The Five Man Army


1h 47m 1970
The Five Man Army

Brief Synopsis

Gunmen join forces to rob a dictator's gold shipment.

Photos & Videos

The Five Man Army - Movie Poster

Film Details

Also Known As
Un esercito di 5 uomini
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Adventure
Western
Release Date
Feb 1970
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Tiger Film
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Country
Italy

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 47m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Metrocolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

Synopsis

Outlaw Luiz Dominguez travels to Texas to hire three men to help his boss, the Dutchman, steal a shipment of gold in Mexico. The three--Mesito, a Mexican of great strength; Augustus, a dynamite expert; and Samurai, a Japanese knifethrower--go to the Mexican city of Morales and rescue revolutionary Manuel Estaban from an army firing squad. Gutierrez, an ambitious and sadistic officer, captures and tortures the men, but they refuse to speak of the gold. Later, the outlaws manage to escape after destroying an ammunition dump. Using Estaban's knowledge of the train's timetable, the Dutchman and his accomplices capture the train and unhook the car containing the gold. They argue over the division of the gold until the arrival of a Mexican patrol, which the outlaws unite to defeat; the debate resumes, and the Dutchman insists that all of the gold go to the Mexican revolutionaries. At this point, Estaban and a group of revolutionaries take the gold and settle the argument.

Photo Collections

The Five Man Army - Movie Poster
The Five Man Army - Movie Poster

Film Details

Also Known As
Un esercito di 5 uomini
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Adventure
Western
Release Date
Feb 1970
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Tiger Film
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Country
Italy

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 47m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Metrocolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

Articles

The Five Man Army


Imagine a cross between a Western heist film like The Badlanders (1958) and an "assemble the team" action thriller like The Magnificent Seven (1960) and you've got a pretty good idea of what to expect in The Five Man Army (1970), a spaghetti Western set during the Mexican Revolution of 1914. Heading an international cast, Peter Graves, of TV's Mission: Impossible, plays The Dutchman, the mastermind behind an attack on a Mexican army train carrying $500,000 in gold and a regiment of armed guards. Joining him on what could prove to be a suicide mission are Augustus (James Daly), a professional gambler and former compatriot; Luiz (Nino Castelnuovo), a revolutionary; Mesito (Bud Spencer), a farmhand whose main attribute is brute strength, and a samurai (Tetsuro Tamba) with a talent for knife-throwing.

The Five Man Army might pale in comparison to a larger budget Western like The Magnificent Seven but it has an oddball charm which is helped immensely by Ennio Morricone's staccato score and some unpredictable plot detours along the way. For instance, where else can you see an enactment of a train robbery done with tacos? The scene in question has The Dutchman using his lunch to demonstrate how he plans to pull off his grand caper. Luckily, he's able to do this before Mesito eats everything in sight. The latter is usually seen chewing on a giant chunk of roasted meat or downing whole jugs of wine. But besides the eccentric humor, there's plenty of body-crunching stunts, rapid gunplay, a genuinely striking credit sequence which utilizes real photographs from the Mexican Revolution, and an ending which seems to be headed in the same direction as The Wild Bunch before throwing you a surprise curve.

Although former actor Don Taylor gets a screen credit as the director of The Five Man Army, there is a conflicting account which claims the film was finished by its screenwriter, Dario Argento, when Taylor returned to the United States sooner than expected to start work on a television project. Argento, of course, is well known to horror film buffs as the man behind such landmark Italian giallos as Deep Red (1975) and Suspiria (1977). Another account claims the film was really directed by producer Italo Zingarelli, supposedly a pseudonym for Giulio Questi, the talented director of Death Laid an Egg (1967) aka Plucked!, a wild psychological thriller starring Jean-Pierre Trintignant and Gina Lollobrigida. Regardless of who really directed The Five Man Army, fans of spaghetti Westerns will find much to enjoy here.

Producer: Italo Zingarelli
Director: Don Taylor
Screenplay: Dario Argento
Production Design: Ennio Michettoni
Cinematography: Enzo Barboni
Costume Design: Enzo Bulgarelli, Luciano Sagoni
Film Editing: Sergio Montanari
Original Music: Ennio Morricone
Cast: Peter Graves (Dutchman), James Daly (Augustus), Bud Spencer (Mesito), Nino Castelnuovo (Luis Dominguez), Tetsuro Tamba (Samurai), Giacomo Rossi-Stuart (Mexican Officer).
C-107m. Letterboxed.

by Jeff Stafford
The Five Man Army

The Five Man Army

Imagine a cross between a Western heist film like The Badlanders (1958) and an "assemble the team" action thriller like The Magnificent Seven (1960) and you've got a pretty good idea of what to expect in The Five Man Army (1970), a spaghetti Western set during the Mexican Revolution of 1914. Heading an international cast, Peter Graves, of TV's Mission: Impossible, plays The Dutchman, the mastermind behind an attack on a Mexican army train carrying $500,000 in gold and a regiment of armed guards. Joining him on what could prove to be a suicide mission are Augustus (James Daly), a professional gambler and former compatriot; Luiz (Nino Castelnuovo), a revolutionary; Mesito (Bud Spencer), a farmhand whose main attribute is brute strength, and a samurai (Tetsuro Tamba) with a talent for knife-throwing. The Five Man Army might pale in comparison to a larger budget Western like The Magnificent Seven but it has an oddball charm which is helped immensely by Ennio Morricone's staccato score and some unpredictable plot detours along the way. For instance, where else can you see an enactment of a train robbery done with tacos? The scene in question has The Dutchman using his lunch to demonstrate how he plans to pull off his grand caper. Luckily, he's able to do this before Mesito eats everything in sight. The latter is usually seen chewing on a giant chunk of roasted meat or downing whole jugs of wine. But besides the eccentric humor, there's plenty of body-crunching stunts, rapid gunplay, a genuinely striking credit sequence which utilizes real photographs from the Mexican Revolution, and an ending which seems to be headed in the same direction as The Wild Bunch before throwing you a surprise curve. Although former actor Don Taylor gets a screen credit as the director of The Five Man Army, there is a conflicting account which claims the film was finished by its screenwriter, Dario Argento, when Taylor returned to the United States sooner than expected to start work on a television project. Argento, of course, is well known to horror film buffs as the man behind such landmark Italian giallos as Deep Red (1975) and Suspiria (1977). Another account claims the film was really directed by producer Italo Zingarelli, supposedly a pseudonym for Giulio Questi, the talented director of Death Laid an Egg (1967) aka Plucked!, a wild psychological thriller starring Jean-Pierre Trintignant and Gina Lollobrigida. Regardless of who really directed The Five Man Army, fans of spaghetti Westerns will find much to enjoy here. Producer: Italo Zingarelli Director: Don Taylor Screenplay: Dario Argento Production Design: Ennio Michettoni Cinematography: Enzo Barboni Costume Design: Enzo Bulgarelli, Luciano Sagoni Film Editing: Sergio Montanari Original Music: Ennio Morricone Cast: Peter Graves (Dutchman), James Daly (Augustus), Bud Spencer (Mesito), Nino Castelnuovo (Luis Dominguez), Tetsuro Tamba (Samurai), Giacomo Rossi-Stuart (Mexican Officer). C-107m. Letterboxed. by Jeff Stafford

Quotes

Trivia

Partially shot on "Once Upon A Time in the West" location (the railroad and the farmhouse).

Notes

Location scenes filmed in Spain. Released in Italy in 1969 as Un esercito di 5 uomini. Zingarelli is credited as producer and director in Italian sources. Jack Stuart is a pseudonym for Giacomo Rossi Stuart, Bud Spencer for Carlo Pedersoli. Sources conflict in crediting actor who plays the carnival barker.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Spring March 1970

dubbed

Released in United States Spring March 1970