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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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(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

Sergio Corbucci reluctantly filmed a less tragic ending for some overseas markets, but it was still not shown in US and UK cinemas. See more »

Goofs

After Silence shoots the gang of bounty killers at the beginning of the film, the eyelids of one of the dead killers briefly twitch. 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

References Black Sabbath (1963) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The silence before the gunshot
4 April 2007 | by (Bulgaria) – See all my reviews

Twenty five years before Clint Eastwood made his departure from the western genre with his violent, cynical epic "Unforgiven", Sergio Corbucci had already treated us with one of the most dark and unforgiving tales of vengeance violence and that has ever graced the western screen. A forgotten classic that deserves recognition "The Great Silence" is Corbucci's definitive movie, powerful to the point of sadness. It can and it will shock it's viewer, with it's unforgiving nature, and themes.

Set around the snowy landscapes of Utah, "The Great Silence" stars Jean-Louis Trintignant as Silence, a mute gunfighter assisting a group outlaws for and a woman trying to avenge her dead husband. They are faced against a group of bounty hunters, led by Loco (Klaus Kinsky) a ruthless and merciless man who values only the money he gains from the killing.

Corbucci utilizes the snow-filled landscape to the maximum, creating a hauntingly chilling atmosphere that sticks with you from the beginning to the end and most likely, long after you've watched the film. The opening shot demonstrates perfectly the technique employed by Corbucci, with a long shot of Silence as he rides thru the desert of snow, there are no other environmental elements, just him riding calmly forwards accompanied only by a chilling tune from Morricone. This entire moment creates a image so strong so hypnotizing that I found myself re-watching it again and again. It is these moments that make "The Great Silence" great, experiencing the silence before the gunshot and the silence after it, the moments of reckoning, the moments that decide the fates of human beings. I emphasize on "human beings" because the characters here are not only likable but believable and they very much feel like real people, the kind you might like or despise or love or hate. It's not about Silence's skills as a gunfighter, but the human aspect bellow, that is what makes him feel real. None of this would have succeed had it not been for the brilliant acting of the entire cast. Trintignant and Kinsky make the biggest impression though, adding layers of depth to their respective characters without even uttering a word, just their facial expressions, the way the move, the confidence with which they act it is simply brilliant.

Commenting on the final scene would be a downright shame to those who haven't seen the movie just yet. But it is one of the most memorable, no not only memorable it is one of the greatest endings ever shot, with one of the best uses of slow-motion I have ever seen. Slow-motion that captures the darkest, saddest moment, the one thing no one would expect to happen in a western. This further helps to strengthen the major anti-violence theme as the credits begin to roll and the viewer is left to cope with the unexpected finale.

Ennio Morricone serves one of his best scores. I would easily rank this amongst "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" in terms of quality. But it is by no means similar to it. No. We are not soothed by the comfortable music heard in his collaborations with Leone. This score is, haunting and sad, like the movie itself it has an emotional effect on the viewer.

"The Great Silence" is as every bit as good as any of Leone's films. But is also as every bit as different from them. A uniquely dark voyage into the brutal reality of human nature, concealed as a western. Sergio Corbucci died in 1990, his movies weren't remembered by many, but those that did will never forget "The Great Silence".


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