El Chuncho's bandits rob arms from a train, intending to sell the weapons to Elias' revolutionaries. They are helped by one of the passengers, Bill Tate, and allow him to join them, unaware... See full summary »
History Professor Brad Fletcher heads west for his health, but falls in with Soloman Bennett's outlaw gang. Fascinated by their way of life, Fletcher finally takes over the gang, leading ... See full summary »
Gian Maria Volonté,
Arms dealer Yolaf Peterson aims to make a sale to guerilla Mongo, but the money is locked in a bank safe, the combination known only to Professor Xantos, a prisoner of the Americans. Yolaf ... See full summary »
While a Mexican revolutionary lies low as a U.S. rodeo clown, the cynical Polish mercenary who tutored the idealistic peasant tells how he and a dedicated female radical fought for the soul... See full summary »
Amiable, unassertive Scott Mary picks up the trash, cleans the toilets, sweeps the floors in the town of Clifton. Then a gunfighter comes to town. He offers advice and guidance to Scott who... See full summary »
Lee Van Cleef,
Half-breed Keoma returns to his border hometown after service in the Civil War and finds it under the control of Caldwell, an ex-Confederate raider, and his vicious gang of thugs. To make ... See full summary »
Several pillars of society have robbed an Army safe containing $100,000 so they can buy the land upon which the coming railroad will be built. But they haven't reckoned on the presence of ... See full summary »
Lee Van Cleef,
El Chuncho's bandits rob arms from a train, intending to sell the weapons to Elias' revolutionaries. They are helped by one of the passengers, Bill Tate, and allow him to join them, unaware he is an assassin working for the Mexican government. Written by
TOM SELDON <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Damiano Damiani's 1966 film 'A Bullet for the General' is one of the first examples of the Zapata Western, a sub-genre of the Spaghetti Western that mostly dealt with political themes during the Mexican Revolution of the early 20th century. Gian Maria Volontè plays El Chucho, the leader of a Mexican bandit gang who earn their pay selling arms to revolutionaries - he meets with a suave gringo named Bill Tate (played by Lou Castel) who claims to be on the run from the law and soon finds himself inducted into the group and deep in the heart of the Mexican revolution.
Despite the simple sounding premise 'A Bullet for the General' displays a great depth of character as the protagonists relationships shift with the plot before inevitably exchanging roles. The first hour or so seems like a standard western affair with lots of the usual train hi-jacks and bandit raids, but as the characters develop and their relationships become more strained we see some marvellous performances from the suspicious El Chucho, his brother El Santo (a fanatical Christian revolutionary played by Klaus Kinski) and the cool and un-flustered Bill 'Niño' Tate.
The doubt displayed by El Chucho towards Tate really sets up the finale, and as the film nears the heart of the revolution Tate's motives become clear - but that doesn't stop Damiani pulling a nice twist at the end, endearing Volontè's character and providing a juxtaposition to the characters he made famous in some of Sergio Leone's classic Spaghetti Westerns. In a film dealing largely with role-reversal this is particularly apt.
I didn't quite know what to expect from 'A Bullet for the General', I hadn't previously heard of the director and apparently this was his first foray into the Western genre - but I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. Providing a good mix of action and politics with commendable performances from Volontè, Kinski and Castel 'A Bullet for the General' is an intriguing and unique example of the Spaghetti Western and well worth your time whether you're a fan of the genre or not.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?