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I crudeli
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Hellbenders (1967) More at IMDbPro »I crudeli (original title)

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Hellbenders -- Screen legend Joseph Cotten stars as the fanatical patriarch of a family of ex-Confederate killers who massacre an army convoy to finance an invasion of the North. But before they can re-ignite the Civil War, they'll have to smuggle a coffin crammed with stolen cash across a frontier enflamed by lust, violence and extreme vengeance. Featuring a classic score by Ennio Morricone.


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Albert Band (story)
Louis Garfinkle (additional dialogue)
View company contact information for Hellbenders on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
June 1967 (USA) See more »
A coffin without a corpse... Crammed with millions in cash! See more »
An ex-Confederate and his sons plan to use stolen money as a way to revive the Confederacy. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Unique Corbucci Classic See more (22 total) »


  (in credits order)

Joseph Cotten ... Col. Jonas
Norma Bengell ... Claire aka Mrs. Ambrose Allen
Al Mulock ... The Beggar

Aldo Sambrell ... Pedro
Julián Mateos ... Ben

Ángel Aranda ... Nat

Gino Pernice ... Jeff
Julio Peña ... Sgt. Tolt
Claudio Gora ... Rev. Pierce
Ennio Girolami ... Lt. Soublette (Fort Brent commander) (as Enio Girolami)
José Nieto ... The Sheriff
María Martín ... Kitty aka Mrs. Ambrose Allen
Giovanni Ivan Scratuglia ... Gambler in Denton Saloon (as Ivan Scratuglia)
Rafael Vaquero ... Mexican bandit
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Simón Arriaga ... Mexican bandit
José Canalejas ... Mexican bandit
Álvaro de Luna ... Bixby
Claudio Scarchilli ... Indian Chief
Benito Stefanelli ... Slim the Gambler
Gene Collins ... Union Soldier counting money (uncredited)
William Conroy ... Union Soldier (uncredited)

Directed by
Sergio Corbucci 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Albert Band  story
Louis Garfinkle  additional dialogue
Virgil C. Gerlach  story
José Gutiérrez Maesso 
Ugo Liberatore  screenplay
Ugo Liberatore  story

Produced by
Albert Band .... producer
Original Music by
Ennio Morricone  (as Leo Nichols)
Cinematography by
Enzo Barboni 
Film Editing by
Nino Baragli 
Alberto Gallitti 
Art Direction by
Jaime Pérez Cubero 
Makeup Department
Pierantonio Mecacci .... makeup artist
Francisco Puyol .... makeup artist
Production Management
Eliseo Boschi .... production manager
Fernando Ocana .... production manager
Julio Parra .... production supervisor
Tonino Sarno .... production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Maria Berrutia .... assistant director
Ruggero Deodato .... first assistant director
Sound Department
Umberto Picistrelli .... sound
Miguel Pedregosa .... stunts
Benito Stefanelli .... stunts
Benito Stefanelli .... stunt coordinator (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Sergio Bergamini .... camera operator
Jorge Herrero .... camera operator
Angelo Pennoni .... still photographer
José Salvador .... still photographer
Editorial Department
Amedeo Salfa .... assistant editor
Music Department
Nunzio Rotondo .... musician: trumpet solo
Other crew
Anna Korda .... dialogue coach
Isabel Mulá .... script supervisor
Patrizia Zulini .... script supervisor
Emilio Cigoli .... voice dubbing: Joseph Cotten (uncredited)
Gabriella Genta .... voice dubbing: Norma Bengell (uncredited)
Giancarlo Maestri .... voice dubbing: Ángel Aranda (uncredited)
Michele Malaspina .... voice dubbing: Josè Nieto (uncredited)
Gigi Proietti .... voice dubbing: Gino Pernice (uncredited)
Roberto Villa .... voice dubbing: Claudio Gora (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"I crudeli" - Italy (original title)
"The Hellbenders" - International (English title) (imdb display title), USA
"The Cruel Ones" - USA
See more »
90 min
Color (Eastmancolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Albert Band directed part of this film, uncredited.See more »
Jonas:Where do you hail from?
The Beggar:From under a rock. That's where they say we all begin...crawling out from underneath something.
See more »
Movie Connections:
References The Tramplers (1965)See more »


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17 out of 19 people found the following review useful.
Unique Corbucci Classic, 28 May 2005
Author: marc-366 from United Kingdom

Joseph Cotton stars as Jonah, an ex-confederate trying to keep the dreams of the south alive following General Lee's surrender. He and his sons, known as the Hellbenders, massacre a troop to steal the money that they are transporting, with the aim of using this prize to restart the confederate cause. The stolen loot is stored in a coffin, disguised as the dead Captain Ambrose, and transported across the desert to Jonah's home town. They are accompanied by a drunken whore, under the guise of Ambrose's mourning widow, supposedly transporting the dead man to his place of rest. The search for the troop's murderers is in full flow, but Jonah is a man obsessed with the cause, and nothing or no-one is going to stop him achieving his objective.....

Hellbenders is an absolute classic of the Spaghetti Western genre, standing proudly side by side fellow Corbucci classics Django and the Great Silence. It continues in Corbucci's usual vein, firing bullets of unjust and unexpected twists at the screen, as the plot spirals towards its grim finale. All the while, the engaging trumpet of Morricone's score becomes more and more pleasing to the ear.

The slow but gripping pace of the movie reminds me of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, in the way that its story is joined together by a number of sub plots. But here there is little humour. Aside from Ben (Mateos) and Claire (Bengell), the Hellbenders are an ugly and evil lot. Cotton is compelling as Jonah, his deadpan expression superbly capturing the characters single-minded vision. Pernice (perhaps most famous for having his ear cut off in Django) is truly deranged as the equally perverted and dim-witted Jeff. There are also great cameo appearances from euro-western favourites Al Mulock, Aldo Sambrell and Benito Stefanelli.

The film does tend to plod rather than gallop in a number of places (and this is in no way a bad thing!), and its story is quite different from the majority of the films in the Spaghetti Western genre. But it is a compelling view, with the scene at the Fort and the excellent finale worth the price of admission in itself.

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