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A half-breed ex-Union gunfighter attempts to protect his plague-ridden hometown from being overridden by his racist half-brothers and a Confederate tyrant.



(story) (as Luigi Montefiori), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »



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Complete credited cast:
Olga Karlatos ...
Gabriella Giacobbe ...
The Witch
Antonio Marsina ...
Sam Shannon (as John Loffredo)
Donald O'Brien ...
Caldwell (as Donald O'Brian)
Leonardo Scavino ...
Doctor (as Leon Lenoir)
Wolfango Soldati ...
Confederate Soldier
Victoria Zinny ...
Brothel Owner
Alfio Caltabiano ...
Member of Caldwell's Gang


Half-breed Keoma returns to his border hometown after service in the Civil War and finds it under the control of Caldwell, an ex-Confederate raider, and his vicious gang of thugs. To make matters worse, Keoma's three half-brothers have joined forces with Caldwell, and make it painfully clear that his return is an unwelcome one. Determined to break Caldwell and his brothers' grip on the town, Keoma partners with his father's former ranch hand to exact violent revenge. Written by Ørnås

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Western


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Parents Guide:






Release Date:

25 November 1976 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Desperado  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Shot in eight weeks. See more »


The Witch: Why did you come back?
Keoma: The world keeps going around and around. So you always end up in the same place.
See more »


References Knives of the Avenger (1966) See more »


In Front of My Desperation
Written by Guido De Angelis & Maurizio De Angelis
Performed by Cesare De Natale (as Guy)
See more »

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User Reviews

A Late, Great Entry into the Spaghetti Western Genre.
24 February 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

"Keoma: The Avenger" (1976), is a Spaghetti Western directed by Enzo G. Castellari (who would late make the 1976 film "Inglorious Bastards", a film that Quentin Tarantino paid a large homage to in "Inglorious Basterds" [2008]) and stars genre stalwart Franco Nero. This film comes from the dying days of the genre, when it was in its protracted and some times painful decline. Only one or two more Spaghetti Westerns were made before it died, but this particular entry is among the best and can stand comparison with anything made in the 1960s. It is a great last hurrah, all the better for being resolutely un-nostalgic.

The script is by Mino Roli, Nico Ducci, Luigi Montefiori, and Enzo Girolami; it covers familiar territory but in an unusual fashion: Half-breed Indian Keoma (Nero) returns, after the American Civil War, to his border hometown where he finds it under the control of an ex-Confederate raider called Caldwell (Donald O'Brien) and his gang. Keoma's three half-brothers have also united with Caldwell and want to make sure Keoma doesn't hang around.

What distinguishes this banal storyline is the overt use of not just allegorical mysticism, but also borrowings from ancient Greek plays, such as the wandering Earth-mother character, which is splendidly played by Gabriella Giacobbe. This surprising if obvious use of symbolism coupled with apocalyptic imagery really makes the film standout in your memory.

The direction from Castellari is highly efficient, and one of the best parts of the film. However, the frequent use of slow motion, while well done, is derivative of Sam Peckinpah, but without his mature understanding of violence. Here, it is just done for "cool" effect.

The cast is exceptional in its bringing together icons of the genre, from Franco Nero, "Django" himself, to such great supporting actors as William Berger, Woody Strode and Donald O'Brien. All give performances perfectly suited to their roles and are almost reason enough to watch the film.

On the debt side, unfortunately, is a fairly terrible score by Guido & Maurizio De Angelis, with some terrible singing (sounding like drunken amateur folk singers) punctuating the action like nails on a blackboard; ah well, you can't have it all, can you? Still, this is a hugely enjoyable late entry in the spaghetti Western oeuvre that I highly recommend.

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