The Five Man Army

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The Five Man Army
The Five Man Army film poster
Film poster
Directed by Don Taylor
Produced by Italo Zingarelli
Screenplay by Marc Richards
Dario Argento
Starring Peter Graves
James Daly
Bud Spencer
Nino Castelnuovo
Tetsuro Tamba
Music by Ennio Morricone
Cinematography Enzo Barboni
Edited by Sergio Montanari
Tiger Film
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
October 16, 1969 (1969-10-16)
Running time
105 minutes
Country Italy
Language Italian

The Five Man Army (Italian: Un esercito di 5 uomini) is a 1969 Italian Zapata Western film taking place during the Mexican Revolution.[1]

The film was directed by Don Taylor and featured a script by a young Dario Argento. Starring as a group of five men enlisted to rob a train containing a shipment of gold were Peter Graves, James Daly, Bud Spencer, Nino Castelnuovo and Tetsuro Tamba. The film's score was composed by Ennio Morricone.


Mexican rebels hire the "Dutchman" to rob a train carrying $500,000 in gold on behalf of Victoriano Huerta to finance the Mexican Revolution. The Dutchman enlists four other men to assist him: Mesito, a strong man, Luis, a circus acrobat turned outlaw, Augustus, a former army officer and explosives specialist, and a samurai warrior (only referred to only as Samurai), promising to pay each one a thousand dollars.

Immediately after they assemble, their first undertaking is to save the rebel leader who hired them from being executed. After thwarting the execution and causing a riot in the village, the five men are forced to flee, along with all the civilians, in order to prevent reprisals. Nevertheless, some soldiers still manage to find the men and bring them to the local Mexican Army commandant. They manage to escape, killing the soldiers and dynamiting the fort's magazine. They are tracked by a large group of soldiers and are likely to be captured when they come upon a small group of rebels, who are there to cover the Five Man Army's escape. The Dutchman and the rebels all know they will be unable to stop the soldiers, but the rebels are willing to sacrifice themselves for the Five, emphasizing the importance of the Five's mission.

The train carrying the gold is heavily defended by a cannon, machine guns, and dozens of soldiers. The Dutchman's plan is to uncouple the car carrying the gold from the rest of the train without stopping it. The difficult robbery succeeds, despite Samurai falling off the train and Augustus dropping a key piece of equipment. When the Five return to their hideout conflict arises amongst them. Luis, Augustus, Mesito, and Samurai had all assumed they were going to take the gold for themselves, but the Dutchman is set on keeping his promise to the rebels. He disarms the other four and explains to them that his wife had been executed by soldiers since other members of her family were rebels.

The Dutchman is about to leave with the gold, but he is stopped by the arrival of many soldiers. He is has no choice but to rearm the other four, who are able to ambush and quickly kill all of the soldiers. Now armed again, Augustus, Mesito, and Samurai attempt to take the gold from the Dutchman. They are stopped at gunpoint by Luis, who has decided that he will join the Revolution. At this point, hundreds of rebels arrive to retrieve their gold. They treat the Five Man Army like heroes, and it is implied that Augustus, Mesito, and Samurai have chosen to join the rebels as well.


Peter Graves as the Dutchman

The Dutchman's real name is not revealed. He moved from America to Mexico, where he married a local woman. Some time later, soldier found and executed his wife due to the participation of her father and brothers in the Revolution. The Dutchman was spared, as he knew nothing about the rebels.

James Daly as Augustus

Augustus was formerly a captain in the army, where he was a leading expert on dynamite. He served with the Dutchman in Cuba during the Spanish-American War.

Bud Spencer as Mesito

Mesito is an extremely strong criminal. He once stole an entire train load of cattle, but was imprisoned after he made the mistake of attempting to sell the cattle to their original owner. After he was released from prison, he was forced to make a living doing menial labor.

Nino Castelnuovo as Luis

Luis came from a family of acrobats. He was orphaned following a tragic accident during one performance and turned to a life of crime. He has escaped from prison three times and is skilled with a slingshot.

Tetsuro Tamba as Samurai

Samurai is a quiet man, never revealing his name. He left Japan for America where he found work as a sideshow performer. Despite being a skilled gunman, he prefers to fight with a sword and throwing knives.


The Five Man Army was released to DVD by Warner Home Video on September 11, 2012 via the Warner Archive DVD-on-demand system available through Amazon.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Esercito di cinque uomini, Un". Retrieved 2014-04-25. 

External links[edit]