Sergio Corbucci

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Sergio Corbucci (born December 6, 1927 in Rome , † December 1, 1990 there ) was an Italian film director . From 1951 to 1990 he made more than 60 films, following the changing currents of commercial Italian cinema .

Alongside Sergio Leone, Corbucci was one of the defining directors of the Spaghetti Western . From 1963 to 1975 he left a total of 13 works in this genre, including the genre classics Django and Leichen pave his way . In contrast to Leone's films, however, those of Corbucci are considered to vary greatly in terms of their quality.

life and work

Sergio Corbucci began his film career in 1948 as an assistant to Aldo Vergano and Enzo Trapani . He made his debut as a director in 1951 with Salvate mia figlia and initially shot mainly comedies, including with comedians that were so popular at the time as Totò or the duo Franco & Ciccio .

In 1959 he worked as a second-unit director on The Last Days of Pompeii , in which other later Spaghetti Western directors such as Sergio Leone, Duccio Tessari , Enzo Barboni and Franco Giraldi were involved in various functions. Together they dreamed of making westerns instead of monumental films in the barren Spanish landscape. In the early 1960s , Corbucci himself contributed to the wave of success of this genre with three Italian sandal films and discovered his talent for action-oriented films.

Corbucci's early westerns were influenced by American models. However, motifs of a new genre, the Spaghetti Western , were already found in Minnesota Clay (1964) , the beginning of which was heralded by the success of For a Handful of Dollars by Sergio Leone , which was produced almost at the same time . Leone and Corbucci were to become the defining directors of this genre. With Django (1966), Corbucci succeeded in becoming one of the most influential Spaghetti Westerns, who found innumerable imitators with his gloomy atmosphere, his black humor, his bizarre ideas (Django drags a coffin behind him on foot), his down-to-earth photography and his excessive, sometimes sadistic depictions of violence . The eponymous title character, played by Franco Nero , became one of the most famous characters of the Spaghetti Western as a cynical antihero. In Germany, many spaghetti westerns were then marketed under the Django label and dubbed accordingly.

While two hurriedly produced westerns turned out to be a step backwards, in 1968 Corbucci made two films with corpses paving his way and The feared two two films that are among the outstanding works of the spaghetti westerns. Corbucci's directorial virtuosity, which he had not yet consistently shown in Django , in combination with his socially critical (albeit ambivalent) attitude, and his willingness to play with audience expectations, brought both films high esteem with both genre fans and film critics.

Corbucci delivered two more, qualitatively above-average westerns, with Fahrt zur Hölunken (1969) and Zwei Companeros (1970), a variation of motifs from Il mercenario , which, however, no longer came close to the coherence of their predecessors and fell short of the possibilities of Director lagged behind. By increasingly replacing irony with slapstick and showing less interest in a stringent staging and well-thought-out story, they finally marked the beginning of Corbucci's creative decline, which would take place in the following years. His last western, Stetson - Three Scoundrels First Class (1975), was an attempt to parody the genre - despite the top-class cast, it was largely received negatively by the critics.

After the end of the spaghetti western boom in the 1970s, he mainly shot comedies, some of which, starring Bud Spencer and Terence Hill or Adriano Celentano , were great audiences in Italy, while most of them were barely known internationally. Slapstick films like The Supercop (1980) testify to the modesty of Corbucci at that time. His last directorial work was the Italian TV production Hazardous Encounters (1990), before he passed away that same year.

Sergio Leone described Corbucci as the most creative Italian director and believed that if he had implemented all his ideas, he would have become one of the greats. In his Western Lexicon, Joe Hembus wrote: “This director is not ambitious at any cost and knows that nothing is as troublesome as maintaining a good reputation. Francesco Rosi once said to him: 'Aren't you ashamed of making such bad films?' And Corbucci replied: 'Yes, I am ashamed, but when I go to the bank to pick up my money, I am no longer ashamed.' "

Pseudonyms under which Corbucci worked were Stanley Corbett and Gordon Wilson Jr. His younger brother Bruno wrote and directed a large number of mostly sophisticated comedies and other subjects.

Filmography (selection)


  • 1951: Salvate mia figlia
  • 1952: Island of Sin (La peccatrice dell'isola)
  • 1954: Brutal violence (Acque amare)
  • 1956: The great sin (Suprema confessione)
  • 1961: Toto, Peppino and the sweet life (Totò, Peppino e la dolce vita)
  • 1961: Maciste 's greatest adventure (Maciste contro il vampiro) (only some scenes)
  • 1961: Romulus and Remus (Romolo e Remo)
  • 1963: The son of Spartacus (Il figlio di Spartacus)
  • 1963: Il giorno più corto
  • 1963: Not a cent for Ringo's head (Massacro al Grande Canyon) (only some scenes)
  • 1964: Minnesota Clay (L'homme du Minnesota)
  • 1965: The Man with the Golden Blade (L'uomo che ride)
  • 1965: Ringo with the golden pistols (Johnny Oro)
  • 1966: Django (Django)
  • 1966: Bounty: One Dollar (Navajo Joe)
  • 1966: The Cruel (I crudeli)
  • 1967: Vanishing Point Acropolis (Bersaglio mobile)
  • 1968: corpses pave his way (Il grande silenzio)
  • 1968: The feared two ( Il mercenario , formerly Mercenario - the feared )
  • 1969: Drive to Hell, you scoundrels (Gli specialisti)
  • 1970: Two companeros (Vamos a matar, compañeros)
  • 1971: Big one, let the scraps fly (Er più - Storia d'amore e di coltello)
  • 1972: The red sun of vengeance (La banda JS - Cronaca criminale del Far West)
  • 1972: Pray, Amigo! (Che c'entriamo noi con la rivoluzione?)
  • 1974: The clever two (Il bestione)
  • 1975: Stetson - Three first class scoundrels (Il bianco, il giallo, il nero)
  • 1976: Bluff (Bluff storia di truffe e di imbroglioni)
  • 1976: Robinson Jr. (Il Signor Robinson, mostruosa storia d'amore e d'avventure)
  • 1978: Two cannot be stopped (Pari e dispari)
  • 1979: Corpses have to be celebrated as they fall (Giallo napoletano)
  • 1980: The Supercop (Poliziotto superpiù)
  • 1980: Cast off - we're drinking (Mi faccio la barca)
  • 1981: Two aces trump (Chi trova un amico, trova un tesoro)
  • 1982: The Count who can do everything (Il conte Tacchia)
  • 1983: Sing Sing
  • 1984: As you me, so I you (A tu per tu)
  • 1988: Bandelli's Alibi (I giorni del commissario Ambrosio)
  • 1990: Dangerous Encounters (Donne armate)



  • Michael Striss: Grace speaks God - Amen my Colt. Motifs, symbolism and religious references in the Spaghetti Western , Büchner-Verlag, Marburg 2018, 670 pages, ISBN 978-3-96317-123-9 .

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