A Man Called Blade (1977)
"Mannaja" (original title)

R  |   |  Action, Drama, Thriller  |  13 August 1977 (Italy)
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A bounty hunter arrives in a mining town and is hired to track down the missing daughter of the town's crippled mayor and learns she has been kidnapped by the mayor's corrupt right-hand-man and a band of outlaws he is secretly working for.


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Complete credited cast:
Maurizio Merli ...
John Steiner ...
Sonja Jeannine ...
Deborah McGowan (as Sonya Jeannine)
Donald O'Brien ...
Burt Craven
Salvatore Puntillo ...
Johnny Johnny - the impresario
Antonio Casale ...
Dorman - bandits' head (as Nino Casale)
Enzo Fiermonte ...
The government Envoy
Rik Battaglia ...
Gerald Merton - Mannaja's father (as Rick Battaglia)
Aldo Rendine ...
The Fat Passenger in the Stagecoach
Sergio Tardioli ...
The Saloon Barman
Sofia Lombardo ...
Mannaja's Mother (as Sophia Lombardo)
Philippe Leroy ...
Martine Brochard ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Enzo Maggio


Arriving in the mining town Suttonville, after claiming the bounty of a outlaw known as Burt Craven, a bounty hunter named Blade (armed with a hatchet instead of a gun) is hired by the town's wheelchair bound mayor McGowan and his corrupt associate Voller to track down McGowan's daughter Debra who has gone missing. Blade is unaware that Voller kidnapped Debra and is secretly working for a group of outlaws who are looting shipment of silver from the silver mines that are run the mine owner McGregor. Caught up in Suttonville's affairs, Blade not only has Voller and the outlaws to deal with, he also goes to settle a score with McGowan (who was responsible for the death of Blade's father) and takes on Voller and his gang who are out to gun him down. Written by Daniel Williamson

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Release Date:

13 August 1977 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

A Man Called Blade  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Sergio Martino cited Sam Peckinpah as an major inspiration for his skills as a director and behind "Mannaja", for the edited scenes where the dancing sequence and the death sequence are intercut. See more »


References Keoma (1976) See more »


Written by Guido De Angelis & Fabrizio De Angelis
Performed by Cesare De Natale (as Dandylion)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Atmospheric Twilight Spaghetti Western.
19 December 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

"Mannaja: A Man Clalled Blade" (1977) is one of the last true Spaghetti Westerns, being made almost at the end of the ailing genres decline. It is directed by Sergio Martino and stars seventies Italian crime movie veteran Maurizio Merli as the eponymous (anti-)hero as well as John Steiner and Donald O'Brien.

The screenplay was written by the director and is about a bounty hunter, Mannaja/Blade (who is armed with a hatchet instead of a gun), arriving in the mining town of Suttonville attempting to claim the bounty on the outlaw Burt Craven (O'Brian). Here though, he runs into trouble with the unscrupulous Theo Waller (Steiner) and mine owner Edward M. McGowan (Philippe Leroy).

If the script is rather formulaic, the presentation is not, which despite borrowing a few ideas from some of Sergio Corbucci's Westerns, this is a mean and moody film. After a very atmospheric opening where Mannaja hunts down Craven, he enters a town which is a sea of mud and miners dying from the dust they breathe in from the silver mine while lorded over by the puritanical McGowan. This is hardly a light-hearted film; Mannaja is a man with vengeance in his heart and neither he nor his enemies have any qualms over killing to achieve their goal.

Martino's direction is the chief attraction here, as along with cinematographer Federico Zanni, he conjures, a cold, wet, muddy landscape for his characters to briefly live and then die in. Merli is good as Mannaja, although playing a silent, tough bounty hunter hardly seems to be stretching him as an actor. Steiner is excellent as the villain, clearly relishing his role. This music by Guido and Maurizio De Angelis is impressive, very different from anything Ennio Morricone did in the genre. Unfortunately the title song played over the beginning and then subsequently at various points throughout the film, is just plain awful, like a cut-price clone of Leonard Cohen singing while drunk. That is only a slight negative however in this superb Spaghetti Western from the twilight era of the genre.

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