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3.9 out of 5 stars21
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Different is the first word that sprung to mind after watching this Spaghetti western. It is so oddball that you wonder if the creators were suffering the effects of an absinthe drinking binge. The film is populated with oddball characters that would seem more at home in a circus. We have the clown, who is the fat guy providing comic relief for the anti hero, like a poor man’s Andy Devine. Then we have a mute Indian acrobat who the ‘Cirque du Soleil’ would be proud to count as their own. We also have some musical accompaniment performed by a mysterious banjo player who plays a few deadly discordant notes. Then we have a sharp shooting and throwing hero who hits any target at any distance. Last but not least there is an effeminate villain who has his own special games room inside his house. All very imaginative if nothing else! All we lack are a few performing elephants!

The story is hard to describe, so I won’t even bother to try, using the excuse that I would hate to give anything away. It involves those oft used Spaghetti ingredients, gold, greed and guns. The various characters take to the bull ring, and to the victor go the spoils. The director Gianfranco Parolini aka Frank Kramer, who made the first Sartana film, was known for using gadgetry in his films and he does it again with this one. The film suffers from the usual twin Spaghetti curse of bad dubbing and equally bad acting. Banjo playing William Berger, Face to Face (67), takes the big fat cigar for the last one by a country mile! Lee Van Cleef plays the deadly “Sabata”, who must be clairvoyant in the way he stays one step ahead of everyone else. The actor simply keeps a stony face and gets a stunt double to jump around a bit for him. The distinctively catchy Spaghetti score is by Marcello Giombini. If you are a fan of Spaghettis then you will probably like this offbeat offering in an offbeat sub genre. It spawned two sequels “Adios Sabata”, with Yul Brynner and “Return of Sabata” again with Lee Van Cleef in the lead role. As was usual with any successful Italian spaghetti franchise there were also a few unofficial Sabata films.
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on 27 July 2012
I've been on a bit of a "spaghetti western" trip recently, and this was the first I watched after the definitive "Dollars" Trilogy.

I mainly chose this as I'm a fan of Lee Van Cleef generally, and he does a decent job here despite some of the films shortcomings, but I have to say the rest of the acting is a bit hit and miss. The chubby side-kick character is tolerable, but the trampolining "Alley Cat" character is just plain annoying (as is the protagonist "Banjo").

Lee Van Cleef's title character "Sabata" is your typical "man with no name" style lone gunman, and the story itself is one of double-crossing and betrayal relating to a foiled bank robbing. There's no real surprises in the plot but it serves well enough.

The picture quality and sound aren't bad but I doubt much time was spent cleaning it up for the DVD release.

Overall I'd give this 6/10 - It's quite enjoyable in it's way but should definitely be considered "B" list.
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on 5 June 2011
Stengal the town leader of Dougherty orders the robbery of the $100,000 from bank, but his attempts are foiled by a mysterious stranger known as Sabata. Sabata then blackmails him for $30,000 (then increasing to $60,000) but Stengal thinks its easier to have him killed than to pay the money, although it is easier said than done.

Lee Van Cleef is a perfect choice for the role of Sabata and he is super cool in the role. He also has all the gadgets that remind me a lot of James Bond, the best been his modified revolver that can fire from his handle as well. The supporting performances are also pretty good with the likes of Pedro Sanchez as his loyal sidekick Carrincha, William Berger as the disloyal and untrustworthy Banjo and the best been Franco Ressell as the cruel homosexual Stengel, who has the biggest comb over I've ever seen in a Spaghetti Western.

Director Gianfranco Parolini makes what I think was his finest film. He may use a similar story to his previous film, If you Meet Sartana Pray for your death, but he improves it and makes it far less complicated. He and Cinematographer Sandro Mancori create some great camera shots that were copied in style unsuccessfully by director Giuliano Carnimeo in his Spaghetti Westerns.

The soundtrack by Marcello Giombini is good and has a fast upbeat tempo, that is completely different in style to that of Ennio Morricone. Although I think he made better scores for Too Much Gold for One Gringo and Garringo, this is still a great score that has a catchy theme tune.

Overall this is one of the best Spaghetti Westerns ever made, it has all the elements to make it a interesting and enjoyable film, a lot of action, catchy music, a great main character and brilliant direction.
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on 19 January 2013
Always enjoy Lee Van Cleef in a corney spaghetti western, its quite funny and entertaining. Cheers me up after I have had to suffer depressing soaps with she who must not be named.
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VINE VOICEon 28 June 2007
"Sabata" or "Ehi amico... c'è Sabata, hai chiuso!" is a comic book affair with ridiculously over the top action and banal dialogue. This is a very childish film and also extraordinarily camp. I misconstrued the first look between the effeminate Villain and his fat banker accomplice as a look of homosexual satisfaction!

Lee Van Cleef is as magnetic as ever and steals every scene. He has a Mexican comic sidekick that is not very funny and a Wayne Sleep look-alike that bounces on hidden trampolines through out most of the film. William Berger is truly awful as Banjo the murderous musician. His performance, if you can call it that, is so bad that it makes you cringe. His smirk is that of an old woman without her dentures in. You keep hoping through out the picture that Sabata will shoot that ridiculous actor in the face.

There is some very imaginative gunplay in this film that most certainly livens up the infantile proceedings. "Sabata" is really a cheap James Bond picture set in the west and I am sure Frank Kramer or should I say Gianfranco Parolini had that in mind while developing the project. My favourite moment is when Lee Van Cleef confuses a would-be assassin by posing behind a gilt picture frame.

The production design by Carlo Simi is very good especially the interiors and the saloon in particular. The music is also good fun especially the go-go title theme. That said this is a stupid little film that has its moments but if it weren't for Lee Van Cleef it would signify nothing.

The DVD has excellent picture quality and sound but no special features.
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on 16 March 2015
One of the better Spaghetti westerns, a thoroughly enjoyable watch.
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on 21 September 2015
Great picture quality, excellent film...great service!
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on 4 December 2015
a good spaghetti western for lovers of the genre
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on 16 June 2015
Another great movie with great actor!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 26 October 2014
This is one of the less well known of the spaghetti westerns. Many of the characters seem to be dubbed into English, and the music is on the cheesy side but such things are easy to ignore.

It did well enough to spawn a couple of sequels, but it is certainly not as well known as the Dollars Trilogy, or even Django. The film has no great pretensions, but it is imaginative with plenty of ideas flung onto the screen. For the most part the film pushes things just so far that they are on the right side of ridiculous, which keeps things interesting. There is no shortage of action, but for the genre it is certainly not unduly gratuitous or unsettling. This is not as bleak as The Great Silence.

If you want to see Lee Van Cleef play a steely and ingenious gun-man who always manages to stay one step ahead of the corrupt and greedy townspeople, with some interesting / annoying side characters, a bit of humour and precious few dull moments, then this is a more than decent addition to your collection.
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