Keoma (Enzo G. Castellari, 1976)

(SourNote2014) #242

I stand corrected.

(James Homer) #243

Probably THE most interesting aspect of Keoma is that it’s basically a film on the end of individualism. And if you look even deeper into it, Keoma isn’t actually the good guy. No, Sam, Butch and Lenny are. You can make the case that Coldwell isn’t really a bad guy either. The way I see it the film takes a very bleak, cynical view of pragmatism vs idealism. Compared to most of the spaghetti westerns out there (don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the genre, probably my favourite genre, actually) it’s a multi-layered, complex film that really does comment on the death of the genre and the death of the myth.

The posters for the film actually support my theory, that being that the film is a meta-commentary, as they say “Franco Nero WAS Django… Franco Nero IS Keoma”. Keoma and Django also share a lot of similarities, both in structure and art design.

And the film itself is just amazing. Beautifully shot, great writing, great use of symbolism, the art design is the best I’ve seen from a SW, so, for me, this is my number 1 favourite spaghetti western. Can’t wait to watch A MAN CALLED BLADE, which is apparently quite similar to Keoma.

Regarding the music – it actually didn’t bother me!


Mannaja is quite similar and has very dream-like music. It also has mud! And John Steiner as a villian.

(James Homer) #245

Being based in the UK, it’s hard for me to find spaghetti western DVDs on amazon, but I’ve managed to find a copy by Blue Underground (I think?) of Mannaja so I should hopefully be watching it sometime next week. I’m also pretty new to this forum, I’ve found it great so far!

On a side-note, I’ve heard many compare the action in KEOMA to the way Sam Peckinpah directed action – which is completely true. But I find it adds a really nice flair of variety to the action, as instead of fast shooting it’s this long, brutal drawn out, almost exhausting kind of violence.

(Stanton) #246

Castellari uses Slo Mo, yes, but not like Peckinpah did.

(James Homer) #247

He uses it to lesser effect, but the technique is the same.

(Stanton) #248

I think not. He just uses long, long Slo Mo shots, while Peckinpah intercuts them with other shots, and by the rapid editing counters the deceleration of the action through the Slo Mo.

Peckinpah’s Slo Mo action is very dynamic, the one in Keoma is only slow. I don’t like that in Keoma btw , I don’t like most of the other action in Keoma either, despite liking the film to a certain extent.


You still have an undying love for Mannaja though right?

(James Homer) #250

Actually, if I remember correctly, Castellari DOES intercut with the Slo Mo. The example I’m thinking of is the 4 cents scene.

(morgan) #251

Yes, indeed! Just watched the Mill Creek Entertainment BR edition, and it looked just great.

However, the film for me fell somewhat due to the poor script and dialogue, which I have overlooked earlier, probably numbed by Castellari’s awesome filmmaking and Cesare De Natale’s abominable singing.

(Wilco Vedder) #252

Just read the things said about the movie. I like the movie and have seen it several times, as opposed to Jonathan of the Bears that sometimes is referred to as Keoma 2. I would love to see it on the big screen sometime.

I allways tought the lyrics were the toughts of the main character. The dark voice are the thoughts of Keoma, the female voice of Liza (Olga Karlatos). If you read the lyrics above it makes sense. I think the music adds to the atmosphere in the movie.

There are a lot of nice scenes. Some scenes that make this movie stand out for me:

  • The 4 cents with a bastard behind each finger;
  • The shooting scene where Keoma and Shannon are reveled by the bullet holes;
  • The discussion between Keom and Shannon about the civil war, “Now we have freed the black people so we can continue on killing indians”. Very confronting but indeed that was happening at that time :disappointed_relieved:;
  • Death scene of George (I do not find his screaming laughable) with the sound of the banjo snares snapping when he dies;
  • Discussion between Keoma end George about what his freedom is worth;

For a movie without a script they have used a lot of inventive ideas and conversation.

Apart from the above mentioned, the whole atmosphere in the movie an the characters are well chosen.


Perhaps I overlook the fact that dialogue was never one of Nero’s strong points, ( considering I saw this after Django, Companeros, and The Mercenary) and am just drawn into the emotional context of the film. Django I thought suffered from average ( at best) script but the dialogue seemed “copy and pasted”.

(AngelFace) #254

I agree that Nero always struggled a bit with English dialogue, he never really seemed fluent. But the movie really has something. There’s a level of imagination and improvisation that you just don’t get in any other SW I can think of.

On Django… the English version is atrocious, one of the worst dubbing jobs ever but the movie somehow manages to overcome it. I find that incredible!


I was never the greatest fan of ‘Keoma’ … I think it was one of the first non Leone SWs I’d seen, so of course by comparison it was disappointing.

I like it more now, and although I can’t see it as a classic, it has lots of great stuff in it.

Love the soundtrack music, and I even enjoy Franco Nero’s slightly wooden performance … the film overall is so over the top with ideas from other flicks, that it takes on it’s own surreal dreamlike quality.

Rewatched it recently after a long gap since the last viewing, and I can understand it’s cult appeal … and I was certainly not bored by it, that’s for sure. :wink:

Can’t understand why some fans complain about the music … to me that’s like objecting to the music from ‘Jaws’ or ‘Psycho’ … it’s what makes the film so unique, and that male vocal probably inspired Arnold Schwarzenegger to learn English! ? :rofl:

(morgan) #256

Sherpschutter’s review has some interesting information on the making of the script, see

As for the score, i do like the Keoma theme a lot. Other parts I think borders on parody, especially by that guy Guy. And I must admit I don¨t search out a spag for peace and love…

(morgan) #257

The same here. I remember I recorded it on VHS from some TV channel, but I didn’t keep it.

(Novecento) #258

Since it wasn’t Nero’s voice in Django (in English or Italian), it’s not really fair to criticize him in that regard.

I’ve always liked Nero’s Italian accented English

(tomas) #259

I second that.


True, but look Companeros ( for example) the script and dialogue suffer from mediocrity. Can’t say the same About the Leone films ( most of which have above average to great scripts)