800 Bullets (2002) Poster


User Reviews

Review this title
26 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
800 BULLETS (Alex De La Iglesia, 2002) ***
Bunuel197612 April 2006
I rented this one on a hunch, not having watched any of director De La Iglesia's work, even if I had heard of him - if not the film in question.

I thought this was going to be an out-and-out Spaghetti Western update, and it looks like it at first, but the way it developed makes it original and even more interesting than I had imagined! It's frequently uproarious and displays a refreshing irreverence, especially in its use of foul language (which I found even funnier because it's so similar to our own); astoundingly, there are also sex scenes witnessed by, and almost involving, a minor! Deliberately paced and overlong, it ultimately emerges as an endearing, even infectious, spoof of Spaghetti Western film-making and the world of stunt-men (which to me, having been in Hollywood a little while back, has a special relevance). Recurring jokes like forgetting the hanged man once the shooting's over, a stuntman dedicated to making his fall from a roof-top as realistic as possible, and the front of a poor woman's house being demolished by a runaway van are very funny, and there's a hilarious funeral finale with a surprising appearance by "Clint Eastwood" (who, as everyone knows, became a household word in Italian Westerns filmed in Spain)!

The cast is largely made up of unknowns (except for Carmen Maura) but they enter enthusiastically into the tongue-in-cheek spirit of things, with Sancho Gracia's characterization being especially vivid (at times, even a moving one). Indeed, among the various in-jokes which crop up throughout the film is the mention of the Raquel Welch/Burt Reynolds Western 100 RIFLES (1969), a film in which Gracia really appeared!
11 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Amusing and joyful Spanish comedy/Western , being well shot in Almeria
ma-cortes25 June 2004
Alex De la Iglesia is an excellent Spanish director . He had much success such as "Accion Mutante" , " El Dia de la Bestia", "Perlita Durango" and ¨La Comunidad¨ , among others . Here deals with a homage to Spaghetti/Paella Western and other American Westerns shot in Spain . Julian Torralba/Sancho Gracia is an ex-movie stuntman living in Almeria . Julian and his colleagues once made a busy living in Spaghetti Westerns shot in Spain ; nowadays , they are reduced to do stunt-shows for small audiences on the decaying set built for those old Westerns . Here Sancho Gracia , who made several Westerns during the 60s and 70s , plays an old man who brings a village back to life , which the bad guys want to sell to speculators . Sancho Gracia , his friends and grandson must fight against the polices and baddies to obtain their purports . The final showdown between Sancho Gracia and Angel De Andrés López is overwhelming and exciting.

In the film there is comedy , tongue-in-cheek , humour , drama , noisy action , nudism , and results to be very entertaining . Filmmaker Alex De La Iglesia tries to pay tribute to Spaghetti Western , that's why he wished its main star , Clint Eastwood , to play himself as a cameo or special appearance , Alex even offered to move to Los Angeles to shot his part ; Clint , who was then working on the direction of ¨Blood work¨ (2002), was forced to turn down this sympathetic offer . Main cast is pretty good , such as Sancho Gracia , Carmen Maura and Angel Andrés López . Support cast is frankly enjoyable , including Alex De Iglesia's ordinary secondaries , such as : Manuel Tallafé , Eusebio Poncela , Enrique Martínez , Eduardo Gómez and the great Terele Pávez . Evocative production design shot on location in Desert of Tabernas , Almería , Andalucía , where during the sixties and early seventies lots of Spaghetti/Paella Westerns were filmed . Alex De La Iglesia's direction is rightly made , he called it as a ¨Western Marmitako¨ , it is a special food from Basque Country , where Alex was born . Besides , cinematography by Flavio Labiano is splendid and Roque Baños' musical score is breathtaking , though it imitates Ennio Morricone . Rating : 6.5/10 Good . Better than average . Well worth seeing .
16 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Once upon a time in Almeria..
chaos-rampant1 December 2008
OK, let's get this clear first: seasoned veterans of the genre might be disappointed by the tribute aspect of 800 Balas. The only spag references are to Leone's films, Clint Eastwood and his poncho. Add to that a score that resembles Morricone, great opening credits in the colourful spag tradition, and excellent cinematography (wide shots and close-ups included) and that's as far as it goes.

However it's tons of fun. Although not as outrageous as other De La Iglesias efforts like Accion Mutante, El Dia de La Bestia or Perdita Durango, it still has all the trademarks that made him famous. Black humour, quirky dialogues, energetic pace, fluid camera shots, excellent performances, it's creative and above all entertaining. Sancho Gracia steals scenes and was an original spaghetti western actor himself.

Watch it for a great opening scene that (suprisingly enough) is a tribute to John Wayne's Stagecoach, a saloon orgy, a hooker seducing a minor, a spectacular shootout between a SWAT team and spaghetti western stuntmen, the Hanged Man (first screenshot), the Dragged Man (who is constantly being dragged by a rope behind a horse...it is his only trick) and a cameo by a faux-Clint Eastwood.
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Return to Almeria, home of the Itie Western.
Mozjoukine4 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
After COMUNIDAD, I was prepared to watch anything this lot did. Well ten minutes in, it was being brought home to me that this one was even better.

First surprise, the always watchable Carmen Maura's part is quite minor and while I must have seen Sancho Gracia half a dozen times, including some of my favorite movies like MARTIN H and COMUNIDAD, I'd never realized what a great screen presence he could be.

Big surprise however is how completely the film sucks you in. The Euro-Cowboy movie imagery - complete with the half animated drawings of the titles, backed by THE GODD THE BAD AND THE UGLY music - carries the spectator away in the opening, with the bogus Yak Canutt transfer to the speeding horse team and particularly the bender where the stunt show regulars with tomato picker Indians go on a horse back rampage, financed by Maura's 12 year old's Visa card.

We love these people and wish we knew them when we were twelve, despite the fact that they keep on telling us that what they do is a tacky imitation of something that was often a tacky imitation in itself. The grandfather is prepared to sell out the kid to preserve his waster way of life, the kid is spoiled rotten, the whore, who is the most decent character in the film, is bent on corrupting the kid. Half his luck - everyone picks up on that scene.

The shoot-out with eight hundred real bullets is great but they can't figure out where to go from there and the rest is an anticlimactic attempt to redeem the characters we admire for their corruption.

My only regret is I can't see this one on the big screen where it's action material must have been awesome.
14 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The friendlier side of Iglesia?
doctorhumpp15 August 2003
The 12 year-old Carlos fools his rich corporate mom (who thinks he's on a skiing trip) and goes lookin' for his grandfather, an alcoholic stuntman who worked with Sergio Leone and Eastwood in the 60's. The grandfather and other boozehounds do daily Western shows for German and Japanese tourists, every nite they're out whoring and partying and they take Carlos with'em. Carlos's mom (Almodovar's regular Carmen Maura) hates her dad and wants to close down the shows in the Western town, but then the 'cowboys' band together and defend their lives and town, this time with REAL bullets instead of blanks. "800 Bullets" is a wildly entertaining 'light' comedy loaded with Iglesia's brand of anarchic humor. Since this film isn't that violent (compared to his other films) and if the sex and nudity was removed, "800 Bullets" could pass a feel-good-comedy-for-the-family! Joe Dante meets Fellini? It's not his best and its way too long at 121 mins, the silly and serious antics are an uneven mix, but "800 Bullets" is a must for fans of Iglesia. Most outrageous scene: 12 year-old Carlos' cheerful sexual debut with a hooker and her bouncing boobies!?! Only in Spain! I miss Iglesia-regular Santiago "Torrente" Segura though, he'd have been perfect as a scummy drunken cowboy.
14 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The "Scream" of Westerns?
cifra224 October 2002
800 Balas (800 Bullets) **** 1/2 by Alex de la Iglesia with Sancho Gracia, Angel de Andrés López, Carmen Maura, Eusebio Poncela and Luis Castro. OK, people. Here's the "Scream" of the Western genre. Only it is not set in America, but in the fake America in Spain where masterpieces as Lawrence of Arabia and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly were shot. And it is not set in the XIXth Century but in 2.002. And everything is fake, the mirage of times already past.

Alex de la Iglesia's career is truly awesome. His first short, "Mirindas Asesinas" (*****) was hailed by many critics as the BEST spanish short film EVER. Then Pedro Almodóvar himself financed de la Iglesia's film debut, "Acción Mutante" (*** 1/2), a science-fiction terrorist comedy that open new possibilities for spanish film industry. Then he changed his producer to "Belle Epoque" producer Andrés Vicente Gómez, who financed his later films: the legendary "Day of the Beast" (*****), "Perdita Durango" (*****) - the movie that de la Iglesia choose to make instead "Alien Resurrection" - "Muertos de Risa" (**** 1/2) and "La Comunidad" (**** 1/2). A truly awesome career, in my opinion. His trademark wild and surreal humor, grotesque violence and the social subtext of almost all of his movies makes him one of the most extraordinary and unique "auteurs" worldwide.

No wonder that besides "Talk to Her", the most anticipated film in Spain of 2002 was "800 Balas". Did he - once more - deliver the goods?

Yes. A big YES.

The plot: Carlos (Luis Castro) the nasty 11 years old - more or less - son of Laura (Carmen Maura) an executive of a construction company discovers - thanks to his dead father's mother (the great Terele Pávez) that his grandfather is alive and escapes from home to find him in Almería's Hollywood. The situation when he arrives is not good. The Western Hollywood stunt attraction is all that survives from the golden past that land saw in the 60's, the land where Clint Eastwood, David Lean and George C. Scott made great movies (spaghetti westerns, Lawrence of Arabia and Patton: yes, they were shot in Spain!). A land where the last important shooting was Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - and so it's kept a photograph of both Spielberg and Lucas at the entrance of the theme park.

Carlos' grandfather, Julián (Sancho Gracia) is the shadow of the man he once was. He plays his usual stunt unconvincingly along with his fellows, including Cheyenne (Angel de Andrés López) with whom he fights at the saloon entrance in a very bad western style. When Julián learns that Carlos is his grandson, guilt resurrects as he's partially to blame of his son's death when playing a stunt many years ago. But things can only get worse when Laura finally finds where is her son.

And I will stop here. I don't want to spoil the fun for you. And yes, I know that this is set for drama, not for comedy. How the situation develops is outstanding. Meet the people of the "theme park". Meet their families. Meet the muslim immigrants. Meet the whores. Meet the Guardia Civil. Meet the Police. Bring 800 bullets, and alcohol, and drugs, and The Pogues' "Fiesta". And you have another de la Iglesia's wild ride to the darkest spanish spirit.

Making sutile references to a lot of westerns and taking even a couple of shots from "Seven Samurai" - which we can admit is some kind of western - de la Iglesia's direction is bizarre, daring, grotesque, strong, and ultimately, unique. And the same can be said of the cast and their performances. Sancho Gracia and Angel de Andrés López are simply awesome in their roles. Some of you may remember Angel de Andrés López from Almodóvar's "What have I done to deserve this?" and "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" (althought his part in this one was very small, as a cop)... but both are two of the most underrated spanish actors. In exchange, Carmen Maura is one of the most known spanish actresses - and one of the best - and it may surprise many that her part is not the starring one... The whole supporting cast is great, and even the kid, Luis Castro, who has a very funny sex initiation sequence with a whore (R rating for sure in the USA!) is really funny (when the movie starts, he is playing alone disguised as an islamic terrorist!).

Add to this Roque Baños homage to classic western music at the score, a great cinematography and art direction, stunts, and a nostalgic feeling mixed with a riot and you have one of the best spanish movies of the year, althought some - lesser - pacing problems prevent me of giving the "Masterpiece" rating.

So, an advice: go rent "Day of the Beast" and "Perdita Durango" (Dance with the Devil). If you love or simply like these movies, you'll enjoy "800 Balas"... if you hate them, go check something else.
8 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A touching and funny homage to Spaghetti Westerns and film-making in general.
filwashere21 February 2005
Even if you aren't a fan of Sergio Leone's run of Western's shot in Spain on the cheap, you will still enjoy this movie. From the loving throwback title sequence to the obtuse Western camera angles to the heartfelt story of a boy connecting to his long lost grandfather, there is a lot to love in this picture. The standard Western archetypes are there but each one with a twist. Some aren't even known by names, simply by what they do in the Western re-enactment town. There is Hanged Man, Dragged Man (who is constantly being dragged by a rope behind a horse...it is his only trick, by golly, and he uses it for everything!) and the Sheriff and the Indians. Shootouts, pratfalls, drinkin', whorin', and by golly old fashioned quick draw shootouts. As an homage it is wonderful, from the claustrophobic close-ups, bird's eye angle on a dusty western street, Morricone-sounding music and Western bravado. As an homage to the love of film, it works as well. I will be surprised if it makes it to American shores uncut, though. There is a funny scene in it involving a prostitute and a young boy that is at once innocent and funny and oddly creepy. It is a funny scene, reminiscent of similar scenes in "Almost Famous" but in the US where the flash of a breast on TV causes seizures, it just won't pass the mustard. Which is too bad, because this is top film-making but what I am reading more and more as "the next Peter Jackson" or "next Robert Rodriquez." There are too few directors of that ilk, so give this one a try when it comes out on DVD or, if you are lucky, to the nearest art house cinema.
15 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Having fun with Alex de la Iglesia
psychoren200223 November 2006
"800 Balas" is another funny and cool movie from Spanish director Alex de la Iglesia, the guy who did the absolutely wonderful "El Dia de la Bestia", one of the best comedy/terror movies ever made. But I must tell you, people, if you don't speak Spanish, no matter how accurate the subtitles will be, you're missing half of the fun. And I mean Spanish from Spain, literally, because here in Argentina we speak Spanish too but in a complete different form and mood. Spanish people are hilarious when they insult each other (and there's a lot here) using some expressions that just can't be translated, like "me cago en la puta leche". But it's a funny and well delivered film no matter the language. A kind of homage to spaghetti westerns and all those little cheap movies from the 60's done with an excellent cast. Recommended.
8 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The End of the Spaghetti Western Era
claudio_carvalho19 September 2008
In Madrid, the boy Carlos (Luis Castro) never gets satisfactory answers about the life and death of his father and also about the work of his grandfather and former stuntman Julián (Sancho Gracia) from his executive mother Laura (Carmen Maura) and from his grandmother Rocío (Terele Pavez). While traveling on vacation to a ski station, Carlos escapes from the group of students and travels alone to Texas-Hollywood in Almeria, Spain, to know Julián, who works with his colleagues making shows in the decadent set of the old Western for small groups of tourists and telling his participations in movies like "Patton" and mostly as the stunt of Clint Eastwood in Sergio Leone's trilogy "Per un Pugno di Dollari", "Per Qualche Dollaro in Più" and "Il Buono, il Brutto, il Cattivo". When the bitter Laura discovers that Carlos is visiting Julián, she decides to buy and destroy the studio using the place for a tourist resort. However, Julián buys eight hundred bullets to protect the village with his unemployed mates.

With "800 Balas", the cult director Álex de la Iglesia makes homage to those that made the desert film studios Texas-Hollywood in Almeria and to the end of the Spaghetti Western Era. The engaging dramatic comedy has great performances, well-developed characters and an unexpected tragic conclusion. I regret the absence of the cameo of the real Clint Eastwood, but Constantino Romero does a good job; and the corny change of decision of Laura in the end of the story, typically to give a commercial end to the great story. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "800 Balas" ("800 Bullets")
6 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
hugely entertaining, romanticized Spanish "Western" with rich irony
fredda_ruth21 October 2004
I liked 800 Balas despite the sentimental pap; I think it proves that Iglesias has the heart and balls to make it big in Hollywood if he wants to. He has this ability to be so entertaining, accessible and deeply felt at the same time.

There were plenty of funny moments, romanticism (which tends to be simplistic and predictable at times) morality, "good and bad" characters,action, bright colors and suspense to give Steven Soderbergh a run for his money. At the same time, we get a healthy dose of ambiguous darkness, rich irony, black humor and ludicrous moments that tread the thin line between hysteria and nostalgia, morbidity and delight.

There are layers of amorphous innocence and celebration of sensuality in that scene where the kid, lying on the bed with the whore, learns a thing or two about female anatomy aided by a physical demonstration of squeezing her boobs. (For an odd, whimsical and yet strangely dark kid-confronted-with-ripe-overwhelming-sexuality scene, check out THE TIN DRUM where the protagonist buries his face on their house help's "bush".)

That scene where the kid tries to enter the abandoned film set to reach his granddad and somehow evades the notice of EVERYONE AROUND HIM, steeped in chaos, fright, awe and exhilaration as they all were - -- that is just tautly controlled and beautifully executed. The colors are so vivid and ethereal and it's great seeing around two hundred of these film extras acting their hearts out for their 3 seconds of fame, to be grazed by the camera's tracking shot.

Like the mythical, legendary granddad aiming for authenticity and grandeur, Iglesias strives for plenty of big moments.

But I guess that in the end, all the "hero" ever really wanted was to be loved; and if we can't admire this movie for its glorification of machismo-addled brotherhood and glaring, obvious contrasts and metaphors, we may just love its shameless and profound respect for history, psychological and blood ties, dreams, life, and humanity.
6 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Why Spain is so great...
lee_eisenberg2 January 2006
In the past 30 years, Spain has developed quite a film industry, and they can now add "800 balas" (called "800 Bullets" in English) to that list. It focuses on young Carlos Torralba (Luis Castro) getting to know his grandfather Julian (Sancho Gracia), who was Clint Eastwood's double in the spaghetti westerns and still lives in the town where they filmed the spaghetti westerns; he and the other cast members do re-enactments of the Old West. As Carlos and Julian get to know each other, a corporation announces plans to bulldoze the town, which of course doesn't sit well with the townspeople.

Maybe this is one of those slice-of-life stories, but it was certainly funny. I can't think of any Spanish movie that I didn't like. Another credit to this one is the scene where Carlos gets to meet the woman who played prostitutes in the spaghetti westerns. You'll see what I mean.
6 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Funny western from a weird and unique mind of Alex de la Iglesia
andrejakc-121 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Carlos a young, unbearable, spoiled, kid suddenly discovers some hidden secrets about his family. He never had a chance to meet his father but knows that his grandfather is a stuntman who worked in famous westerns many years ago, in those mythical times when the Americans were riding the earth in Almeria.

His mother was guarding these secrets from him so on the first chance Carlos decides to explore the unknown part of his family, and escapes to a touristy place in the middle of nowhere called "Texas Hollywood" to meet his grand father. When his mother finds out she can't take it and she swears by all means necessary to destroy the Wild West village. But cowboys are not cowards and here is where the movie really kick's into overdrive.

This is a phenomenal masterpiece homege to many spaghetti-western classics, it's a duel in-between reality and dream and it's definitely this director's most complete work. The visual side of the movie is nothing short of spectacular and it's a real shame that masters like Sergio Leone or John Ford could not witness it they would love it!

The title comes from the main characters budget of being able to buy only 800 bullets to defend his village and his friend against the police.

Characters are fascinating and memorable from the man who's hanged through the whole movie to the horse dragging stuntman cowboy, but the central figure is Julian (Sancho Garcia) in an epic role of a famous Clint Eastwood double.

There are many brilliant moments and the movie from the opening scene is just a one of those rare movies which holds your attention all the way.

This, the directors 6th movie is the most complete and probably most personal and confessional work. The pure imagination and all the ideas executed and transferred to the screen are nothing less than spectacular.

Finally, like a viewer you don't need to like westerns, the movie is about courage, friendship, and very original humor.

ALEX DE LA IGLESIA born 1965 in Bilbao is one of the leading Spanish directors present. Besides his recognizable style and brave projects DE LA IGLESIA has tested himself almost in every single movie genre. The only short which he directed "Mirindas Assesinas" was loved by Almodovar brothers which leaded to their collaboration on a hilarious mixture of science-fiction-parody "Action Mutante" (1992). After that a Spanish box office hit followed "El dia de la bestia" (1995), after which he picked up an abandoned project of Bigas Luna "Perdita Durango" (1997) which introduced to the world a great duet in-between Rosie Perez and Javier Bardem. After this he directed "Muertos de risa" (1999), and "La Comunidad" (2000) which was just recently distributed in UK. His sixth feature "800 Ballas" was nominated for 7 Goya's (Spanish Oscars) and features Alex de la Iglesia first time as a producer.

Andreja Kmetovic.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A Bit Too Long And Somewhat Uninteresting At Parts.
TheWindowlicker5 July 2005
800 Bullets (or 800 Balas) is the story of a young boy about 12 years old named Carlos Torralba (Luis Castro). Carlos thinks his life is boring and has become quite a handful for both his mother and everyone else he comes in contact with. Eventually, he discovers he has a grandfather named Julián Torralba (Sancho Gracia), who was a movie star in the 60's.

Now Julián no longer acts in movies but he works in a daily, western type live show for tourists, kind of like something you would see at Universal Studios or something of that nature. Carlos is infatuated with the fact his grandfather was an actor and decides to sneak off to meet him while he is supposed to be on a ski trip. He uses his mother's emergency credit card and he's off.

At first, Carlos has the time of his life and even has his first experience with a hooker! It must have been fun filming that one for young Luis. Anyhow, he eventually sees his grandfather as the has-been he really is.

This movie was a hard one for me to get all the way through. Usually subtitles do not bother me so much so I just think it's the fact that this movie was just uninteresting... boring even. It had it's moments, but most of the time, even after half an hour into it, I was just hoping it would either pick up or end. When it finally did, I felt I had wasted my time. The best part of this movie was Yoima Valdés, who played Sandra, the hooker. She was absolutely exquisite and makes me feel as if my time was not entirely wasted.
7 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A loving tribute to the people behind Spaghetti Westerns
jluis198428 November 2006
The province of Almería in Spain, became widely famous among film producers in the 60s and 70s, as it had the perfect natural settings for making movies. The Italian filmmakers were the first to discover the vast potential of Almería as a location, and the Western genre the one that suited the desert like a glove. Soon the Americans would arrive and the not only westerns, but also great epic films like "Patton" and "Lawrence of Arabia" took advantage of Almería's vast deserted landscape. "800 Balas" (800 bullets), is director Alex De la Iglesia's homage to Almería, and the legendary Spaghetti Westerns that were produced there, as well as the many people who found job in those classic movies. With his now trademark black humor to its fullest, De la Iglesia does for Westerns what he did for the Horror genre in "El Dia De la Bestia", and delivers another great underrate jewel in this the sixth film in his weird and brilliant career.

Carlos Torralba (Luis Castro) is a youngster to whom the growing up without a father figure has turned him into a spoiled troublemaker. One day Carlos discovers a photograph of her deceased father dressed as a cowboy, and soon he find out that his father worked as a stuntman in the desert of Almería along with his grandfather, but neither his mother Laura (Carmen Maura), nor his grandmother (Terele Pávez) are willing to speak more about that. So, fooling his mother, Carlos visits Almería, and discovers that his grandfather Julián (Sancho Gracia) is still alive and keeps working making stunt shows in the decaying set built for those old Westerns. As Julián is not really liked by Laura, she decides to use her business to ruin Julian's old western stunt show, but neither the former cowboy nor his gang of stuntman are willing to let that happen. An all they have to defend themselves are 800 bullets.

Written by the inseparable duo of Jorge Guerricaechevarría and director Álex De la Iglesia himself, "800 Balas" is a story that uses a simple and typical premise about a boy discovering his deceased father's past to create a multi layered story about honor, loyalty, and the fine line between reality and fiction, all spiced up by countless references to the Western genre (both American and Spaghetti) and a huge dose of black subversive humor. While not exactly a Western by itself, De la Iglesia plays with the genre defining it as the ultimate film genre and making cinema the perfect factory of dreams, as Julián and his gang of outsiders are people who never accepted that the dream they helped to create was over, in a loving tribute to Almería, its people, and its Westerns.

Certainly, "800 Balas" is more an action-packed character study than a straight forward Western, but De la Iglesia offers a deep knowledge of the Spaghetti Westerns that fans of the genre will find truly rewarding. With a stunning photography (by Flavio Martínez Labiano) that mimics Leone's classics, and a score (by Roque Baños) that gives more than one nod to Morricone; De la Iglesia captures Almería's essence and uses it as a setting for his tale of renegade cowboys making a final ride. Alex De la Iglesia has really improved a lot, but his freshness still can be seen in the way the camera flows across the scenes with a very fluid pace.

While it's true that Guerricaechevarría and De la Iglesia have done a great effort in this film, the movie literally belongs to Sancho Gracia and his outstanding performance as Julián. Gracia (himself a real Spaghetti Western actor) makes his character a complex and believable man that transcends a role that easily could had been a caricature of itself. Luis Castro serves as an excellent counterpart, and the young actor shows a great amount of talent for his age, in the role that serves as catalyst for the film's events. Once again Carmen Maura delivers an effective performance as the film's antagonist, and proves one more time why she is considered one of the best actress from Spain.

The rest of the cast are OK, although it's true that their characters at times tend to become exactly what they should not be: silly walking stereotypes. Still, this is more a flaw in the otherwise very good script than the actor's fault, and it's one of the two main problems "800 Balas" faces. The second problem is the fact that it's a bit too overlong, and while the film keeps a nice good pace for the most part, by the middle the film really drags a bit (with some scenes being either unnecessary or too long). Other than that the film is flawless, and a very recommended watch for every fan of the Spaghetti Western films of the 60s.

Despite it's obvious flaws, "800 Balas" is a remarkable homage to a long lost era, and another amazing work by one of Spain's most original filmmakers. This love letter to cinema is a must-see for Western fans, specially those who enjoyed watching Clint Eastwood walking through Almería, as the spirit of those legendary films seems to revive for a last ride through the desert. 8/10
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
good fun
mighty_pickman19 April 2004
To keep it simple, this film is just good fun to watch, especially if your a fan of the old spaghetti westerns.

Lots of laughs to be found (many revolving around a 12 year old being corrupted by the old men & their big drinking, whore loving lifestyle).

After dragging slightly in the middle of the film, 800 Bullets, picks up the pace for a great final 30-odd minutes, where it's all action.

Interesting that an "Original Music" credit has been given to Roque Banos, considering that all that was done was to remix Ennio Morricone's classic spaghetti western themes.

I highly recommend this film to anyone, especially in the mood for a fun, rollicking film. 8/10
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
not as much "spaghetti" as I was hoping for
spider891195 July 2005
This movie has its moments, but overall I would say that it's just OK.

Being a spaghetti western fan, I couldn't help but want to see this movie after reading its reviews on the IMDb, but after watching the film, I discovered that its relevance to the spaghetti western genre has been greatly overstated.

The best thing about this movie is the opening credits and theme song. The first half of the song includes a recognizable melody from the theme of "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," but changes the song enough to make it something almost entirely new. Then it breaks off into another great spaghetti western style tune which I didn't recognize any part of. The animated opening credits reminded me of the ones from "Days of Wrath" (aka "Day of Anger"), which have always been my favorite. After hearing and viewing this awesome beginning, I was expecting to be blown away by this movie. Unfortunately, the spectacular opening and the film itself are a mismatch, creating expectations that are not met.

The rest of the music score bears very little similarity to those stylish songs that drive the great spaghetti westerns. The music is pretty dull for the most part, and sounds like what you might expect from a recent Hollywood western.

The story itself is interesting enough to watch, but doesn't stand out as being unique or groundbreaking among the tons of other more or less pretentious art house films that have been created. It's a story about a broken family, and a boy's desire to connect with his grandfather. Real exciting stuff (I'm being sarcastic, of course).

The pacing of the movie could have been better, and the first two-thirds of the film goes by pretty slowly. This story should have been told in 90 minutes rather than 120. There are some funny scenes, especially the ones that occur in the western theme park, some eccentric western characters, and a stunningly beautiful naked woman. The action and comedy contain elements from the old westerns, but the movie doesn't emphasize the "spaghetti" enough. I think fans of Hollywood westerns may actually be more satisfied with this film than people who are expecting an homage to spaghetti westerns.

I almost bought this movie, but ended up renting it instead and was glad I did because, although it is interesting enough to watch once, it's not worth the cost of buying.
2 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I genuinely loved it!
RatedVforVinny19 December 2019
A great homage to the old 'Spaghetti Westerns', 800 bullets is not only original but highly entertaining to boot. Works on so many different levels, with an almost perfect mix of comedy and thrilling action sequences.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Somewhat predictable but entertaining nonetheless
prestonjohnson12 May 2010
I found "800 balas" to be a very entertaining film, if a little juvenile. The story follows a young boy in search of his grandfather. Carlos' (the young boy) father was a stunt man who died in an accident before Carlos was old enough to remember him. He goes in search of his grandfather to discover the true story his mother refuses to tell him.

Carlos finds his grandfather working in a Wild West tourist town where spaghetti westerns were once filmed. The exploits Carlos and his grandfather get into are entertaining and full of action, although fairly predictable. Carlos' grandfather is played by Sancho Gracia who is probably the highlight of the film. He very convincingly plays a depressed alcoholic who dreams of the old days when he was a stunt double for Clint Eastwood and other Hollywood stars, while also harboring guilt over the death of his son (Carlos' father).

Overall the films is good, but not great. The action sequences are very well thought out and the director's somewhat wild sense of humor fits in well with the overall tone of the film. In particular the ending sequence skillfully plays on suspense, action and humor to bring the film to a satisfying and sentimental conclusion. The location of the film in central Spain is very beautiful and the film does a good job of using the landscape and incorporating it into the story. The film is worth watching if only for its pure entertainment factor and for Sancho Gracia's superb performance.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
typical De La Iglesia
josean_xx19 July 2008
Alex de la Iglesia is probably one of SPain's finest filmmakers. An artist that can deliver such masterpieces as El dia de la bestia is really worth following. Here he derails with a tale the takes too long to unfold nd takes the spectator nowhere. Alex major problem lies always with the scripting of his films. Hs first film spent half of its footage presenting us a group of characters that were then killed so that the story could go in a different different direction. Same mistake here. The story starts and evolves then stops and then starts again in a different direction, etc. We are never heading in a concrete direction. The filmmaker gets lost among all the characters and their troubles never deciding which route to take. He is a good craftsman, and the film is above average in the technical department, still it's pretty boring, unusually so for a De La Iglesia comedy.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A True Tribute to the Western by the industry of La Pelicula Española
Vivaelhotelplaza200514 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Clint Eastwood made history in La Tierra Española, when he made his three Films of Fistfull of Dollars and A Fistfull of Dollars More as well as The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly; with those Films being made in Provincia de Almeria, and at a place called "Texas/Hollywood" today. Clint used a Poncho that he wore every day and night when he made Fistfull of Dollars and lost a bit of weight in that moment, of which Clint also left so many memories in this immortal part of Andalucia as a Region and Land of La Tierra Española, or Tierra de Iberia as it is also called. The fame of these Films and "The Magnificent 7" as well as Patton, which were also made in Almeria, made ALex de La Iglesia want to make this classic Film, with the tale being about the Stuntmen and what they face when they are forgotten and have to just live on the Tourists who come. The tale is innocent for it is about a Child who dreams and wants to know about his Father and runs away to see his Grandfather, but his Father is really dead for he died in a horrible accident while making a Film. His Grandfather is a drunk and washed up person, but the comic feel of the tale and the crazy life that these Misfits live, gives you the idea of how surreal the world of Almeria is, especially when instead of hearing songs of Cowboys in a Bar one hears Hondo Sevillana, which is the traditional music of Andalucia; while others may hear Castillano but not the type of that is spoken in Texas or Mexico, for instead one hears the strong Lisp Andaluz as well as the Gypsy Dialect of Iberia that is Callo. The town of Almeria is similar to those of Peru and the Andian highlands of Argentina, with the comedy of the town being that when Los Muchachos of Texas/Hollywood drive into the town they always crash into the makeshift wooden steps of this one old woman, and smash it to pieces while still driving away. This Western even has a full out Battle and a Shootout in between two rivals, when it also has Brothel Girls and a trek with the heroes being on Horseback and riding down the highway from Malaga, where the Grandfather is incarcerated at one time for theft. In the end, the Grandfather dies tragically and a funeral occurs where he is buried next to the makeshift wooden Church of Texas /Hollywood, in which all who loved him are at his funeral, as well as those who tolerated him but hated him; and one tall man is there whose face one does not see, but in the end one sees that it is to be someone as Clint himself, but it is a Spaniard actor who looks like him. I adore this Film and it is an amazing tribute to how and where those grand Westerns were made at Almeria.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Load Your Rifles
Buddy-5125 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
In the wry, quirky little comedy,"800 Bullets," a young boy named Carlos goes in search of his paternal grandfather, a former movie stuntman whose claim to fame is serving as Clint Eastwood's double in the heyday of the spaghetti western - a fact he has been trying to parlay into a lucrative career for well over thirty years now, long after the western -spaghetti or otherwise - disappeared as a viable genre. But, oh, how the might have fallen, for when Carlos arrives, he finds Julian barely eking out a living working at what is little more than a broken down tourist trap - a long-abandoned western set stuck out in the middle of the Spanish desert where he and a small band of likeminded misfits put on a tawdry gunslinger show for the few paying customers who happen to wander their way. Carlos is, of course, thrilled with what he finds there - a world right out of the past replete with hangman's noose and functioning brothel - but trouble begins when his mother, a real estate developer who holds Julian responsible for the death of her husband in a stunt accident years earlier, buys the place and threatens to bulldoze it to make way for a spanking new theme park she's planning to build. It is at this point that Julian chooses to make a stand, buying 800 real bullets, gathering together his forces, and turning the site into his own mini-Alamo where he gets to participate in his very own shootout on main street with real guns and real ammo.

"800 Bullets" is fun right up until the moment when the actual shooting starts, then it turns heavy-handed and silly, trotting out that old chestnut about how only a fine line separates reality from fantasy - or, more accurately in this case, real life from celluloid life - and how only truly eccentric people ever get to cross it. But Sancho Gracia gives a wonderful performance as the craggy old has-been determined to prove himself a hero to his adoring grandson. Moreover, the setting is novel, the concept original, and the execution lighthearted and fast paced. It's true that at 121 minutes the movie is longer than it needs to be, and the closing scenes smack of last minute desperation on the part of the screenwriter. But director Alex de la Iglesia conveys a real affection for the conventions and style of those pasta-filled westerns from thirty and forty years ago - an affection that many moviegoers past and present frankly share.

(One caveat, however: there is a scene in the film in which the young boy fondles a prostitute's breast that would probably be considered child pornography if it were made in the United States).
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Spaghetti Westerns in Almeria
jotix10013 February 2006
Alex de la Iglesia, not one of our favorite Spanish directors, seems to have great ideas for the movies he wants to do. The execution, though, is always problematic. Having said that, "800 balas" seems to be one of the most accessible pictures he has ever directed. Mr. de la Iglesia wanted to pay homage to that era of the sixties in which his country played host to the so called Spaghetti Western genre, which by the way, was an Italian phenomenon, not a Spanish one.

The film concentrates in the figure of Julian Torralba, who brags about his friendship with the great stars that participated in the many movies shot around Almeria. Torralba tells, anyone who will listen, about the days in which Clint Eastwood came to the area to work. His friends who take part in the show they put for tourists, don't believe a word he is saying.

The arrival of Torralba's grandson, a young boy from Madrid, is the event that turns around the action in that run down place where these Spanish pseudo-bandits stage their gun fights. In fact, the young boy, Carlos, brings Torralba to his senses and helps to reunite the old man with his estranged daughter Laura, who is Carlos' mother.

Sancho Gracia as Torralba has some good moments. The young Luis Castro is seen as the sweet boy searching for a grandfather he never knew. Carmen Maura, who has worked with the director before, doesn't have much to do in the film.
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Could Have Been A Little Grittier... But A Good Serio-Comedy...
hokeybutt9 July 2005
800 BULLETS (3 outta 5 stars) Interesting little comedy-drama from Spain about an old western movie set in Almeria, populated with aging and forgotten stuntmen who put on live western shows for tourists. The grandson of Julian, their leader (Sancho Gracia), sneaks off to visit... trying to find out something about his dead father who accidentally died on a movie set years ago. The boy's mother (Carmen Maura) realizes that the town is a perfect location to set up a fabulous vacation resort and buys the town, putting the stuntmen out of work and leaving them no recourse but to put real bullets in their guns and make a stand. Sancho Gracia really carries this movie on his shoulders, playing the guilt-ridden "star" of the show... the rumour is that his son died because of his negligence. I wish the movie had been a little more realistic at times... the other stuntmen (and women) of the town are played a little too comically... when the time comes for the real violence to happen they don't really make a believable transition to desperate gunmen. It also becomes a bit unbelievable when the bullets start flying and no one seems to get seriously hurt. Still, the movie has some fine moments and a few very strange ones... like the 12 year old boy in bed with a prostitute... you'd never see THAT in an American movie! Western fans will be amused at some of the references (verbal and musical) to the old "spaghetti westerns"... but the movie's visual style seems more akin to '50s Hollywood westerns. (As a side note, how cool would it have been to have the character portrayed in the last scene of the movie actually played by HIMSELF? I'd definitely have been on my feet cheering... )
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Too many bullets
boudu_sauve_des_eaux22 September 2003
The director Alex de la Iglesia found 'Texas, Hollywood', in the middle of Almeria, Spain and fell in love with the place where movies like 'Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo' , '100 rifles', 'Patton' or 'Lawrence of Arabia' were filmed.

The too silly script is just a pretext to show that forgotten place, and his inhabitants, people that remember seeing Raquel Welch changing her clothes in the backside of a taxi cab. The main role is played by a former stunt man. It gives the movie a nice touch. The movie is just the town, the nostalgia, some occasional good jokes and a bit of political incorrect attitude. 6/10
1 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Homage to spaghetti westerns could have been better
Andy-29614 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This homage to Spaghetti Westerns (those films made mostly in the 60s in Spain under Italian directors and actors using English names) could have been a bit better. Directed by Spanish director (and infant terrible) Alex de la Iglesia, it starts as the story of a boy who leaves his home in order to search his paternal grandfather, Julian (Spanish veteran actor Sancho Gracia), a former movie stuntman who worked in those westerns and whose main claim to fame is to having been Clint Eastwood's double in some of those movies (he even had speaking parts in some of those, he claims). Spaghetti westerns are long gone, but the grandfather still ekes out a living working as a stuntman in a decrepit theme park in southern Spain dedicated to the American West. However, as the park attracts few visitors, developers (including the boy's mother, played by Almodovar regular Carmen Maura) are planning to bulldoze the place and build a new park. Julian, who originally received his grandson reluctantly, decides to fight back among his coworkers, with 800 real bullets, and a real gunfight erupts. The movie is not bad, but it becomes less interesting at times, and it fails to hit the right tone. Best bit: "Clint Eastwood"'s cameo at the end. Note: the film contains a scene where the boy is fondled by a naked woman that would be considered illegal in most countries (I don't know how they did get away with that).
0 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed