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The Italian Connection (1972)

La mala ordina (original title)
A Milanese pimp is pursued by - and then pursues - a pair of New York hitmen and the gangsters who framed him for stealing a shipment of heroin.


Fernando Di Leo


Fernando Di Leo (story), Fernando Di Leo (dialogue) | 3 more credits »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Mario Adorf ... Luca Canali
Henry Silva ... David Catania
Woody Strode ... Frank Webster
Adolfo Celi ... Don Vito Tressoldi
Luciana Paluzzi ... Eva Lalli
Franco Fabrizi ... Enrico Moroni
Femi Benussi ... Nana
Gianni Macchia Gianni Macchia ... Nicolo
Peter Berling ... Damiano
Francesca Romana Coluzzi ... Trini
Cyril Cusack ... Corso
Sylva Koscina ... Lucia Canali
Jessica Dublin ... Miss Kenneth
Omero Capanna ... Don Vito Henchman
Giuseppe Castellano ... Garagaz


When a shipment of heroin disappears between Italy and New York, a small-time pimp in Milan is framed for the theft. Two professional hitmen are dispatched from New York to find him, but the real thieves want to get rid of him before the New York killers get to him to eliminate any chance of them finding out he's the wrong man. When the pimp's wife and daughter are murdered in the course of the "manhunt", he swears revenge on everyone who had anything to do with it. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


When the Godfather signs your contract... there's no place in the world you can hide! See more »


Action | Crime | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Ulli Lommel, the future cult filmmaker and actor known for his collaborations with Rainer Werner Fassbinder, appears as an extra. See more »


In the English version, Irish actor Cyril Cusack plays the American drug trafficker named Corso by using his native Irish accent throughout the whole film. See more »


Don Vito Tressoldi: [to Luca, after being held at gunpoint] You little runt. You're talking to Don Vito Tressoldi, and DON'T YOU FORGET IT! That name means something. What's yours mean? NOTHING! Not even that stupid whore you're married!
Luca Canali: [sighs in disbelief] My wife wasn't a whore...
See more »


Referenced in Ban the Sadist Videos! (2005) See more »

User Reviews

"I killed enough people to fill a cemetery"
22 May 2011 | by lost-in-limboSee all my reviews

Two professional hit men from the States are hired to track down a small-time pimp Luca Canali in Milan, as this man was accused of the disappearance of a shipment of heroin between Milan and New York. Well that's what they are to believe by local crime boss Don Tressoldi. Their job is to brutally kill Luca and make a message of it. However Luca doesn't know why they want him and he won't go down too easy, as he tries to get to the bottom of it.

This confidently gritty 70s Italian crime thriller might start off slowly, but when it hits its strides. Boy it doesn't let up. What starts off talky where you are waiting for things to happen gets better as it moves along, where plot threads unfold and it suddenly becomes impulsively hazardous. There's one sensational car / foot chase sequence that packs brute force and never gives you a chance to catch a breath. It's very well done. Most of the action follows the same dynamic pattern. Thrilling, tough and intense with constant roughness. Fist fighting, scuffles and shootouts… as the sweat pours and the bruises are inflicted. Hear and see it! Not escaping is the seedy hook, brassily loud instrumental score, compact camera-work and authentic European locations.

Some well known players feature in the cast. Woody Strode and Henry Silva are the American assassins. Strode plays the quiet, steady head and Silva's a live-wire, womanizer. Complete opposites, but the same rather deadly and downright bad-asses. This shows in the lethal cat and mouse climax in a car scrap-yard with Mario Adorf's character. Adorf holds his own with a respectable turn, constantly making a slip when the manhunt begins, but after a tragedy hits. Now he's fuelled by revenge… going in head first. The script is just as jagged, as like the editing but there's a sardonic edge to it and the excessive melodramatics ups the emotions and motivations.

Hard-boiled, if bittersweet Italian crime entertainment.

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Italy | West Germany



Release Date:

2 September 1972 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Black Kingpin See more »

Filming Locations:

Milan, Lombardia, Italy

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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