In Mexico at the time of the Revolution, Juan, the leader of a bandit family, meets John Mallory, an IRA explosives expert on the run from the British. Seeing John's skill with explosives, Juan decides to persuade him to join the bandits in a raid on the great bank of Mesa Verde. John in the meantime has made contact with the revolutionaries, and intends to use his dynamite in their service. Written by
Sergio Leone, Sergio Donati and Luciano Vincenzoni worked together on the film's screenplay for three to four weeks, discussing characters and scenes for the film. Donati, who had previously acted as an uncredited script doctor for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), conceived Juan Miranda's character as an extension of Tuco from that film. Meanwhile, Leone was largely responsible for the character of John Mallory, and the film's focus on the development of John and Juan's friendship. At times, however, Leone, Donati, and Vincenzoni found that they had highly differing opinions about how the film should be made, with Leone wanting to have the film produced on a large scale with an epic quality, while Donati and Vincenzoni perceived the film as a low-budget thriller. See more »
When Juan is robbing the 'bank' in Mesa Verde, when he shoots open the second door in the basement, we see what appears to be a soldier (khakis, long jacket, knee boots, Sam Brown belt) round the corner on the stairs and casually continue walking down them. See more »
A quote from Chairman Mao regarding the nature of revolutions was removed from original English prints out of fear that audiences would misinterpret the quote's use as an endorsement of communist revolution. The quote was later put back into uncut prints. See more »
100 proof dynamite action film by genre master Leone
Excellent action film with Steiger over-the-top but Coburn right on the money as bandit/revolutionaries in Mexico. More gunfire and explosions and less balmy confrontations than in other Leone pics. I'm stuck on a second viewing by how much of a "70s" film this is, and how much real cinematic value and interesting ideas Leone has put into the film despite its basic action-film plotline. Rumors say Malcolm MacDowell was the original lead -- very intriguing possibility. The look on Steiger's face after he finds out he's risked his life to rescue a bunch of dirty prisoners is priceless.
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