A Bullet for the General / ¿Quién sabe? (Damiano Damiani, 1966)

Just to add some further info on the two English dubs: the longer cut (or ‘International Version’) (113min PAL) was submitted to the BBFC for classification in 1968. Whether this version was ever shown theatrically in the UK is unknown; but it was released on VHS (in widescreen) in 1993, with Alex Cox’s ‘Moviedrome’ introduction from 1990 printed in full on the back. The only version specific to the UK is a heavily truncated 77mins theatrical cut rated X (c.1969).

The other English dub was produced at some unspecified date and prepared solely for the US market. However the voice acting is not the primary reason to avoid this version.

This version has a different and equally unnecessary voiceover; it also abruptly cuts the magnificent opening at Baza station. Damiano Damiani’s cameo is cut completely. This scene is longer in the original Italian theatrical version and accounts for the 3min disparity in runtime with the ‘International Version’. Some short lines of Spanish dialogue are needlessly translated into English, including the key line ¿quién sabe? (incorrectly too) at the finale.


They are screening it at the festival, but it is not super clear if that means there is a new restoration


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The UK theatrical version ran only 77m. These cuts were made by the distributor post BBFC screening as was usually the case, The best source for actual UK cinema running times up until its discontinuance in the 1990s (I think) is the Monthly Film Bulletin, a monthly magazine produced by the British Film Institute.

The UK theatrical version had an A (children under 16 admitted if adult of 16 and over present) rating not an X (over 16 only) rating. The distributor did not want the adults only rating. The following cuts were made to get the A rating:

Reel 1 - general reduction of violence when bandits attack train in particular removal of bandits executing two soldiers.
Reel 3 - After Adelita blows up compound, remove scene of bandits seizing three whores, shots of man being kicked into and drowned in water trough and three soldiers being executed.
Remove Adelita’s dialogue “I was only 15 when someone like Don Felipe raped me”.

I have no information as to the extensive diistributor cuts which reduced the running time to 77m.

Fantastic movie I thought.


Interesting cuts, surprised the shot of Don Felipe’s body laying in the streets wasn’t axed, but glad it didn’t. I didn’t love this one as much as others but one thing I liked about it was how it didn’t shy away from showing the revolutionaries’ crimes in the war.

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Hard to imagine but I’d love to see it! I’m always curious about butchered cuts of films. There’s a 90 minute TV version of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly that I’d love to see. It sounds hideous!

that’s barely the trailer for the movie :stuck_out_tongue:

A post was merged into an existing topic: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly / Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo (Sergio Leone, 1966)

While it had complete control over video censorship, the BBFC had far fewer powers with regard to theatrical releases. Although most local authorities accepted the BBFC classifications (and, if necessary, cuts) it was not uncommon for certificates to be upgraded to the adults-only X. Conversely, it was also possible for films cut or even rejected by the BBFC to be shown uncut; a practice encouraged by John Trevelyan (censor: 1958-1971) to stimulate debate.

Gave the Italian DVD another watch for comparison purposes: the film opens with the solemn voiceover - ‘Un milione di morti, questo fu il tragico consuntivo della sanguinosa rivoluzione messicana’ (‘One million dead, this was the tragic outcome of the bloody Mexican revolution’) - but then goes into the inane English voiceover from the ‘International Version’. The death of Lieutenant Ferreira (Aldo Sambrell) and the crushing of the captain’s sabre is cut completely together with an entire sequence in San Miguel. A further scene is cut when Chuncho sells the guns at Elías’ camp. In total it runs 106mins PAL. This incomplete dub is used on all subsequent releases.


There is a voice-over for the Italian version?!?! I always watch the film in Italian and my version doesn´t have a voice-over.

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From what I know, the voice over is only on the old Cecchi Gori DVD. It’s definitely not on the French blu-ray from 2021, but I can’t double-check the rest as I’ve cleared them out.

Here’s where the Italian voice over should be (the hearing-impaired subtitles are slightly condensed) …


That´s odd. I hope someone will come out with an improved blu-ray.

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I watched Quien Sabe/A Bullet for the General on Tuesday night and as ever enjoyed it greatly. There is enough action in this film to go along with a very good plot and acting performances. Volonte is a little over the top but very enjoyable as Chuncho. I love the faces he makes as the army officer is pulling at his moustache. Castel is solid as Tate/El Niño and gives a good performance in that I never really sympathise with the character until maybe the very end. All throughout the movie, Tate cleverly manipulates the situations to direct matters to his advantage.

Adelita is a strong character. There is an interesting dynamic between her and Tate. Tate needs to influence her to lead the others to leave San Miguel. She is part of the bandit gang but makes her own way to who knows where at the end. Kinski’s character Santo is great as a sort of idealistic moral compass for the group.

Some good set piece scenes with the train, the raids on the army barracks and the shoutout in the desert. The san Miguel scene in the landowner’s house makes one think where our sympathies lie and is cleverly done. Some amusing scenes too.

Quein Sabe has a brilliant soundtrack with some rollicking mariachi tracks and the superb quien sabe track which brilliantly leads the final scenes.

There are some excellent lines of script throughout, including:

“Excuse me if I occasionally disappointed you”.

“I’m just against it”.

“You have to look out for yourself
You just can’t do anymore”

“Life is more interesting this way - full of surprises”

“That man is a lunatic”

“Don’t buy bread with that money hombre, buy dynamite!”

5 stars - it didn’t occasionally disappoint me.


I decided to watch the shorter US version because I was curious about the dub. I’m not sure which voice actors I prefer… maybe the US dub has the edge. It’s been a few years since I watched this classic and it blew me away yet again. This film just seems to get better every time I watch it. It’s nothing short of a masterpiece, not just a quality spaghetti western but a stand-out piece of cinema in its own right. What a performance from Volonte!


What’s the best version to get for this movie? Is there a bluray version with sharper image quality or are they all somewhat blurry?

I only have the blue underground version but it looks great to my eyes.

I think its the DNR butchering the film… loses a lot of detail because of it… very uncommon for SWs… i love the texture film grain gives to movies too, so there’s no benefit to artificially removing it… it just makes it less detailed and worse looking in general… hope we get a proper restoration of this movie someday…

I found it to be different between the versions but both not up to modern standards… Needs new remasters, maybe even without rescanning the negatives just run newer encoding and less dnr

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What about the UK box set?

there’s the french version too… are they all the same DNR crap?

Assume similar. But all watchable I thought. It’s early 2000s era HD work :slight_smile: