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Battle of the Godfathers (1973)
"Zinksärge für die Goldjungen" (original title)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  12 July 1974 (Italy)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 91 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 6 critic

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Herbert Fleischmann ...
Otto Westermann
Luca Messina
Patrizia Gori ...
Véronique Vendell ...
Raf Baldassarre ...
Ermelinda De Felice ...
Luca's Mother
Sonja Jeannine ...
Tilly Mautz
Uwe Carstens
Wolfgang Kuhlman
Peter Lehmbrock ...
Victor Oto
Jack Carmen-Paxton ...
(as Jack Paxton)
Denes Törzs ...


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Crime | Drama


R | See all certifications »





Release Date:

12 July 1974 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Battle of the Godfathers  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


DEM 3,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The original music score by Coriolano Gori is featured only in the Italian version of the film which differs significantly from the German cut (i. e. it features more action scenes and less plot / character development while running shorter). The score of the German version consists solely of archive music from other films, including The Death Ray of Dr. Mabuse (1964), Death and Diamonds (1968), Hard Women (1970) and Jungfrauen-Report (1972). See more »

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User Reviews

Henry Silva battles Herbert Fleischmann for control of Hamburg's mob action
1 May 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Other reviewers, here and among critics, see more in this movie than I do. The critics read it the Fleischmann character as reflective of a consuming and fat German society, so they see this as a critical subtext that they like. Others see it as some kind of a rival to the larger Italian output of poliziotteschis. It becomes the German entry that's to be applauded. If this is the best German crime movie of the 70s, it's not saying much about German crime movies.

The basic plot is simple. Fleischmann runs the mob action in Hamburg, which controls the usual banned businesses and then some. Henry Silva arrives and he intends to take over. Family affairs complicate matters enormously. Silva's daughter and one of Fleischmann's sons fall in love. Silva's mother has a heart attack and Fleischmann helps out by calling a doctor. Silva tries to stop the killing of Fleischmann's other son but he's too late.

This plot is handled in very strange ways, making the whole movie a bit strange. The second part is, however, less strange. In fact, in the first half, I was wondering if I could take this movie seriously. As it got along further, I did, but still its take on these families and on the conflicts between the two godfathers at times is parody and at other times unrealistic. Expect parody and a lack of realism for a good part of the movie before a more serious and realistic tone cuts in.

The love affair of the Romeo and Juliet couple is handled ineptly. One minute they meet and the next minute she wants to go to bed and is telling him she loves him and vice versa. Silva arrives with his family and a cliché for a mother. It's ludicrous. The way in which he attempts to take over is unbelievable and so is Fleischmann's initial response. The wives and lovers of these two men are movie characters, not real people. The movie plays like farce in many spots. Silva marches in to a big meeting of Fleischmann and associates without any trouble and tells him he's now taking 40%. Who can take this seriously? It's only after Fleischmann's son is killed that the movie starts to change over.

It's all too slapdash to be a tight or serious crime story.

But if you take it for what it is, then it's another average movie. I'm not saying it's lousy. It isn't. It's just not what you might expect from the title. There's a battle, all right, and it has interesting family complications, but it's not a ruthless mafia-style battle. It's not a no holds barred battle. The men don't use surprise attacks on each other, but they do use some oddball retaliation, like when Fleischmann mails a wreath with a time bomb. He could not know who would be around when it exploded, so that this is really not realistic. The implicit rules of engagement they are following seem weird.

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