Franco Nero

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Franco Nero in February 2016 at the Lambertz Monday Night
Franco Nero, 2008

Franco Nero (* 23. November 1941 as Francesco Sparanero in San Prospero in Modena ) is an Italian actor , who especially with his representation of FIG Django in spaghetti westerns famous nationally. He also took part in various films about the Italian mafia and played the role of the public prosecutor in numerous police films in the 1970s. He is also one of the few western actors who were hired for film productions in the then Eastern Bloc countries . He has worked under many well-known directors and has played in over 200 productions.

life and work

The son of a policeman was born as Francesco Sparanero in San Prospero, a small municipality in the province of Modena , part of the Emilia-Romagna region. He then spent his childhood in Parma , where he discovered his passion for the theater stage and acting as a teenager. He organized school performances and later directed an amateur theater as a military service before going to Milan to begin a degree in economics , which he financed as a nightclub singer but never finished. Sparanero later worked as an accountant in Milan, although his love was still for film.

During a visit to the Roman Cinecittà studios, he met the directors Carlo Lizzani , Antonio Pietrangeli and John Huston , who encouraged him in his acting ambitions and later offered him his first film roles. However, he made his film debut in 1963 in Alfredo Gianetti's film The Borrowed Girl . He made his breakthrough in 1966 in the role of the "ice cold and lonely avenger" Django in Sergio Corbucci 's film of the same name. His portrayal made him known internationally; Countless film offers followed. With Sergio Corbucci he shot the spaghetti westerns Mercenario - The Feared (The Feared Two) and Zwei Companeros (Let's kill, Companeros) . In order to escape the genre of the spaghetti westerns and to become a recognized actor, he also worked in science fiction films, dramas and comedies.

"[...] I had to make a decision. I could be a star and maybe make a lot of money, or I could keep switching roles and have a more interesting - and longer - career. "

- The Globe and Mail , Toronto, November 12, 1982

For his portrayal of Lancelot du Lac in the movie version of the Broadway - musicals Camelot beside his later longtime girlfriend Vanessa Redgrave Nero received a Golden Globe nomination as best young actor .

In Italy, it is primarily through films about the Mafia by Damiano Damiani known. For example, Nero starred in The Clan That Walled Up Its Enemies Alive , The case has been set: Forget it, The day of the owl / Don Mariano knows nothing and The terror directs / Why did prosecutor Traini have to die? With. In these films, Nero always plays a northern Italian who is surprised to see how far Sicilian society has been infiltrated by the mafia. In the films of Pasquale Squitieri The Denouncer and The Revenge of the Camorra / Law of the Outlaws this issue is also addressed.

He often referred to Enzo G. Castellari as his favorite director , with whom he did not shoot the films A Citizen Defends himself, The Return of the Cobra, Jungle Django, Keoma and the highly acclaimed Dead Witnesses sing .

He also gained fame through the cinematic shooting of Mussolini in the film Mussolini - The Last Days by Carlo Lizzani and his participation in Lucio Fulci's film adaptation of Jack London - the novel Wolfsblut . In addition to his role as a sadistic officer in Marco Bellocchio's military drama Triumphmarsch - Il capitano the sadist , Nero's collaborations with Rainer Werner Fassbinder in Querelle - A Pact with the Devil and Kamikaze 1989 are of particular interest. At the side of Catherine Deneuve , Nero starred in Luis Buñuel's Oscar-winning film Tristana .

Nero is one of the few actors from a western country who has been able to act in a wide variety of prestige film projects in former communist countries. For example, Nero played Mexico in Flames and 10 Days that Shook the World in Sergei Bondarchuk's films and the hero Banović Strahinja in the Serbian national epic The Black Falcon . His roles as a terrorist at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich in the film Die 21 Stunden von München, as well as his role as a sadistic husband in the drama If you Krepierst, I live , which has influenced numerous American film productions to this day , also attracted attention .

From 1967 to 1972 Nero was in a relationship with British actress Vanessa Redgrave, and they have been married since December 2006. They have their son Carlo Gabriel Nero (* 1969).

Nero recorded the title Insciallah - Peace in the World for UNICEF with the Italian singer Roby Vandalo in 1991 . Jamaican reggae producer Joe Gibbs recorded a track called Franco Nero .

In 2017 he was accepted into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), which awards the Oscars every year.

Filmography (selection)


Television productions


  • 1985: Cambierà, with his son Carlo Sparanero
  • 1991: Insciallah - Peace in the World, with Roby Vandalo for Unicef



  • Michael Striss: Grace speaks God - Amen my Colt. Motifs, symbolism and religious references in the Spaghetti Western. Büchner-Verlag, Marburg 2018, ISBN 978-3-96317-123-9 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b ( Memento from August 23, 2003 in the Internet Archive ), April 3, 2003
  3. ^ Franco Nero. In: IMDb . Retrieved on September 23, 2010 (English): “Original: […] I had to make a choice. I could be a star and maybe make lots of money, or I could change roles all the time and have a more interesting - and longer - career. "
  4. ( Memento from September 30, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) November 22, 2006
  5. of 2017 ". accessed on June 30, 2017.