A Pistol for Ringo (1965) Poster

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7/10
A PISTOL FOR RINGO (Duccio Tessari, 1965) ***
MARIO GAUCI28 March 2007
This is one of the better Spaghetti Westerns I've watched but whose reputation – despite the popularity of the title character – seems to me to be relatively underrated (and the film itself criminally unavailable in an affordable DVD edition; the same thing goes for its follow-up, THE RETURN OF RINGO [1965]).

While pretty straightforward in comparison to later efforts in the genre (often politically-motivated and thus heavy-going), just because it's unpretentious the film emerges as more readily enjoyable than most of its type – benefiting from the presence of Giuliano Gemma (certainly one of the more likable Italian stars in spite of a somewhat limited range), a typically fine score by Ennio Morricone, but also the unusual time-frame of the plot (it's set largely inside a hacienda under siege over the Christmas period!). Besides, there are agreeable (though not over-emphasized) touches of humor throughout to counter the exciting action sequences, some surprisingly good dialogue (director Tessari also wrote the script) and, equally unexpected for such an early Spaghetti Western, interesting characterizations. In fact, the milksop hero is an opportunist who's extremely resourceful at outwitting burly villain Fernando Sancho; the latter's woman – played by Nieves Navarro, better known as Susan Scott, and the wife of the film's co-producer Luciano Ercoli – is an elegant and seductive Mexican who wins the affections of the aristocratic owner of the remote mansion where the gang is holed in; while the old man's daughter, fiancée of the sheriff but who gradually falls for Gemma, is coveted by one of Sancho's lecherous cronies.

Most of the cast and crew were re-assembled soon after for THE RETURN OF RINGO which is superior to the original (mainly because the Homeric inspiration of that film's narrative adds some much-needed depth to the protagonist) but, starting off with Gemma coming home from the Civil War, is actually a prequel to it: his military duty is mentioned in passing in A PISTOL FOR RINGO, though not the fact that he had been married (the latter is possibly an added element to the second film – so that Gemma could finally get together with leading lady Lorella Di Luca, billed as Hally Hammond).
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6/10
Spaghetti/Chorizo Western with the most successful intervention by secondary idol Fernando Sancho
ma-cortes29 August 2011
This is the original installment from Gemma-Tessari trilogy formed by ¨A pistol for Ringo¨, ¨The return of Ringo¨ and ¨Kiss, Kiss , Bang , Bang¨ , though the later is set in modern times and deal with a heist . All of them are amusing and entertaining and starred by similar cast as Gemma , Fernando Sancho , Lorella De Luca , Nieves Navarro and Antonio Casas ; furthermore same artistic equipment . They are familiar films , in fact , the actress Lorella De Luca married director Duccio Tessari and Nieves Navarro married the producer Luciano Ercoli . This is the first part from Duccio Tessari trilogy, starred by an awesome Giuliano Gemma . It's a tremendously exciting story of an ex-convict named Ringo who had only one more killing to go . A band of Mexicans pull off a bank-robbery in a little town . Ringo (Giuliano Gemma) is spending time in prison for a case of "self defense" . Meanwhile , the gang of a nasty Mexican named Sancho (Fernando Sancho) and his bandits ( Nazzareno Zamperla , Jose Luis Martin) trespass the little town and occupy a mansion and take the ranch and its inhabitants as hostages following the foiled getaway . The ranch is surrounded but when Sancho threatens to murder two hostages a day unless he and his band are freed , the local Sheriff ( Jorge Martin) who has his bride among the hostages , gets no option but to send in Ringo. Ringo goes the ranch and seeks vengeance against Sancho's hoodlums (Nazzareno Zamperla , Jose Luis Martin , Frank Oliveras ) who kill , mistreat countrymen and attempt to rape a young ( Lorella De Luca) . Ringo comes to the ranch just in time to make sure its inhabitants , taking place a cat and mouse game , but later the events get worse .

This Western is superior than subsequent entries because it displays thrills , stirring adventures, shoot'em up , riding pursuits and is pretty amusing . There is plenty of action in the movie , guaranteeing some shots or stunts every few minutes . This is a good S.W. plenty of action , shootouts , fist-play and some touches of humor in charge of Giuliano Gemma character . Ringo is a type of selfish adventurer of the West , an elegant marksman and resourceful ¨Bon Vivant¨ who is stunningly played by Gemma . Giuliano is very fine, he ravages the screen, he jumps , bounds and leaps, hit and run ; plus jokes , laughs , he's a complete show . Fernado Sancho as a cruelly baddie role as Mexican bandit is terrific , subsequently the would play similar role in other Spaghetti . In the movie appears usual support actors as Spanish : Antonio Casas , Jose Luis Martin , Francisco Sanz as Italian players : Nazzareno Zamperla and Frank Oliveras . Special mention to Nieves Navarro or Susan Scott as attractive and rogue woman but she unfortunately would finish shooting erotic cinema . It's a co-production Spanish-Italian and of course shot on location in Almeria that is well photographed by Francisco Marin , though is necessary a fine remastering because the film-copy is washed-out . There are many fine technicians and nice assistant direction and excellent production design by the usual Juan Albert Soler , he creates a magnificent scenario on the interior ranch and barren outdoors , dirty landscapes under a glimmer sun and fine sets filmed in Almería, Andalucía, PC Alfonso Balcazar Studios, Barcelona and San Jose, Andalucia, Spain . As always , the musician Ennio Morricone, composes a nice Spaghetti soundtrack and well conducted and splendid leitmotif ; it's full of enjoyable sounds and emotive score .

This Italian writer / filmmaker Duccio Tessari so consistently mixed the good with the mediocre that it became quite impossible to know what to expect from him next . He wrote several Western as ¨A fistful of dollars ¨, ¨A train to Durango ¨Seven guns for McGregor¨ , ¨The return of McGregor¨ . He directed five Western with abundant touches of humor as ¨Vivi o preferibilment Morti¨, ¨Don't turn the other cheek¨ and ¨Zorro¨ with Alain Delon and of course ¨Ringo ¨and sequel , mostly starred with his fetish actor Giuliano Gemma . Rating : 6 , acceptable and passable movie that will appeal to Spaghetti Western buffs .
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Above average Spaghetti Western.
Bruce Long8 February 1999
"A Pistol for Ringo" is an above-average Spaghetti Western. The anti-hero (Gemma) and villain (Sancho) are both very charismatic, and each has a good sense of humor. The basic plot situation is interesting: Fleeing from a bank hold-up in which their leader was wounded, a gang of bandits takes refuge at a farm. Although the farm is surrounded, the posse cannot attack because of the hostages. The anti-hero is highly paid to infiltrate and destroy the gang, and recover the money. The film has some unusual twists; for example, the bandits are executing two hostages per day, even after the anti-hero joins the gang, and he makes no effort to halt the executions. There is an interesting contrast between the behavior of the anti-hero (Gemma) and the sheriff (Martin) who behaves like a traditional Western hero. The film has a nice music score by Ennio Morricone. But somehow, this film failed to fully satisfy this viewer. The heroine is dull and bland, too much of the film takes place at the farm, and the anti-hero kills the villain in an absurd manner. There are also some gaps of logic-why didn't the bandits lock the sheriff in his jail? In any event, the film was such a financial success that the seven principal actors were reunited in "The Return of Ringo" (a sequel in name only, since all characters were different). This review of "A Pistol for Ringo" is based on the (poorly) English-dubbed home video version, titled "Ballad of Death Valley." The video suffers greatly from lack of widescreen; for example, the first shootout has Ringo against four opponents at once, but all you can see on the TV screen is Ringo and one of the opponents, so you don't even know who drew first. If you want to see this film, try to see it in widescreen.
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A new brand
unbrokenmetal5 April 2009
1965: the year when Italian westerns were busily developing a style of their own after the success of "A Fistful of Dollars" - while the influence of the American classics was still visible. "A Gun For Ringo" is a good example for this search of new ways. On one hand, we have a cynical hero seemingly only motivated by money: after a bank robbery, Ringo only agrees to help and free the hostages after his demand of a 30 per cent share of the stolen money is accepted, and he's not ashamed to ask the bandits whether they would offer more? On the other hand, we see a sheriff (George Martin) in love with one of the hostages (Lorella de Luca) and a land owner who keeps up the traditional values of hospitality, courtesy and honor even under the most difficult circumstances, recalling the 1950s.

"A Gun For Ringo" is a lively movie created in the middle of a small revolution, the beginning of a successful European western wave, and the makers seem to have had a feeling "we've got our hands on something here!", a certain excitement that hasn't faded away. Great fun to watch, and both the youthful Giuliano Gemma (Ringo) and the charismatic Fernando Sancho (Sancho, leader of the bandits) went on to play similar roles in many movies of the following years.
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8/10
Merry Christmas!
marc-36610 May 2005
"Merry Christmas".

It is with this customary exchange that "A Pistol for Ringo" opens. Christmas is only two days away, but the towns-folks festive celebrations are about to come to an abrupt halt, when a band of mexicans, led by Sancho (played, quite aptly, by Fernando Sancho), take a ranch and its inhabitants hostage following a failed escape from a bank-robbery. The local sheriff, Ben, (played in true Hollywood style by Jorge Martin) has the ranch surrounded, but cannot attack for fear of the hostages being massacred. A particular concern in view of the fact that his love interest is amongst the hostages. Ringo (Gemma) is spending time in jail for the killing (albeit in "self defence") of a local gang. But when Sancho threatens to kill two hostages a day unless he and his gang are freed, the Sheriff has no option but to send in Ringo.

This is a really enjoyable movie, that sits somewhere in-between the dirt and grittiness of Leone and his Italian counterparts, and the classic American western. Even Morricone's soundtrack leans towards 50/60's Hollywood, with its crooned (and toe-tappingly catchy) theme tune.

The leading roles played by Gemma and Sancho are very convincing, and the dialogue is entertaining and full of classic quotes throughout: "God created men equal. It was the six gun that made them different". Ringo is far cleaner than Eastwood's Man With No Name (thus his name Angel Face), and cares not for alcohol, much preferring milk. But he shares the same ability and ruthlessness with a gun. Sancho meanwhile is gruff and merciless, revelling in carrying out his threat to kill one hostage at sunrise and one at sunset daily. Didn't anyone tell him it was the season of goodwill to all men????

Although not quite as strong as Director Tessari's follow up "Return of Ringo", this is one of the best of the early Spaghettis, and definitely a must view.
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8/10
A yuletide spaghetti western!
spider891193 December 2007
This euro-western takes place during the Christmas holiday season. While not really a Christmas-themed movie per se, the backdrop for the film is laden with people acknowledging and celebrating the holiday, complete with decorations and a Christmas tree, which makes this the closest thing to a Christmas western that I've seen. As such, for the spaghetti western fan, it is a welcome seasonal alternative to watching "It's a Wonderful Life," or the latest Moron Clause movie on your local big screen or cable movie channel.

Giuliano Gemma does a fine job, as usual, portraying the protagonist of the film, and Fernando Sancho is even better as "Sancho," the Mexican bandit. Nieves Navarro is breathtaking as "Dolores," the female bandit who becomes romantically involved with one of her hostages.

The production is above-average for a euro-western, and the film has an engaging storyline with lots of action and suspense. Add to that a great music score by Ennio Morricone, and you definitely have a winning combination that spaghetti fans will be sure to enjoy.
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7/10
Spaghetti for Christmas!
Scott LeBrun1 March 2015
This Italian Western - which just so happens to be set at Christmastime - made a star out of the charismatic former stuntman Giuliano Gemma. Using his Anglicized pseudonym Montgomery Wood, he stars as title character Ringo, an amiable outlaw. Ringo is in jail for murder (which he says was done in self defense) when the town bank is robbed of a substantial amount by bandits. They hole up in a remote community, and take hostages. The law enforcement types come up with the idea to have Ringo infiltrate the criminal gang, which he does in his own inimitable style.

"A Pistol for Ringo" is a solid and engaging example of the Spaghetti Western. It may not be as well known, or well regarded, as the most famous films in the genre, but it offers ample entertainment. A large part of the appeal is Gemma himself. Handsome, charming, and sly, he does a fine job at portraying a man who doesn't seem to have any real loyalty to anything other than money. He actually offers his services to the bandits if they will promise him a larger percentage of the take than the law. We're never quite sure what to make of him, but we do know that he's fun to watch.

The exceptional composer Ennio Morricone, who's done hundreds (!) of scores during his life and career, gives this film a typically atmospheric soundtrack. The widescreen photography is first rate, and Gemma has a fine supporting cast to work with. The prolific, corpulent, robust character actor Fernando Sancho has a field day as bandit leader Sancho. Lorella De Luca as Miss Ruby and Nieves Navarro as Dolores are simply beautiful. Antonio Casas is excellent as the hospitable Major Clyde, as is George Martin as Sheriff Ben, who is in love with Ruby (you can't blame the guy).

Exciting action scenes and a healthy dose of humour also make this quite pleasing to watch.

Seven out of 10.
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7/10
Ringo Rules!
FightingWesterner2 May 2011
When smarty-pants bandito Fernando Sancho and his gang rob a bank and begin executing hostages while conducting a standoff at a near-bye ranch, local authorities send in ultra-slick (and equally glib) gunfighter Giuliano Gemma to infiltrate the ranch and hopefully rescue the survivors.

Sancho is a hoot and Gemma oozes charm in this light-hearted, action-filled, and fast-paced flick that spawned a slew of bogus "sequels" and catapulted the name Ringo to icon status, like fellow one-name spaghetti stars Djang, Sartana, and Trinity.

Although not quite a masterpiece, A Pistol For Ringo is an awful lot of fun, with a memorable score by Ennio Morricone, making it worthwhile viewing for fans of European westerns.
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7/10
"Early to bed, early to rise, gets you shot between the eyes."
bensonmum230 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The leader of a band of Mexican outlaws is wounded as the group makes its getaway after a bank robbery. The bandits decide to hold-up at a nearby ranch. The outlaw leader, Sancho (Fernando Sancho), threatens to kill two hostages per day unless he and his gang are allowed passage to Mexico. The local sheriff feels hamstrung as he fears for the life of his girl, one of the hostages, if he makes a move against the bandits. Reluctantly, he turns to a prisoner he's holding, Ringo (Giuliano Gemma), for help. The plan – have Ringo, an outlaw himself, infiltrate the group and work from the inside to free the prisoners.

A Pistol for Ringo is an interesting and entertaining early Spaghetti Western. It's interesting to me because I look at it as something of a bridge between the traditional Hollywood Westerns and the Euro-Westerns just getting cranked-up in 1965. It's a mix of old and new. Old – costumes, the unrealistic portrayal of violence (no blood), and the lack of dirt (it always bugs me that no one in old Westerns ever gets dirty). New – the anti-hero, bandits like Sancho, the body count, and crazy plot points and twists. It's really cool to see these different elements blended into one movie like A Pistol for Ringo. As for entertaining, well it's just fun. Lighter feeling than some of the other early Spaghetti Westerns, A Pistol for Ringo has something of a playful tone to it despite the violence. The script is well written and includes many interesting pieces of dialogue – the bit about what makes men different in Texas being one of my favorites. The script also includes a well written, but heart wrenching, twist near the end that I really didn't see coming. It completely caught me off-guard. Director Duccio Tessari keeps things moving at a nice pace with lots of action, gun fights, and interesting set-pieces throughout. The acting is a real highlight. Gemma, Sancho, and the beautiful Susan Scott (Nieves Navarro) help make A Pistol for Ringo worth watching. Finally, there's Ennio Morricone's score. It's what I've come to expect from Morricone – wonderful
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9/10
It is a Matter of Principle!
zardoz-136 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Writer & director Duccio Tessari, who c0-scripted Sergio Leone's "A Fistful of Dollars," helmed this entertaining, above-average spaghetti western, "A Pistol for Ringo," starring Roman-born actor Giuliano Gemma--billed here as Montgomery Wood—as the eponymous hero with perennial villain Fernando Sancho as his treacherous adversary. For the record, the profligate Sancho appeared in over 230 movies and basically played the same slimy Mexican outlaw in 35 westerns. Tessari penned a number of other Italian oaters including "Seven Guns for the MacGregors," "Return of Ringo" and "A Train for Durango." Tessari also worked on the Italian peplum—muscle man movies--before he embarked on these trigger happy westerns, most notably co-writing Sergio Leone's "The Colossus of Rhodes." In "A Pistol for Ringo," Tessari imitates American westerns more than his native variety. Gemma is a clean-cut, good-looking, well-dressed gunfighter who is too fast on the draw for his own good. At least twice in this lively horse opera, he guns down opponents in self-defense. The way that Ringo handles a six-gun, however, it comes pretty close to murder. Moreover, Ringo is a wise-cracking gringo with a comeback line for everything. Indeed, the dialogue by Tessari and co-scenarist Alfonso Balcázar, who also knew his way around continental westerns with writing credits on "Nevada Clint," "Five Giants from Texas," and "$100-Thousand Dollars for Ringo," crackles with humor and imagination. Simply said, nothing about this hostage crisis western set in the arid Southwest that co-stars George Eastman, another Italian who made his share of spaghettis, is half-baked. Ennio Morricone composed the beautiful orchestral score and Morricone's magical music is far above what this violent western could have hoped for, especially the lyrical title tune about the wily protagonist.

The first time that we lay eyes on our hero, Ringo (Giuliano Gemma of "Day of Anger"), he is playing hop-scotch with a bunch of children in a village. Word has arrived that Ringo has been cleared of murder charges in the shooting death of another gunman, but the Benson brothers decide to make him pay for their brother's death. No sooner have they challenged Ringo—who is also known as 'Angel Face'—than he whips his six-shooter out of his waistband and blows all four of them away without wasting a shot. Indeed, like Clint Eastwood in "A Fistful of Dollars," Ringo doesn't wait for them to draw and only one of the Benson's clears leather with his revolver before he is shot dead. The sheriff (George Eastman of "Ben and Charlie") arrests Ringo and puts him in jail where our hero demands a glass of milk. Later, Ringo pours out liquor on the floor when he doesn't get his trademark glass of milk.

Meanwhile, Sancho (Fernando Sancho of "Mission Phantom") rides across the border alone only to be confronted by a couple of U.S. Cavalrymen who tell him to turn around and ride back across the Rio Grande. Sancho feigns ignorance and removes his sombrero in humility while the soldiers chew him out. Little to the troopers know that Sancho has taken his large hat off to hid his hand pulling his pistol out. He guns them down and his gang joins him in the border town where they shoot it up and rob the bank. During the hold-up, Sancho catches a bullet in the shoulder. The sheriff forms a posse to follow them and the villains hightail it out of town and ride to a sprawling ranch near the border. They take the owner, Major Clyde (Antonio Casas of "The Texican"), his pretty daughter Ruby (Lorella De Luca of "The Swindle"), and their servants and ranch hands hostage.

After the posse lays siege to them at the ranch, one character points out how impregnable the ranch is. "The walls are high and thick. You'd need a company of cavalry to attack it. Half of the soldiers would be killed in the charge." Nevertheless, the stalwart sheriff informs Sancho that his men and he are cornered in the ranch and there is no escape for them. The murderous Sancho responds, "Meanwhile, in case it takes you a while to make up your mind, we'll send out two dead men a day, one at dawn and one at sunset, first the ranch hands and last of all, the girl and her father." At the same time, the townspeople send for the U.S. Cavalry. They know Sancho by his reputation: "His favorite sport is shooting unarmed men, preferably in the back." Another posse man observes, "The only sure method to handling them is to slaughter them like cattle." The sheriff is bothered by Sancho's ultimatum. Particularly, the sheriff worries because Ruby is the love of his life and he doesn't want anything that might jeopardize her life. "If we could get a man inside the ranch," he opines, "we could help them to escape." Reluctantly, he approaches free-wheeling Ringo with a scheme that would see Ringo turned loose. Initially, Ringo is reluctant to help them. "Don't look for trouble," he points out, "It'll come by itself." Nevertheless, after the sheriff clears Ringo of the shooting death of the Benson brothers and the citizens grudgingly agree to 30 per cent as a reward for our hero, he agrees to help them. However, to establish his credentials as a villain, he has the sheriff and his posse pepper the air with bullets as he rides hell-bent-for-leather to the ranch. Once Ringo shows up, he operates on Sancho and removes the bullet. Ringo tells them about his predicament as well as their predicament and demands 40 per cent of the loot in exchange for getting them out of the ranch.

"A Pistol for Ringo" is head and hands above most generic spaghetti westerns. Director Duccio Tessari keeps things popping. Gemma is perfectly cast as the agile Ringo. The rugged Spanish scenery is gorgeous and the formulaic plot provides a couple of surprises.
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