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A Reason to Live, a Reason to Die (1972)

Una ragione per vivere e una per morire (original title)
PG | | Western | 6 August 1973 (Spain)
Branded a coward for surrendering his New Mexico fort to the Confederates without firing a shot, a Union colonel attempts to redeem himself by leading a band of condemned prisoners on a suicide mission to recapture it.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Colonello Pembroke
...
Maggiore Ward
...
Eli Sampson
Georges Géret ...
Sergente Spike
Reinhard Kolldehoff ...
Sergente Brent (as Rene Kolldehoff)
Guy Mairesse ...
Donald MacIvers
José Suárez ...
maggiore Charles Ballard (as Jose Suarez)
Ugo Fangareggi ...
Fred
Benito Stefanelli ...
Samuel Pickett un ex condannato
Adolfo Lastretti ...
Will Fernandez / Will Culder (as Guy Ranson)
Fabrizio Moresco ...
Ward's Assistant
Francisco Sanz ...
Farmer (as Paco Sanz)
Carla Mancini
Joe Pollini ...
Jeremy
Mario Pardo ...
Roger, Farmer's Son
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Storyline

A dishonoured army officer saves the lives of some hardened criminals on condition that they help him regain his honour. Will they live up to his expectations? Written by Hector Farrugia <hector.farrugia@magnet.mt>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

recapture | mission | fort | officer | army | See All (42) »

Taglines:

A handful of condemned men on an impossible mission, against hopeless odds...

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

| | |

Language:

Release Date:

6 August 1973 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

A Reason to Live, a Reason to Die  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(1973) (theatrical) | (Northern Countries PAL DVD) | (original uncut)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The homestead encountered when the group leave the train (at 43 minutes) is the same as the McBain homestead in One Upon A Time In The West (1968) See more »

Goofs

The film is set in 1862 but features Gatling guns that, presumably, formed part of the fort's arsenal when it was in Union hands.The gun was designed by Dr Richard J Gatling in 1861 and patented on November 4, 1862. Though two examples were employed near Petersburg and eight fitted on gunboats, it was not accepted by the American Army until 1866. So it's most improbable that it would have been available in a remote theatre of the Civil War. See more »

Connections

Featured in Inner Movie (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"I killed, the first time in my life".
16 June 2013 | by (the Mad Hatter's tea party.) – See all my reviews

The spaghetti western sub-genre might have grown rancid by this period, but there are no doubts their titles were striking and creative, when which said simply rolled of your tongue. Tell me that this title isn't a lyrical joy. No stranger to the sub-genre with "My Name is Nobody" and "Day of Anger", director Tonino Valerii's 'A Reason to Live, A Reason to Die!" would be a hardy old-fashion western variation of "The Dirty Dozen". While it might be only half of that film, its remains an amusing fare thanks largely to the three central performances of Bud Spencer, James Coburn and Telly Savalas. The latter might not make an appearance until the hour mark, but it's the combination between the buoyant Spencer and low-key Coburn which drives it. The humour seems to come off thanks to Spencer timing and presence. Even though the greying Coburn and swaggering Savalas get top billing, it's Spencer who's really the star.

Like most films of this ilk, it's systematic with its staples as the theme of vengeance and redemption looms prominently. There's no real change of route, as it keeps it gritty and the straight-forward narrative never loses focuses, especially that of the character's motivations with it to throw up a sudden revelation (which my DVD synopsis' spoiled). The expandable characters are clichés, but workable as they serve their purpose with it ending on a bang. It actually starts with the end, to only retell the story from Spencer's character's point of view. This gives it like a mythical tale-like quality. It's well shot with a commendable music score. Valerii does a serviceable job behind the camera letting it move at a fair pace while constructing few intense scenes and cracking action sequences, like the delirious climatic showdown at the hillside forte (with it vivid locations), which had me thinking of "The Wild Bunch" (in which case Coburn would star in Peckinpah's "Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid" the following year), but in the end you feel like there just wasn't enough going on. Some moments should have been much stronger than they were, like the personal battle between Coburn and Savalas.

Contrived, but tough and dirty entertainment.


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