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Part of the seriesSPAGHETTI WESTERNS

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(1967, Giulio Petroni) John Phillip Law goes after the gang that massacred his family. But fresh-from-the-pen Lee Van Cleef wants the same bunch — for the money, not the revenge. Tarantino “homaged” the opening massacre in Kill Bill.
Music by Ennio Morricone



“Replete with baroque torture and acid flashbacks...unfolds in a starkly primitive world — if not a desert on the planet Mars.”
– J. Hoberman

“Though Giulio Petroni directed it, Death Rides a Horse feels to me like the work of a different auteur – it is Luciano Vincenzoni’s film. Vincenzoni had already written one great tale of revenge and shifting allegiances, Few A Dollars More, plus a more complex saga of interpersonal treachery, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly… As it stars Lee Van Cleef as an ageing gunfighter; uses the same red-tinted flashbacks to link avenger and murderers; and revolves around jailbreaks and a bank robbery, Death Rides A Horse invites comparison with For A Few Dollars More. It survives this. Death Rides A Horse is a lighter-weight variant on Vincenzoni's earlier script: unapologetic, entirely successful on its own terms… Vincenzoni refers not only to his own scripts, but some classic Westerns: Raoul Walsh’s Pursued (the massacre and flashback set-up), The Magnificent Seven (the marshalling of the townspeople by the villains, in anticipation of the heroes’ deaths), and Fistful of Dollars, with Van Cleef – dressed in a serape and leading a mule – walking into the outlaws’ lair. There’s even a nod to Robert Aldrich’s dark nuclear thriller Kiss Me, Deadly... Petroni’s direction is fast-paced and his action scenes are excellent.”
– Alex Cox