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$1,000 on the Black (1966)
"1000 dollari sul nero" (original title)

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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 147 users  
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Twelve years ago, Sartana framed his brother Johnny for murder and stole his girlfriend. Now the town's undisputed boss and doted over by his possessive mother, Sartana seems safe - until, his sentence served, Johnny rides back into town.


(as Albert Cardiff)
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Title: $1,000 on the Black (1966)

$1,000 on the Black (1966) on IMDb 6.4/10

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Credited cast:
Anthony Steffen ...
Johnny Liston
Gianni Garko ...
Erika Blanc ...
Franco Fantasia ...
Sieghardt Rupp ...
Angelica Ott ...
Manuela Holt
Daniela Igliozzi ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ettore Arena
Fortunato Arena ...
Salvatore Borghese ...
Mexican in Bar
Carla Calò ...
Rhonda Liston (as Carol Brown)
Carlo D'Angelo ...
Judge Waldorf (as Charles Angel)
Mario Dionisi ...
Hombre de Sartana
Gilberto Galimberti
Chris Howland ...
Doodle Kramer


Twelve years ago, Sartana framed his brother Johnny for murder and stole his girlfriend. Now the town's undisputed boss and doted over by his possessive mother, Sartana seems safe - until, his sentence served, Johnny rides back into town.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Release Date:

18 December 1966 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

$1,000 on the Black  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


First appearance of the Sartana character. See more »


Referenced in If You Meet Sartana Pray for Your Death (1968) See more »


Necklace of Pearls
Written by Michele Lacerenza (music) and at Gancarossa
Performed by Peter Boon
See more »

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User Reviews

Euripides on the Range
20 April 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The sound of a plaintive solo trumpet.......a tight shot of Anthony Steffen as ex con Johnny Liston... introduces this slightly mad..somewhat fascinating...often bad but never dull Spaghetti Western from 1966. After spending 12 yrs in prison for a murder he didn't commit, he encounters a deadly ambush as he returns to town ........only to find it under the boot of a gang of vicious thugs...led by none other than his brother, Sartana (No..not THAT Sartana)....a loony self styled 'General' commanding the forces of a brutal protection racket. Johnny also discovers his former lover, Manuela, in his camp...(which looks kinda like a combination Aztec temple/fort built into the side of a mountain..) He visits his wacked out in what looks (architecturally) like a Greek Temple...the "queen", if you will..of the town..deluded & under the spell of luxury & power...anointed by her mad son's butchery.

Quite a morning...huh?

Directed by Alberto Cardone..a/k/a Albert known for his work as assistant director on "Ben-Hur"..& second unit director on "Barbarella"...., this was Gianni Garko's first Western...and it's quite a debut. You've never..& never will again..see Garko like a cruel, crazed, , psychotic maniac....with 3 entire towns under his domination......whose citizens are forced to pay return for his "protection".

Oozing with classical themes & references...elements of Greek tragedy...Shakespearean drama....high Italian opera..( I half expected to see someone break into an aria at any moment... a Greek chorus commenting on the action wouldn't have been a surprise, either)....Oedipal themes...religious parables (Cain & Abel)...A Christian passion play of resurrection & redemption......all stirred and whipped into a very 'Italian' melodrama. ..and quite violent (babies, women..all's fair game here) Western.

As far as I know...this was the only pairing of Steffen & Garko, who star as the conflicted brothers..............and probably the first use of "Sartana" as a character's name.

As Sartana's 'troops' march into a nearby town to collect their booty....Johnny declares "this town's under my protection", setting up some gun battles, which are basically boundary & limit defining contests......leading up to the inevitable against brother...... & a starkly surreal & well filmed (best in the movie) ending......including, (but not limited to) the fires of Hell.......with the main street of the town acting as the river Styx' path to the Underworld...a biblical quote from Leviticus as we fade..with the heavens darkening & grumbling...(Zeus didn't make an appearance...but that doesn't mean he wasn't in the vicinity......)

Composer Michele Lacerenza was a trumpet player on the Fistful of Dollars score...& manages to come up with a serviceable soundtrack...including the melancholy trumpet theme...numerous Morricone rips--> electric guitar & flute..., organ music...and what sounds like incidental opera music.

While there's no shortage of things gone a little wrong here...there are ridiculous shots of the sun accompanied by cheesy organ music... some absurd dialogue..bad dubbing..... silent film style- like overacting.....& some intense closeups of maniacal laughter...which we all know & love from countless SW...I would never dismiss this as one to avoid.

There's a lot going on here..& while much of didn't work...some of it did...& can be quite a hoot if viewed w/ the right spirit.

It could qualify as a somewhat campy...fascinating failure of a stewpot of themes & references...& w/ the 'Wow' factor of Garko's Spaghetti Western 'debut'...the pairing of Steffen & Garko.... It can be a somewhat bizarre...weirdly entertaining hour and a half or so.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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