William Berger


(TwiceaJudas) #1

Does anyone have a good website to read in depth about William Berger and his roles he played in the Spaghetti genre? He is personally one of my favorites. What do you guys think about his contribution to the genre? My favorite role of his was Banjo in Sabata.


(Lode) #2

Hm, I found no William Berger pages besides imdb, wikipedia and so on.

But I think he is next to Klaus Kinski another cool blondie. My favourite until now is probably in Faccia a faccia.


(Dorado) #3

The internet movie database has the following to say about William Berger.

William Berger is inseparably linked with Spaghetti Western, but he participated also in numerous other productions and thus co-operated with unbelievably many interesting directors such as as Enzo Castellari, Sergio Sollima, Duccio Tessari, Gianfranco Parolini and many others. Austrian born Berger moved to USA in 1940 during WWII, without even knowing what really he wanted to become. At first he studied engineering and later served in Air Force during the Korea war. Worked in New York at IBM, but having sometimes no support he actually wanted to write. Then he joined an evening class for television script letters and drama. Once his professor suddenly asked him to replace one of the actors in the evening piece at the week final college in Rhode Island. With his straight performance, being actually no actor, Berger made all consider him as professional stage actor from New York. He discovered that playing and learning the role were very enjoyable for him and began to work in the world of show. Next ten years he proved himself by playing on Broadway theatre in staging as “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” and “Saturday Night Lonely Night” with Henry Fonda. During a tour with his group in Rome, Italy his convincingly acting in combination of his blue eyes and blond hair was noted and he was chosen for the role of Benny in one of segments of director Marko Ferreri “L’Uomo dei cinque palloni” (1965), opposite Marchello Mastroianni. Later William Berger has appeared in a long and impressive list of Spaghetti Westerns, including genre classics as “Faccia a Faccia” (1967), directed by Sergio Sollima, “Sartana” and it sequels, “Oggi a me…domani a te!” (1968), opposite Bud Spencer. One of his most memorable performances was as ‘Banjo’ in the first “Sabata” movie, where he co-starred with another western icon Lee Van Cleef. The career of Berger slowed down when he was involved in a drug story. On 4 August 1970 in the course of anti-drug operation, the police found hashish in his villa in Costa Amalfi, near Naples, Italy. He and his second wife, the actress Carolyn Lobravico were arrested and put up in the criminal lunatic asylum of Pozzuoli, where Carolyn died of acute peritonitis. Berger was transferred into Salerno prison for a few months. After some terrible judicial vicissitude he was released and began one new career with beautiful thriller “Mio caro assassino” (1972). Berger also starred in favourities as “Uomoni Duri” (1974) with Lino Ventura, “California” (1977) co-starred with Giuliano Gemma, Luigi Cozzi’s “Hercules” (1983) and many others. In “Keoma” (1976) he portrayed the father of Franco Nero’s character Keoma. Later he appeared again with Nero in numerous of movies as Il Giorno del Cobra (1980), Die Försterbuben (1984), Django 2: il grande ritorno (1987), Top Line (1988) and one of his last, Das Babylon Komplott (1993). William Berger died on 2 October 1993 at his home in Vienna, Austria.


(Musket) #4

[quote=“Lode, post:2, topic:224”]Hm, I found no William Berger pages besides imdb, wikipedia and so on.

But I think he is next to Klaus Kinski another cool blondie. My favourite until now is probably in Faccia a faccia.[/quote]
yeah faccia a faccia is one of the best movies with him


(Bluntwolf) #5

How do you all like ‘No room to die’ (Una lunga fila di croci/Django&Sartana-Die tödlichen Zwei) ???

It’s a Sergio Garrone SW featuring William Berger and Anthony Steffen !!!

I think Billie boy Berger is fantastic in that one ! I also like the music with it’s title-song ‘Non mi aspettavi piu’ !!!

Also one of my favorite Berger SW is ‘Sartana pray for your death’ (Se incontri Sartana … prega per la tua morte/Sartana - bete um Deinen Tod) featuring Billie, Gianni Garko and Klaus Kinski !!!
Here Billie plays the role of a bad guy killing his enemies with headshots !!!

Of course, ‘Faccia a Faccia’ and ‘Sabata’ are maybe his best SW !!!


(Cian) #6

Yep. No Room To Die is a great SW. Bergers bounty hunting preacher really makes this film work.


(Wilco Vedder) #7

I think one of his best performances was Keoma. Transferring to the older man suits him well.

Did he really play in “Django, Il grande ritorno”? I must see that movie again as I can not remember seeing him in the movie. Which part did he have?


(Cian) #8

He was in the pre-title sequence that isn’t on all versions. He’s hard to recognize.


(Wilco Vedder) #9

I wathced the movie over the weekend and didn’t find Willaim berger. He is mentioned at the title sequence though.
I have mixed feelings with this movie. It looks like all 80’s top movies are used in the storie (The Mission, Indiana Jones, Rambo). It is made by Italians but definately not in Europe. The only “official” sequence to Django does not live up to its original but there are nice scenes.


(seanmallory) #10

I love this guy. He’s absolutely cool in Sabata and Keoma. :wink:


(Reverend Danite) #11

He’s up there with the greats. All the roles mentioned show different aspects of his ability and he remains a cool dude throughout. He plays another great ‘older’ character in California and he even makes ‘Sartana in the Sandpit of Doom’ :wink: acceptable.


(Stanton) #12

Don’t like him very much. I always wished van Cleef had played the Siringo character in Face to Face.

Berger was ok in some films like Sabata, Sartana and No Room to Die, but in most of his SWs I can imagine another, more charismatic actor substituting him. He always looks so pained.


(Tom B.) #13

Berger is the old gunfighter in the opening scenes of DJANGO’S GREAT RETURN (aka THE RETURN OF DJANGO). This scene was only available on the German release of the film but has now made it on to other releases. If you don’t have the opening gunfight between the aged gunfighters you’ll never see him in the film. Even if you do have that scene it is very difficult to make yourself comprehend it is Berger.


(Phil H) #14

Ha ha. I love that pained expression of Berger’s. I think that world weariness is an essential part of his appeal.


(ENNIOO) #15

The guy tends to look a bit moody.


(Silver) #16

Personally i love William Berger. He really did have a great expression, and i’d agree with one of the previous posts that it was a world weary one rather than pained. His air of affected boredom was never better than in They Call Him Cemetary imo. Sure he was in a few stinkers, but then who hasn’t been. Favourite performances for me would be No Room To Die, They Call Him Cemetary, Sabata and to a lesser extent Fast Hand Is Still My Name. Hell, i probably wouldn’t have sat through Sartana In The Valley Of Death or On The 3rd Day Arrived The Crow if it hadn’t been for Berger’s appearance in them! :stuck_out_tongue:


(Garko Forever) #17

I think Berger is great! I like the fact that you never have any idea what he’s going to do next. There’s an air of scary unpredictability to him. I don’t think anybody pulls off believably unhinged and yet enjoying himself quite as well.


(Romaine Fielding) #18

I think Berger was very good actor. I don’t think I really understood this until I saw California with Giuliano Gemma. Berger plays the father of a young Confederate soldier who must come to grips with the loss of his son when Gemma arrvies with the bad news at the end of the war. I don’t usually look for (or want) emotional complexity in my Spaghetti characters but I was actually moved by his performance. He bore his sense of loss with subtlety and gravitas. It really showed me something.
Of course, he had many other great roles. I did particularly like him as a foil to Gianni Garko in They Call Him Cemetery.


(sartana1968) #19

my favorite’s SW of his:
if you meet sartana pray for your death
sabata
no room to die
they call him cemetery
a name that cried revenge
today we kill tomorrow we die

william berger was the best actor for doublecrossers ever!
nobody can play the role better, and has a very strange looking