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A Man Called Blade (1977) More at IMDbPro »Mannaja (original title)

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Release Date:
13 August 1977 (Italy) See more »
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
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User Reviews:
Another grim classic See more (20 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)
Maurizio Merli ... Mannaja
John Steiner ... Valler
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 ... McGowan
Martine Brochard ... Angela
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Enzo Maggio
Nick Alexander ... Dorman - Bandits' Head (voice: English version) (uncredited)
Domenico Cianfriglia ... Valler's Man (uncredited)
Alberto Dell'Acqua ... Valler's Man (uncredited)
Ottaviano Dell'Acqua ... Rioting Miner (uncredited)
Bruno Di Luia ... Stagecoach Guard (uncredited)

Michael Forest ... Blade (voice: English version) (uncredited)
Nello Pazzafini ... Valler's Man (uncredited)
Riccardo Petrazzi ... Valler's Man (uncredited)
Claudio Ruffini ... Valler's Man with Whip (uncredited)
Franco Ukmar ... Valler's Man (uncredited)
Frank von Kuegelgen ... Valler's Man (voice: English version) (uncredited)
José Yepes ... Valler's Man (uncredited)

Directed by
Sergio Martino 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Sergio Martino 
Sauro Scavolini 

Produced by
Luciano Martino .... producer
Original Music by
Guido De Angelis 
Maurizio De Angelis 
Cinematography by
Federico Zanni 
Film Editing by
Eugenio Alabiso 
Production Design by
Giacomo Calò Carducci 
Costume Design by
Marisa Crimi 
Makeup Department
Mirella Ginnoto .... hair stylist
Dante Trani .... makeup artist
Production Management
Pietro Innocenzi .... production manager
Furio Rocchi .... production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Massimo Manasse .... assistant director
Art Department
Adriano Tiberi .... property master
Sound Department
Raffaele De Luca .... sound
Bruno Moreal .... sound mixer
Stefano Piermarioli .... sound recordist
Special Effects by
Dino Galiano .... special effects (as Cataldo Galliano)
Riccardo Petrazzi .... stunt coordinator
Camera and Electrical Department
Alberto Anzellotti .... key grip
Roberto Belli .... gaffer
Sebastiano Celeste .... camera operator
Giorgio Garibaldi Schwarze .... still photographer (as Baldi Schwarze)
Mario Pastorini .... assistant camera
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Luisa Buratti .... wardrobe mistress
Editorial Department
Sante Discepoli .... assistant editor
Giuseppe Romano .... assistant editor
Other crew
Evi Farinelli .... production secretary
Mirella Malatesta .... publicity secretary
Luigi Padovani .... riding master
Riccardo Petrazzi .... weapons master

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Mannaja" - Italy (original title)
See more »
Brazil:101 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »

Did You Know?

The film was banned in Sweden.See more »
Movie Connections:
SnakeSee more »


Is it true John Steiner stood on a wooden plank for the horse scenes?
What is Mannaja?
Why is Blade called Blade?
See more »
Another grim classic, 6 February 2014
Author: Bezenby from United Kingdom

You've got to love a Spaghetti Western that opens like a horror film and begins with a guy losing a hand to a tomahawk. Better still, the guy losing his hand is Donald O'Brien of Zombie Holocaust and Ghosthouse, and the guy throwing the tomahawk is Maurizio Merli of Violent Naples and Fear in the City. I nearly fainted when I discovered that John Stiener of The Last Hunter and Tenebrae was in this too!

Mannaja is one of a handful of twilight era Spaghetti Westerns full of vicious violence and dark imagery filmed in the latter half of the seventies. This one is directed by Sergio Martino, the guy who brought us Torso and 2019:After the Fall of New York, and this might possibly be his best film.

Mannaja (the name of Merli's character), brings Obrien into some run down town permeated by the stink of the nearby Silver mine. After discovering he can't claim a reward for OBrien, Mannaja beats Steiner in a game of cards and lets OBrien go. Stiener's not the greatest loser in the world however, which leads to several showdowns with Mannaja (including him getting blown up at one point).

Some generous dancing ladies find a wounded Mannaja and nurse him back to health, and they all head back into town, where they meet McGovern, pious and religious owner of the silver mine, who doesn't know that right hand man Steiner is in cahoots with a local bandit. Many double crossing and switches of allegiance follows (as usual for an Italian Western).

There's many shootouts here, not all of them involving Merli's character. I've got to say I've never seen John Steiner act better than he does here, coming across as an overconfident slimeball. Rik Battaglia helps as the religious nutter and land owner McGovern, wheeling around in his wheelchair in a permanent huff. Merli holds his own as the enraged Mannaja, with the always dependable OBrien backing things up.

As this is the late seventies, the violence quota is high, what with hands being cut off, many innocent people being gunned down and one character being buried up to his neck in sand, with his eyes stitched open so the sun can burn out his corneas. Martino films just about every frame really inventively, with a lot of wide angled lens work, fog and rain adding to the atmosphere.

I'd say Keoma has the slight edge on this one as it comes across as more poetic and Shakespearean (no, really), but Mannaja is a heavyweight film that should be viewed as a classic in it's own right. Similar music from the same composers too (just try and sing along to the guy with the amazing baritone who sings "You're…alone…" – you'll have a sore throat in no time).

If you grabbed a few beers and watched this, Keoma, and Lucio Fulci's Four of the Apocalypse, you'd have a fine, fine, night in. Why these films didn't revive the genre I'll never know – instead, Martino turned his hand to cannibal films and made Mountain of the Cannibal God ("Because you never forget the taste of human flesh!").

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