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The Great Silence (1968)

Il grande silenzio (original title)
Not Rated | | Western | 27 January 1969 (France)
A mute gunfighter defends a young widow and a group of outlaws against a gang of bounty killers in the winter of 1898, and a grim, tense struggle unfolds.

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Writers:

(story), (screenplay) | 5 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Gordon / Silence (as Jean Louis Trintignant)
...
...
...
...
Carlo D'Angelo ...
Governor of Utah (as Carlo D' Angelo)
Marisa Merlini ...
Maria Mizar ...
Blonde Saloon Girl
Marisa Sally ...
Black-Haired Saloon Girl
Raf Baldassarre ...
Sanchez
Spartaco Conversi ...
Remo De Angelis ...
Fake Sheriff in Flashback
Mirella Pamphili ...
Red-Haired Saloon Girl in Flashback (as Mirella Pamphili C.S.C.)
...
Pauline Middleton (as Vonetta Mc Gee)
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Storyline

Bounty killers led by Loco prey on outlaws hiding out in the snowbound Utahn mountains. After Pauline's husband becomes Loco's latest victim, she hires a gunman for revenge; Silence, mute since his throat was cut when he was a boy. Written by Tom Seldon <elpuro@msn.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Wherever he goes, corpses pave his path... See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

27 January 1969 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Great Silence  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Sound System)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Sergio Corbucci, Marcello Mastroianni gave him the idea of a mute gunfighter when the actor told him that he had always wanted to do a Western, but unfortunately didn't speak English. When Corbucci first met Jean-Louis Trintignant, he learned that he didn't speak English either. Because he had a fascination with characters with a crippling weakness, Corbucci decided that this was the moment to turn the taciturn Spaghetti Western hero into a mute. See more »

Goofs

When Silence and Burnett use potatoes as target practice, the potatoes they fire at frequently hurtle towards them. The impact of the bullets should have sent them farther away. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Hunter: [after Silence has killed four other bounty killers] W-Wait! I-I surrender! Don't kill me! I-I won't do it again! I'm through with bounty hunting! Don't kill me, Silence!
[Silence shoots both of the man's thumbs off; the killer moans in pain]
Hunter: Damn you! You've... crippled my hands!
[tries to shoot Silence with his pistol, but is shot in the back by Miguel]
See more »

Connections

Featured in Let There Be Sound (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

They died with their coats on
30 July 1998 | by (Canterbury, England) – See all my reviews

In a traditional Western one instantly knows who the good and who the bad guys are, and - of course - we also know who will triumph at the end (the good guys, of course). In a typical Italian Western we still know instantly who's going to win at the end, just the distinction between good guys and bad guys is rather blurred. Il Grande Silenzio is not a typical Italian Western. We know instantly that e.g. Klaus Kinski is one of the bad guys (frankly, we know that before the film starts but that's beside the point), but the final outcome is much less predictable, and if you tried to predict it the actual ending may come as a huge shock.

The title of the film is ambiguous, both referring to the grandiosity of the character played by Jean-Louis Trintignant (called 'silence' since he's mute) and the silence of the winter landscape in which the film is set and the silence of the death.

Yes, the silence of death: the German title of the film ('Leichen pflastern seinen Weg', translation: 'his path is paved with corpses') is also ambiguous, since 'his' could equally apply to both main characters. However, the violence is never gratuitous, it is bleak: most of the victims have faces and a story behind them. Il Grande Silenzio is surprisingly little known but highly regarded amongst genre lovers (including me). As in so many Italian Western, Ennio Morricone's score is a great asset, perfectly assessing and supporting the general mood. This is easily one of the five finest Italian Western ever made, and I'd feel hard pressed to name more than 2 of the others.


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