The Price of Power / Il prezzo del potere (Tonino Valerii, 1969)

Still like this one quite a lot without considering it truly top drawer. Obviously attempts to be a more “serious” film than some others (a decided lack of Gemma acrobatics is a good clue on that front) and succeeds for the most part while missing the mark in others. Like Stanton mentioned in an earlier post Valerii is obviously trying hard here but in so doing shows his limitations as a director. Also, the film feels strangely like a bigger and at the same time limited budget outing.Can’t quite put my finger on why but the lack of extras might well be part of it. Either way, it is still a solid and very enjoyable film and, when judged against the hundreds of others in the genre deserves a spot in the higher regions for sure.

1 Like

Where the dickens does one attain an English friendly DVD of this?

Be aware that it’s a region 1 disc, though.

1 Like

Cheers amigo!

And not to worry as I use a region free player. Region codes haven’t meant diddly dick to me in quite some time :slight_smile:

I have a copy of the Japanese DVD I’d be willing to trade/sell.

Re-watched this one and Dead men Ride a few nights ago and they’re still two of my favourites, this one in particular (hence my username). Some seem to think it’s slow, I think it’s deliberately paced and plot driven. With a great cast, nice direction, great locations, good action sequences, and one of the best non-Morricone scores it’s hard to fault.

1 Like

I’m not political at all but am still very fond of this film, despite it being a bit too talky overall. As for Dead Men Ride, I watched the first 30 minutes or so, and can’t remember much.

1 Like

You should deffo watch DMR until the end. It gets better as it goes along and the final duel is one of the best outside of Leone’s films, it’s really hypnotic.

No really memorable scenes, but the movie is better than I remembered.


I hadn’t watched this film for a few years, but it was the news that Joe Biden had decided against taking the train to his inauguration that brought me back to it again…

On one level, this is an enjoyable cross between a revenge western and a political thriller with a bit of courtroom drama thrown in. Giuliano Gemma is reliably engaging, the direction is efficient, the characters are interesting and the music is unforgettable. On another level, it shows how the Italians were prepared to experiment with the traditional western format in the 60s in a way that Americans would not have dreamed of. I find its political points much more pertinent than those of the Mexican revolution sub-genre and a lot of them are still relevant today. Made just six years after the Kennedy assassination, this film fully deserves being described as “extraordinary” (Frayling) and “amazing” (the Aurum Western Encyclopedia). Nowadays, some aspects of it might even be called “woke”.


In my top twenty spaghetti for sure, a proper storyline and a big change from the more action packed spaghetti western Gemma did…just behind Day of Anger as my second favourite Valeri flik

1 Like

In my top 20 too

1 Like

Absolutely…this has been my seventh favourite spag since I first saw it about 10 years ago. I don’t think it’ll ever fall a single place lower.

“Mr President, I grew up in the Southwest … A loaded gun is their symbol of manhood, and I’ve seen them use it to resolve their problems.” (McDonald)
““The NRA should move to Texas and lead a very good and beautiful life … Texas would be a great place and an appropriate place for the NRA.” (Donald Trump, 6 August 2020, after the New York Attorney General seeks to dissolve the NRA over corruption allegations. Texas attorney general Ken Paxton and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick offer the organisation an enthusiastic welcome.)

“Looks like the climate of Washington’s contaminated you. You better get down and visit us a little more often.” (State Governor of Texas.)
“It is time to drain the swamp in Washington, D.C.” (D. Trump, Oct. 17, 2016, in campaign speech at Green Bay, Wisconsin. The phrase goes back to the days when D.C. was a malarial swamp and is well-worn, but Trump, coming from a political place akin to the film’s Texas Governor, invested in it very heavily.)

“Maybe you’re plannin’ to bring in new votes from our cotton fields, sir. But that doesn’t mean they’d be responsible voters.” (Dissatisfied Texan to the President.)
Two words: voter suppression. Republican lawmakers have introduced at least 389 restrictive bills in 48 states so far this year. This weekend, the Texas Legislature (!) pushed ahead with a voter suppression law that aims (a) to penalize local officials who take steps to make it easier for citizens to vote; (b) to cut back on voting the Sunday before the election, the day that Black churches organize “souls to the polls” drives (a typo, sponsors claim); (c) to let partisan judges reverse the result of an election without any proof of fraud. ( So far it has been blocked.

In short, forget Kennedy - Il prezzo del potere is far more up-to-date than I for one would like (the broader parallels with the present are endless). I think it’s a serious, moving film, one for which I have a great deal of time. At the end, as Bill Willer stands troubled and pensive on that station platform (OK, OK, it doesn’t look much like Dallas!) while the train pulls out with McDonald and those compromising papers, I find the film has turned a debate over the relative merits of justice and Realpolitik into something emotionally poignant.


Though I haven’t received it yet, I ordered Tonino Valerii: the Films by Roberto Curti. In preparation, I decided to go back and re-watch the films I own that he was a part of, deciding to forego the “Dollars” films as I have watched those numerous times over the years. I even went so far as to watch Margheriti’s The Long Hair of Death again since he contributed to the screenplay.

I began last night with Day of Anger, an absolute classic, and then watched The Price of Power for what I know beyond the shadow of a doubt is the third time. The reason I know is that the first time I watched it, I was not impressed nor was I unimpressed even though Valerii’s films are some of my favorites in the genre. After constantly reading glowing reviews of the movie, I decided to give it another viewing thinking that maybe the first time I was in the wrong frame of mind. Unfortunately, I ended up with the exact same result.

The third time is the charm, right? I thought last night that this would be it. A light bulb would suddenly come on and I would finally see the brilliance of this film…except it didn’t. I’m not saying this is a bad film but I can’t say that it is good either. I have discovered that when a movie is either good or bad it leaves some sort of impression with me - something that when you hear or read about the movie some sort of vision of that movie pops into your head. When The Price of Power is mentioned, I am left with no feeling whatsoever. I have watched numerous movies that left so little impression on me that I had to go back and read a description of it to see if I had seen it or not. Were The Price of Power not so well known it would leave me with that exact same dilemma.

At least when Little Rita or White Comanche are mentioned, they leave me with a feeling of some sort…even though it isn’t good. So, which is better, a bad movie that you remember or a movie that leaves no impression on you at all? :laughing:

I think it has been extremely seldom for me to encounter a spaghetti western that leaves me no impression at all. The dozen or so I have rejected without even watching the whole film were all very irritating for me (random shooting, long fist fights/barroom brawls and/or generally boring/bad story).

But nearly all of the around 125 SWs I have watched to the end have left a rather clear impression, with about 2/3 as good enough or better IMO (rated 6/10 or higher). But all these films have not been arbitrarily chosen by me since I have often read a lot about them and many others not chosen, before my selection.
The other 1/3 with less rating (5/10 or worse) I often disliked for certain reasons (similar as stated above), not because of lack of impression they left me.

The Price Of Power is only one of those many SWs (>400) my selection process so far have excluded (otherwise often SW comedies as well) to be on my watch list, and maybe it is among those many still not watched by me that some would leave me no impression.

But that said I don’t completely rule out that I will try this one out in the future due to my curiosity… I like Gemma in The Return OF Ringo and Long Days Of Vengeance (both 7/10) and A Pistol For Ringo (6/10). And Valerii’s My Name Is Nobody (8/10) is a little masterpiece in spite of being a comedy IMO.

I have nearly 300 Eurowestern titles, many as part of bad sets, in my collection and have seen all but about twenty of them which I haven’t got around to as of yet. Plus, I’ve seen many more within the genre that I don’t possess. I hope this isn’t the case, but I think that eventually you will find several that leave you with no feeling whatsoever and I’m sad to say I was referring to movies as a whole leaving no impression, not only SWs. I am afraid that I encounter movies of all genres all the time that I have to stop and debate as to whether or not I’ve seen it because it left so little an impression one way or another.

I agree about Gemma and I love Valerii which is what makes it so disappointing that this particular movie isn’t more memorable.

My feelings regarding this movie is similar to yours, and I feel the same about the SWs of Sergio Sollima. I get the feeling that the films are over ambitious and it feels like the plot is forced in a very straight direction. I don’t have any problem with the plot itself but the way it unfolds leaves me bored everytime. I love Day of Anger, that I consider a major SW that is both ambitious and interesting all the way. Even his “minor” film Taste of Killing that lacks any originality to it - I find very enjoyable, it’s basically just a fun film with a comic book sense to it. Like many Post-Django films between ‘66-67 had… However Sollimas approach to the genre that I feel Valerii tries out with The Price of Power never worked near as well as it later did with his Crime films. It’s basically political drama in a Western setting, it could have been a Combat movie, Sword and Sandal or Eurocrime movie just aswell. Which might have worked better. I don’t get the feeling that making a Western was Sollimas nor Valerii’s (in this case) main vision, and that’s what makes these films uninteresting for me.

1 Like

I agree with you almost entirely except I do make an exception for Sollima’s The Big Gundown provided it is the uncut version and not the horrible U.S. release. I can put any sort of politics aside and enjoy that movie for what it is at it’s core - a well told “cat and mouse” story in which nothing is quite as it seems. Face to Face and Run Man Run on the other hand do very little for me.

Maybe I am goiing too off topic, but I think Face To Face (6/10) is very well executed even if the story is a bit silly regarding the main theme of the transformation from university professor to outlaw/desperado, still entertaining though. But Run Man Run I found rather boring (5/10). Sollima’s The Big Gundown is another matter (8/10) with extraordinay music by Morricone…