I grandi condottieri (1965)

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The stories of Gideon and Samson from chapters 6-8 and 13-16 of The Book of Judges.


, (as Francisco Perez Dolz)


(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Flavio Nicolini) , 2 more credits »
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Cast overview:
Anton Geesink ...
Ivo Garrani ...
Rosalba Neri ...
Lo straniero / The Stranger - Angel of the Lord
Luz Márquez ...
Donna di Gaza / Woman of Gaza
Paolo Gozlino ...
Ana María Noé ...
Maruchi Fresno ...
Moglie di Gedeone / Wife of Gideon
Giorgio Cerioni ...
Jeter - Figlio di Gedeone / Jether - Son of Gideon
Piero Gerlini ...
Lucio De Santis ...
Sergio Ammirata ...
Generale filisteo
Barta Barri ...
Fara (as Barta Barry)
José Jaspe ...
Zebaj / Zebah (as José Jaspes)
Consalvo Dell'Arti


The stories of Gideon and Samson from chapters 6-8 and 13-16 of The Book of Judges.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

samson | gideon | biblical | See All (3) »


Adventure | History | War


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Release Date:

8 October 1965 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Great Leaders of the Bible  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


ESP 18,435,349 (Spain)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Italian censorship visa # 45594 delivered on 28-8-1965. See more »


Follows Saul e David (1964) See more »

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User Reviews

Two-part pseudo Bible epic that has its moments (in the first episode)
3 September 2001 | by (Oberhausen, Germany) – See all my reviews

Narrating from the Bible, director Marcello Baldi took the Book of the Judges and turned its best-known chapters 6-8 (about Gideon) and 13-16 (about Samson) into a film. Well.

As a statement on responsibility and how people grow with their tasks, the first episode about Gideon's conversion to help his suppressed people fulfils its mission. Fernando Rey as the angel and Ivo Garrani as Gideon are equally effective. Garrani lends a touching element to the character of a simple farmer who is challenged to make the move from indifference to substantial leadership.

The second episode, as opposed to that, doesn't click at all. While "Gideon" has mostly outdoor scenes, "Samson" seems to have been restricted to the studio (Cinecittà, by the way). Yes - Rosalba Neri is duly ambiguous as Delilah, and Spanish veteran actress Ana María Noé is fine as Samson's mother - but muscular Dutch Anton Geesink reminds of a groggy Rocky IV. The concluding action scenes, though, were directed pretty well.

Remains unclear, what sense the picture had. Emilio Cordero's production company San Paolo, of Rome, financed three Old Testament filmings, apart from this one, "Giacobbe, l'uomo che lottò contro Dio", and "Saul e David", all directed by Baldi in 1963-4. If they were meant for people's spiritual edification, they probably didn't get off the ground as much as a service in St Peter. Italian release date, Oct 8, 1965, didn't quite support that idea, when most Bible flicks normally premiere around Christmas.

Another puzzle is the question who directed. Italian-language credits open with "un film di Marcello Baldi" and close with "regia: Francisco Pérez Dolz." It might be possible that either helmed one of the episodes, even more so because they are rather different in style.

The odd narrative technique (kind of a double feature, if you will), if appropriate to the Bible's episodical structure, tends to prove that the story of only one Israelite hero didn't fit the ninety-minute format, so, for the love of it, they put two stories together, presumably regardless of the fact that episodical films were alla moda in the mid-sixties.

Perhaps the weirdest bit about the movie lies in its resumption of the "Sansone" character, who, as a muscleman, had haunted Italian (and foreign) screens from "Sansone" (1961, with Brad Harris) to "Ercole Sansone Maciste e Ursus gli invincibili" (1964, with Renato Rossini). This one, however, is the only real Samson, although possibly the worst of all. It's like with the Bible: you've gotta believe in it...

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