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The Big Racket (1976)

Il grande racket (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Crime, Drama | 12 August 1976 (Italy)
Nico Palmieri is a police inspector who battles against hoodlums terrorising a sleepy Italian village, extorting cash from the locals.


Enzo G. Castellari


Dino Maiuri (story) (as Arduino Maiuri), Massimo De Rita (story) | 3 more credits »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Fabio Testi ... Nico Palmieri
Vincent Gardenia ... Pepe
Renzo Palmer ... Luigi Giulti
Orso Maria Guerrini ... Giovanni Rossetti
Glauco Onorato ... Mazzarelli
Marcella Michelangeli ... Marcy
Romano Puppo ... Doringo
Antonio Marsina ... Giovanni Giuni
Sal Borgese ... Salvatore Velasci (as Salvatore Borgese)
Joshua Sinclair ... Rudy (as Gianluigi Loffredo)
Daniele Dublino ... Commissioner
Anna Zinnemann Anna Zinnemann ... Anna Rossetti (as Anna Bellini)
Edy Biagetti Edy Biagetti ... Chief
Salvatore Billa ... Fabrizi
Giovanni Bonadonna ... Cuomo


Nico Palmieri is a police inspector who battles a criminal gang terrorising a sleepy Italian town, extorting cash from the local merchants. With the threat of violence, no one dares to act, except for a restaurant owner who is forced by Palmieri to tell the truth. As a result, the owner's young daughter is raped, and the violence continues. Discovering that the gang is associated with drug dealers, Palmieri is forbidden to continue investigating his case by his superior - so he takes matters into his own hands. Palmieri recruits a couple of men who have become victims of the gang and sets out for a bloody revenge. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Someone's gonna pay...


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Director Enzo G. Castellari said that while he usually shoots his films in English, he shot this one in Italian, to be dubbed into English later, because lip-synching in English was too difficult for star Fabio Testi, who spoke no English at all. Castellari also said that he was quite dissatisfied with the English dubbing that was done. See more »


Luigi loads a fresh clip into his MP-40 but does not chamber a round before he shoots himself. See more »


Luigino: [gesturing with a doll he is holding to the storekeeper] Is this the kind that makes water?
Storekeeper: Yes, everything, it's the latest model from Japan.
Luigino: One of these days they'll make one that bleeds real blood... when you cut its throat!
See more »

Alternate Versions

The film was rejected for a UK cinema certificate in 1977 by the BBFC. It was finally released on DVD in 2002 after 14 secs of cuts for 'violent rape focusing on forcible breast exposure and female nudity'. See more »


Referenced in Escale à Nanarland: Le Justicier de New York (2013) See more »

User Reviews

Gritty, Action-Packed, Violent and Downright Nasty Excitement - Pure Italo-Crime Greatness!
27 January 2010 | by Witchfinder-General-666See all my reviews

Enzo G. Castellari has enriched Italian cult-cinema in various genres, and "Il Grande Racket" of 1976 is arguably the coolest of them all. At least this breathtaking, ultraviolent and supremely nasty Poliziottesco has surpassed "Keoma" and the original "Inglorious Bastards" of 1978 on my list of favorite Castellari flicks. "Racket" delivers gritty, rough and brutal Italo-Crime excitement in its purest form and proudly stands up there with the works of Fernando Di Leo and Umberto Lenzi among the true highlights of 70s Italian Crime Cinema.

The vast majority of Italian crime flicks from the time are about unorthodox cops hunting sadistic criminals (inspired by "Dirty Harry"); some, such as Castellari's own "Il Cittadino Si Ribbela" ("The Citizen Rebels",1974, which I regretfully haven't yet seen) are about enraged citizens, who, after being tormented by thugs for too long, take the law in their own hands. This wonderfully gritty gem actually serves both premises! Cult-star Fabio Testi plays Rome police Inspector Nico Palmieri, who leads a hopeless battle against a protection racket of hoodlums who terrorize and torment a whole neighborhood of innocent people. Palmitieri's rough but legal methods always seem to fail, as the gangsters' surviving victims are too intimidated to talk, which is why a sleazy lawyer always gets his scumbag clients out. When all legal methods fail, the rough-and-ready copper is not afraid to bend the law in order to provide justice...

Fabio Testi, a regular leading man in Italian genre-cinema, delivers another great performance in his role here. Of all the films I've seen him in, I would say that this is Testi's second-best (the unmatched No 1. being Massimo Dallamano's 1972 Giallo-masterpiece "Cosa Avete Fatto A Solange"). The rest of the cast includes several familiar faces for fans of Italian cinema, such as Castellari-regulars Joshua Sinclair and Orso Maria Guerrini (who played Franco Nero's malicious brothers in "Keoma"), Salvatore Borghese (who was in many Bud Spencer & Terence Hill Comedies, as well as many Spaghetti Westerns) and others. It is notable that the gang of sadistic thugs in this film includes a particularly sadistic female (played by Marcella Michelangeli).

"Racket" brings the whole spectrum of genre-typical nastiness: Loads of bloody violence, rape, sadistic murders, brutal torture - there's plenty of it all here. The film is action packed, and, the action sequences are very well-done. The film si full of violent shootouts, car chases, fistfights etc., and, as usual Castellari provides some spectacular effects (such as a car rolling spinning over down a hill from the inside). The cinematography is very well-done, and the score is genre-typically great and underlines the adrenaline-driven atmosphere. All things considered, "Racket" is a spectacular example for Italian Crime Cinema, which ranges among the highlights of both director Castellari's and leading-man Testi's careers. A fan of Poliziotteschi in particular and Italian Cult Cineama in general should make sure not to miss this brutal, action-packed and remarkably gritty gem. Highly recommended!

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Release Date:

12 August 1976 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

The Big Racket See more »

Filming Locations:

Rome, Lazio, Italy

Company Credits

Production Co:

Cinemaster S.r.l. See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Telecolor)
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