Branded a coward for surrendering his New Mexico fort to the Confederates without firing a shot, a Union colonel attempts to redeem himself by leading a band of condemned prisoners on a suicide mission to recapture it.
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The film is set in 1862 but features Gatling guns that, presumably, formed part of the fort's arsenal when it was in Union hands.The gun was designed by Dr Richard J Gatling in 1861 and patented on November 4, 1862. Though two examples were employed near Petersburg and eight fitted on gunboats, it was not accepted by the American Army until 1866. So it's most improbable that it would have been available in a remote theatre of the Civil War. See more »
Disgraced Union officer James Coburn saves himself and a few degenerates, including Bud Spencer, from hanging by suggesting a daring raid on the impregnable Fort Holman, currently being held by mad rebel General Telly Savalas. As the introductory crawl suggests, Coburn has greater motivations than that of simple patriotism.
Inspired by The Dirty Dozen with a bit of Where Eagles Dare and The Wild Bunch thrown in, this is an entertaining Italian western/Civil War movie that makes good use of the massive sets previously built for the film El Condor.
Generally worth recommending, Massacre At Fort Holman (also widely known as A Reason To Live, A Reason To Die, with Coburn dubbed by someone else and Bud Spencer apparently by character actor R.G. Armstrong!) sags some in the middle but things pick up and the final battle is fairly exciting.
There's a great performance by the always cool James Coburn, while that of the supposedly insane Telly Savalas is actually more subdued than usual. He was much more zesty in Pancho Villa and A Town Called Hell, though this is still a better movie.
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