Sergio Corbucci’s remake of his own film The Mercenary pairs spaghetti western stalwarts Franco Nero and Tomas Milian as an odd couple caught in the middle of the Mexican Revolution. Suave Swedish arms dealer Yodlaf Peterson (Nero) and trigger-happy bandit El Vasco (Milian) join forces to kidnap a professor (Fernando Rey) who knows the combination to a safe full of gold—a task made harder thanks to the entrance of Peterson’s embittered ex-business partner, a wooden-armed American (a scene-stealing Jack Palance). Featuring a remarkable score by genre maestro Ennio Morricone, Compañeros is a delirious, action-packed comedy enlivened by the antagonistic chemistry between Nero and Milian. Presented in the English-language version.
“At some point we got writer’s block, and after a few hours of procrastination, we went downstairs and played this. It’s raw, violent, and dirty, possibly inspired by the political climate at the time, from Cuba to Vietnam, dressed as a spaghetti western set in Mexico, shot in Spain. Wonderful. We got back to writing the following day.” —Kleber Mendonça Filho
“The rawness and truth of dirty and sweaty faces and bodies, the relationship between the poor population and their military leaders, demagogues, and oppressors. Brave characters of revolution or banditry surviving a series of tragic situations with humor and pragmatism. This could be a summary of many spaghetti westerns, but in the case of Compañeros, these features are very clear.” —Juliano Dornelles