Italian film poster by Rodolfo Gasparri
|Directed by||Sergio Corbucci|
|Produced by||Sergio Corbucci
|Written by||Sergio Corbucci
José Gutiérrez Maesso
Fernando Di Leo (Uncredited)
|Story by||Sergio Corbucci
by Akira Kurosawa
Ryuzo Kikushima (uncredited)
|Music by||Luis Enriquez Bacalov|
|Edited by||Nino Baragli
B.R.C. Produzione S.r.l.
|Distributed by||Euro International Film
(US, 2012 re-release)
|Box office||823,052 admissions (France)
$25,916 (2012 re-release)
Django is a 1966 Italian Spaghetti Western film directed by Sergio Corbucci and starring Franco Nero in the eponymous role. Intended to capitalize on the success of Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars, Corbucci's film is, like Leone's, considered to be a loose, unofficial adaptation of Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo.
The film earned a reputation as being one of the most violent films ever made up to that point and was subsequently refused a certificate in the UK until 1993, when it was eventually issued an 18 certificate. The film was downgraded to a 15 certificate in 2004.
Although the name is referenced in over thirty "sequels" from the time of the film's release until the early 1970s in an effort to capitalize on the success of the original, most of these films were unofficial, featuring neither Corbucci nor Nero.
Nero did reprise his role as Django in 1987's Django 2: Il Grande Ritorno (Django Strikes Again), in the only official sequel to be written by Corbucci. Nero also has a cameo role in Quentin Tarantino's 2012 film Django Unchained, a homage to Corbucci's original. An English-language televised remake of the film is currently in development.
Django is a drifter who drags a closed coffin around with him. He rescues a young woman, María, who is about to be murdered by bandits led by Major Jackson (Eduardo Fajardo), the man whom Django is seeking and wants to kill in revenge for him killing his wife. After killing most of Jackson's men, Django makes a deal with a Mexican bandit general, Hugo Rodriguez, who is in conflict with Jackson, and the two steal a large quantity of gold from a Mexican Army fort (where Jackson is doing business with a government general). When Rodriguez refuses to give Django his share of the haul, Django and Maria steal the gold. Unfortunately, the gold falls into quicksand. When Rodriguez catches up to them, María is shot (though she survives) and Django's hands are crushed by Rodriguez's men as punishment for being a thief. When the bandits return to Mexico, Rodríguez and his men are massacred by Jackson and the Mexican Army. After killing Nathaniel, Jackson goes looking for Django in a cemetery. However, Django, who has bitten off the trigger-guard of his pistol, kills Jackson and his five surviving men by pressing the trigger of his gun against the cross of the grave of a female acquaintance of Django's whom Jackson had killed and repeatedly dropping the hammer.
- Franco Nero as Django
- Loredana Nusciak as Maria
- José Bódalo as General Hugo Rodriguez
- Ángel Álvarez as Nathaniel
- Eduardo Fajardo as Major Jackson
- Gino Pernice (as Jimmy Douglas) as Brother Jonathan
- Simón Arriaga as Miguel
- Giovanni Ivan Scratuglia (as Ivan Scratuglia), Luciano Rossi and Guillermo Méndez as Klan members
- Remo De Angelis (as Eric Schippers) as Ricardo
- Rafael Albaicín, José Canalejas and Rafael Vaquero as Hugo Henchmen
- Silvana Bacci as Mexican Prostitute
- José Terrón as Ringo
- Lucio De Santis as Whipping Bandit
- Cris Huerta as Mexican Officer
Sergio Corbucci had originally wanted to cast Mark Damon in the lead role, but Damon experienced a conflict in his scheduling and had to withdraw. Corbucci then turned to a reluctant Franco Nero, who eventually accepted the role. Filming began in December 1965 at the Tor Caldara nature reserve, near Lavinio in Italy, where a specialist set had been constructed for use in Western movies. Despite the winter conditions leaving the set in extremely muddy conditions, Corbucci rejected set designer Giancarlo Simi's proposal to clean up the set, as he felt it added to the atmosphere of the film. With no real script in place for filming, Corbucci turned to his brother Bruno to draft out a story; over the Christmas period, Bruno Corbucci wrote out a scaletta, which Nero identifies as being "like a synopsis, but more detailed, [yet] still not a full screenplay". Filming also took place in several locations around Madrid, whilst interior scenes were shot at Elios Studios outside Rome; the filming concluded by late February 1966.
Upon its network premier on BBC Two's Moviedrome in 1993, Django was preceded by an introduction by series presenter Alex Cox, during which Cox stated that the film was, "to the best of [his] knowledge", the only spaghetti Western that wasn't shot in the usually preferred widescreen Techniscope format. Cox also attempts to clarify the name Django, stating how it appears to be "a sick joke on the part of Corbucci and his screenwriter-brother Bruno" as it seems to make reference to jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt who was able to play the guitar despite, Cox erroneously states, "lacking several fingers on one hand"; Reinhardt actually had several fingers paralyzed on his left hand, but was able to overcome this disability, in a similar way to how the titular character is able to operate his gun in the final shootout despite his hands being crushed.
Django received an 18 certificate in Italy due to its then-extreme violence. Bolognini says Corbucci "forgot" to cut out the ear-severing scene when the censors requested he remove it and in Sweden it was banned outright.
Django received generally positive reviews, with a 92% "Fresh" score on Rotten Tomatoes based on twelve reviews. Critic Jeffrey M. Anderson of the San Francisco Examiner called it "One of the greatest of all Spaghetti Westerns."
Thirty-one sequels have been counted—four of them were made in 1966. Most of these films have nothing to do with Corbucci's original film, but the unofficial sequels copy the look and attitude of the central character. An official sequel, Django 2 was released in 1987 with Franco Nero reprising his role as Django. Internationally, the film's success spawned a multitude of releases that were re-titled to ride its success; only a few were similar to the original in style and theme.
The lead character's iconic coffin arsenal has been paid homage in several movies and TV series, including several Japanese anime series. Fist of the North Star features a plot device wherein the lead character, Kenshiro, drags a coffin behind him into a wasteland town. In the Cowboy Bebop episode, "Mushroom Samba", a bounty hunter runs around with a coffin behind him. The character Wolfwood in Trigun has a cross-shaped arsenal case called the Punisher which he carries frequently that is reminiscent of Django's coffin. The character Beyond The Grave (formerly Brandon Heat), of Gungrave, carries a metal coffin-shaped device which houses a variety of weapons. The fantasy movie Death Trance features a protagonist dragging a sealed coffin around for much of the film. In the Brazilian pornochanchada film Um Pistoleiro Chamado Papaco (A Gunman Called Papaco), the title character spends the whole film carrying a coffin and the opening scene is inspired by Corbucci's film. The main character of the Boktai series of video games is a vampire hunter named Django, who drags a coffin around for sealing and purifying immortals. In the PlayStation 2 game Red Dead Revolver, the boss Mr. Black carries around a coffin that houses a Gatling Gun.
Django is the inspiration for the 1969 song and album Return of Django by the Jamaican reggae group the Upsetters. Additionally, Django is the subject of the song "Django" on the 2003 Rancid album Indestructible. The music video for the Danzig song "Crawl Across Your Killing Floor" is inspired by the film and shows Glenn Danzig dragging a coffin.
The 1972 Jamaican film, The Harder They Come contains a sequence where the hero, Ivan, watches Django in a cinema, which has echoes with his character and story.
In Quentin Tarantino's 2012 film Django Unchained, Nero plays a small role as Amerigo Vassepi, an owner of a slave engaged in Mandingo fighting with a slave owned by Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). Upon the loss of that fight, Vassepi goes to the bar for a drink and encounters Django, played by Jamie Foxx. As a nod to Nero's film, Vassepi (dressed in a similar manner to the hero of the original film) asks Django his name, asks him to spell it, and, upon Django's informing him that the "D" is silent, says "I know." Both films use the title song from the film, by Rocky Roberts & Luis Bacalov.
As of April 2015, an English-language television series based on Django, as well as a series based on Dario Argento's Suspiria, is being developed as an Italian-French co-production by Atlantique Productions and Cattleya. Both series are slated to consist of 12 fifty-minute-long episodes, with the possibility of multiple seasons for these shows.
- Few Dollars for Django
- The Last Killer
- Django Kill
- Preparati la bara!
- Sukiyaki Western Django
- Django Unchained
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- Nick Vivarelli (April 8, 2015). "‘Django’ And Dario Argento’s ‘Suspiria’ To Be Adapted Into International TV Series". Variety Magazine. Retrieved 2015-05-22.
- Django at the Internet Movie Database
- Django at Rotten Tomatoes
- Django (2012 re-release) at Box Office Mojo