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A Bullet for the General

4.2 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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(Dec 18, 2001)
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

At the height of the Mexican revolution, a mysterious young American (Lou Castel of Fist in His Pocket) joins a gang of marauders led by El Chucho (Gian Maria Volonte of A Fistful of Dollars) on a series of savage raids to steal guns for a powerful rebel general. But when the Gringo brings his own cold-blooded ideals to the bandits, El Chucho discovers that the real weapons of war belong to no army. In a land ravaged by poverty and violence, can true freedom be bought with a single bullet?
Klaus Kinski (For a Few Dollars More) and Martine Beswick (Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde, Thunderball) co-star in this legendary western directed by Damiano Damiani from a powerful screenplay co-written by Oscar nominee Franco Solinas (The Battle of Algiers, The Big Gundown). Also known as Quien Sabe?, this thrilling epic features some of the most surprising performances radical politics and shocking violence of an "Spaghetti Western" ever made.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Gian Maria Volontè, Klaus Kinski, Martine Beswick, Lou Castel, Jaime Fernández
  • Directors: Damiano Damiani
  • Writers: Franco Solinas, Salvatore Laurani
  • Producers: Bianco Manini
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: December 18, 2001
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000059PPR
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #247,796 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Bullet for the General" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Scott on May 18, 2012
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Blue Underground's disc contains both the US and the 3-minute longer International versions of the film A Bullet for the General. These are separate 1080P transfers and NOT seamlessly branched - sharing the same Blu-ray disc. There may be some very slight differences in the image quality between the two versions but it won't be a lot - if any at all. I've made a couple of comparison captures below. The transfer seems a little inconsistent with some sequences showing that nice sheen of grain we often see with Blue Underground but there are a few spots that look waxy - as if DNR were the culprit. This wasn't at all egregious and I'd say that overall the visuals are extremely impressive with great detail in close-ups and depth being displayed. Colors are bright with true skin tones. The 2.35:1 widescreen is used in a slick fashion and the the video comes across pleasing throughout most of the presentation.The US version offers a healthy DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1906 kbps that is comparable to the DUB on the International version that also has the option of lossless Italian at equally as robust a transfer. Gunshots are piercing and the aggressive pats of the soundtrack seems easily handled by the uncompressed audio. The flatness is expected. We have an original score by Luis Bacalov and the iconic Ennio Morricone that supports the 'Spaghetti' aspects very well. There are optional subtitles - both English (SDH) and English - for the Italian version - as well as French and Spanish. Region Free too.

Extras :

There isn't much more on the Blu-ray disc which is fairly filled with the two films but we still get a A Bullet for the Director - Interview with Director Damiano Damiani running 50 minutes in Italian with English subtitles, plus some trailers and a stills and poster gallery.
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By A Customer on November 15, 2001
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
anyone who has seen For a few dollars more knows that the partnership of kinski-volonte is potentially explosive, unfortunately while volonte is hypnotic kinski suffers from a small part and poor dubbing. However Kinski goes further than his For few dollar performance, this time totally taking on the mantle of religious icon, shouting 'in the name of the father' whilst throwing grenades and dressing in messianic fashion (perhaps the producers had seen his infamous 'jesus tour' where he proclaimed himself christ only to have abuse hurled at him from the audience and more worryingly because he perhaps believed it: see 'my best fiend'). It is a shame so few volonte films are available in the US and britain (investigation of a citizen above suspicion for one)
the overtly political screenplay is by franco solinas, rare for so good a writer to be employed on a spaghetti western, rather than extreme violence this film is a thoughtful meditation on themes both political and personal, concerning friendship is very touching though the film makes sure where it stands on the issue of politics and friendship conflicting with the end. the film as a whole carries surprisingly heavy emotional weight.
The best of damiano damiani's mise en scene is breathtaking and in this dvd version the photography is finally appreciable . With morricone involved in the music (though not writing it,luis enrique bacalov using some of his score from django, himself a fine composer for film)there is a lot of audio fun to be had with this film too.
There is a wonderful ending and a casualness that reminds me of films like the roaring twenties, when volonte shoots a comrade for threatening the life of his new friend a subordinate asks him 'but why? guapo was your friend too?' volonte replies 'eh, guapo is no more'.
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Format: DVD
Following with the unlikely alliance of an opportunistic American (Lou Castel) and a Mexican bandit (Gian Maria Volonte) who sells arms to the rebels, the first half hour or so of Damiano Damiani's cult classic is more than a bit ropey. The director has difficulty establishing the relationship between the two leads and resorts to a succession of shoot-em-ups. Thankfully, these are better handled than the drawn out opening attack on the train carrying Castel's enigmatic gringo, in which too many of the ideas are in the script and too few in the execution.

If the first half is the usual running with the rebels territory, the film becomes more complex as it progresses. It is clear from the beginning that the gringo is working to his own agenda, and throughout the course of the film he steers the group towards it. Not interested in women, he professes to be interested only in money, yet at one point kills a rebel paymaster and throws away his cash. Yet even after his objective and the bandito's part in it become clear, the film manages to take the characters even further in an intriguing epilogue.

Both may be mercenary, but finally choose their own executioners, although in very different ways. Castel inadvertently because, despite ruthlessly killing those on both sides to achieve his end, he is ultimately not ruthless enough, Volonte voluntarily, passing judgement on himself when he realises the consequences of his actions.

Castel is a fairly anonymous lead as the 'ugly American', a potential flaw which the director manages to turn to the film's advantage. A moral void, he has no ideals and no scruples but is instead a remorseless pragmatist.
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