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Sergio Corbucci’s spaghetti western masterpiece Django (1966) with Franco Nero is one of the coolest films ever and it launched countless non-related sequels and rip-offs between 1966 and 1976. They just put ‘Django’ in the title because the original was so popular. But there were some really good ones, and below are my Top 10 favorite Italian Django sequels.
1. Django Kill… If You Live, Shoot!
Tomas Milian plays a badass Mexican called The Stranger (not Django!) who steals a cargo of gold from a stagecoach with his gang of outlaws. One of the bandits betrays the group and kills everybody, but Stranger survives and crawls his way out of his grave in true zombie style. Time for revenge! Django Kill… If You Live, Shoot! is a different kind of western. There are no clichés and the tone of the film is kind of dreamlike. It gets particularly psychedelic when The Stranger arrives in a mysterious city known by the local indian tribes as The Unhappy Place. I won’t reveal too much of what happens there, because I think this is a movie you should just watch without knowing too much about it. Just let it roll over you like a warm breeze. Great film and one of the most violent westerns ever. Some scenes are so brutal that the film sometimes resembles a gory video nasty.
Django Kill… If You Live, Shoot! (“Se sei vivo spara”) Year: 1967 Country: Italy Director: Giulio Questi Starring: Tomas Milian
2. Viva Django (aka. Django Sees Red)
This time Django is played by Terence Hill of the Trinity films and it’s the one of the many unofficial sequels that resemble the original the most. Terence Hill even looks like Franco Nero - the original Django. Hill made many comedies with his good friend Bud Spencer, but he isn’t a comic character here at all, and this is not a comedy. This is Terence Hill at his most serious. Viva Django begins with our hero working as an executioner (he hangs people!) in a small town. Then one day his wife is murdered by his friend: a rotten politician called Lucas. So Django loads his guns and rides off to take bloody revenge. If you like pasta and Terence Hill (of course you do), this is a must-see. George Eastman is great as the villain and the intro song is quite catchy.
Viva Django (“Preparati la bara!”) Release year: 1968 Country: Italy Director: Ferdinando Baldi Starring: Terence Hill, George Eastman
3. A Noose For Django (aka. No Room To Die / Hanging For Django)
Guess what? Django isn’t in this movie either. The hero’s name is Johnny and the bad guy is a slave trader. Johnny, of course, can’t stand slave traders, so he decides to kill him. Which leads to a The Good, the Bad and the Ugly climax. A Noose For Django is a well-made film with lots of action. It’s perhaps director Sergio Garrone’s best film (he is mostly known for twisted nazisploitation movies), certainly the best I’ve seen so far. Anthony Steffen is one of my favorite actors in the spaghetti western genre and he’s a great Django (or Johnny…), but it’s William Berger who steals the show. He plays Sartana. Two iconic characters in one film, how cool is that?! Berger dresses like a preacher, carries a gun with 7 barrels and does his best role since ‘Banjo’ in Sabata.
A Noose For Django (“Una lunga fila di croci”) Release year: 1969 Country: Italy Director: Sergio Garrone Starring: Anthony Steffen, William Berger
4. 10,000 Dollars Blood Money
This is a rare rip-off directed by the guy who made Johnny Yuma (1966), and Gianni “Sartana” Garko stars as Django. He is a bounty hunter this time, and he’s searching for a sweaty Mexican Gian-Maria-Volente-lookalike called Manuel, who has kidnapped a girl with Stockholm syndrome. When Django finally finds Manuel, he decides to join his gang for a robbery. Our hero, ladies and gentlemen. Then comes the day when Manuel kills his girlfriend. And you know what that means… r e v e n g e ! 10,000 Dollars Blood Money is one of the first unofficial Django-sequels, and Gianni Garko is so new to the game here that he goes by the name Gary Hudson. But he doesn’t seem like a green newcomer at all. It’s as if he was born to play tough guy roles in spaghetti westerns like this. Another excellent film, quick zooms and a score with Ennio Morricone influence.
10,000 Dollars Blood Money (“10,000 dollari per un massacro”) Release year: 1966 Country: Italy Director: Romolo Guerriri Starring: Gianni Garko
5. One Damned Day At Dawn Django Meets Sartana
One damned day at dawn I stumbled upon this film and I just had to see it. You see, I’m weak for cool titles, and the film was great. Like A Noose For Django it decided to cash in on not one but two successful names in the spaghetti western genre; Django and Sartana. Django (played by Hunt Powers) and Sartana (an unrecognizable Fabio Testi) team up to satisfy their male desires to smash and kill by gunning down a ruthless gang of criminals lead by Bud Willerin in Black City. Meanwhile, Django is out to avenge his dead wife as usual, and Sartana has (believe it or not) become a sheriff. Not a very impressive plot, but you know what? The film is terrific. It has desert style scenery, close ups, gunplay and cool music - and Hunt Powers is amazing.
One Damned Day At Dawn Django Meets Sartana (“Quel maledetto giorno d'inverno… Django e Sartana all'ultimo sangue”) Release year: 1970 Country: Italy Director: Demofilo Fidani Starring: Hunt Powers, Fabio Testi
6. Some Dollars For Django
In this unfairly overlooked film, Django takes the star off a sheriff and kills bad guys with an infinite supply of bullets in the name of the law. Some Dollars For Django wasn’t made for people who are on a cinematic salad diet and prefer depressing art films about french guys who talk about fish. It’s a rough around the edges, hardass film, and the presence of spaghetti western icons Frank Wolff and Anthony Steffen give the movie an A-grade feel. Good stuff.
Some Dollars For Django (“Pochi dollari per Django”) Release year: 1966 Country: Italy Director: León Klimovsky, Enzo G. Castellari (uncredited) Starring: Anthony Steffen, Frank Wolff
7. A Man Called Django (aka. Viva! Django)
Django is back and this time he’s really pissed off. He’s on the trail of the scumbags who raped and killed his wife. Revenge is sworn and he teams up with a horse thief who knows the killers. Their relationship is reminiscent of Blondie and Tuco from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and together they set off to capture the killers. In other words, Django does what he does best - shoots the living crap out of everyone in his trail. He likes to shoot people. He is the hero of the film afterall. Anthony Steffen is very good here and I really enjoyed this film. A Man Called Django is low-budget, but well-made, and it’s better than the average spaghetti western. Funny at times but mostly a gritty action movie. Good stuff and a must-see for genre fans.
A Man Called Django (“W Django”) Year: 1971 Country: Italy Director: Edoardo Mulargia Starring: Anthony Steffen
8. Halleluja For Django
A gang of outlaws and a monk (!) rob a bank, but the monk turns out to be a total prick. He has his own evil plans and kills the sheriff. The sheriff’s brother, who is in prison, is told that his dear brother has been murdered. So he does what we all would have done in that situation; Breaks out of jail and sets off to kill the shit out of the villainous evildoers. Halleluja For Django is a fast moving film with a gritty atmosphere, nice landscapes and an excellent score. George Hilton is a cool hero (Billy, not Django), spaghetti western regular Hunt Powers is great as “monk” and the insanely hot euro starlet Erika Blanc plays a saloon girl. Good film.
Halleluja For Django (“La più grande rapina del west”) Release year: 1967 Country: Italy Director: Maurizio Lucidi Starring: George Hilton, Hunt Powers
9. Django The Bastard (aka. The Stranger’s Gundown)
The Stranger (Anthony Steffen - again!) is shot down by soldiers and left for dead. But some years later he returns, more grumpy than ever and shows them what a badass he is. And like Clint Eastwood’s High Plains Drifter, he seems like a demon from hell. It’s actually rumoured that Django The Bastard was the inspiration for High Plains Drifter, and the two films have a bunch of similarities. It’s not as good as Clint’s epic film, but it’s entertaining enough and Anthony Steffen speaks between his teeth and even wears a poncho. But he’s not just an Eastwood lookalike. There’s something original about him - a sort of gothic aura à la Bela Lugosi. Cool guy. Speaking of cool guys, I have to mention the villain: Luciano Rossi plays one of the most twisted bad guys I’ve had the pleasure of seeing in a long time. He looks like The Joker, and the director must have said bad stuff about his mother or something, because it looks like the lunatic is about to explode of anger in every scene. He is a bit annoying though, but you’ll never forget his monkey-like behavior. Sure, the film isn’t great, but definitely worth a look. It’s directed by Sergio Garrone (A Noose For Django).
Django The Bastard (“Django il bastardo”) Release year: 1974 Country: Italy Director: Sergio Garrone Starring: Anthony Steffen
10. Don’t Wait, Django… Shoot!
Number 10 is one of many cheapie spaghetti westerns by Eduardo Mulargio (El Puro). I liked it. Ivan “Deep River” Rassimov plays Django, and this time we find out that Django’s surname is Foster. The blue-eyed gunfighter returns home to find out that his father has been killed and robbed by a villain with a greasy face and bad teeth. Understandably pissed, Django sets off to take revenge with no emotion on his face whatsoever. That’s the end of the plot and more or less the start of the film. Cue several pointless characters who are searching for a pouch of money. A bit clichéd, but Don’t Wait, Django… Shoot! has it’s moments. Perhaps too many characters in the film, making it a bit difficult to follow, but I found it very enjoyable. Ivan Rassimov is always cool to watch, and his sister, Rada Rassimov, also has a supporting role.
Let’s take a moment to appreciate one of the “best” bad movies out there… Revenge of the Living Zombies (a.k.a. Flesheater, a.k.a. Zombie Nosh). I loved this movie when I was a teenager and still enjoy it today. It’s like comfort food at this point.
PS. If I knew how to make animated gifs, I would totally make one of Bill Hinzman biting the kid in the angel costume. That would be classic!