milian as El Vasco ("the Basque")
- Jack Palance as John
- Fernando Rey as Prof. Xantos
- Iris Berben as Lola
- José Bódalo as Gen. Mongo
- Eduardo Fajardo as Colonel
- Karin Schubert as Zaira
- Gino Pernice as Tourneur
- Gerard Tichy as Lieutenant
- Álvaro de Luna as John's henchman