Movie Details
Recommendation

A Bullet for the General (1966)

 
 
 

A Stranger on a Train

Gian Maria Volonté in A Bullet for the General (1966)

El Chuncho (Gian Maria Volonté) and his gang of Mexican bandits are behind the various theft of guns and ammunition as they sell them on to General Elias (Jaime Fernández) a Mexican revolutionary leader. It is during one of the gang's robberies of a train that they find themselves being assisted by Bill Tate (Klaus Kinski) an educated American passenger who ends up joining forces with El Chuncho and leading them to steal a machine gun. But is all as it seems especially when eventually El Chuncho takes Tate and the gang to meet the General.

I have said many times over the years that my interest in movies is predominantly from an entertainment point of view which is most definitely case when it comes to westerns. As such when a copy of "A Bullet for the General" fell into my hands a little while back I was not sure whether it would be for me because 90% of opinions you will read on it talk about it being a movie about politics and that frankly is off putting. Having finally bitten the bullet and watched it I will say that yes there is a clear political subtext for those looking for more from their movies but it equally works as a spaghetti western even if director Damiano Damiani objected to it being called a western of any sorts.

Here is the thing, as a spaghetti western it has plenty of the elements which you expect from the genre, the characters, the low camera angles, the close ups and of course the soundtrack. But behind it all is an ordinary story as we watch this mysterious stranger on the train ingratiate himself with El Chuncho and his bandits only for there to eventually be a twist. Don't get me wrong as the storyline is entertaining, the action is good and the Spaghetti Western elements are solid but as a western it has a certain familiarity to it.

What this all boils down to is that "A Bullet for the General" as purely a western is entertaining but not special. But for those who like movies with a deeper context the political subtext lifts it to be something more.

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