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Despite being directed by Django, Companeros and The Great Silence's Sergio Corbucci, Navajo Joe is a rather flat and average Italian Western that would probably be as hard to find today as many of his other lesser westerns if it weren't for an early starring role for Burt Reynolds. Unfortunately Reynolds hadn't quite harnessed his movie star mojo in 1966 and merely makes an adequate rather than iconic hero as the Navajo seeking revenge on Aldo Sambrell's gang of scalphunters who murdered his wife and child. After stealing a train and its $500,000 cargo from them after they kill both the soldiers guarding it and all the passengers, women and babes in arms included, he finds himself rather ineffectually defending a town of second generation immigrants that hates him for not being a proper `American' and going through all the genre staples - picking off the bad guys two-by-two or one-by-one (for no good reason Sambrell never sends enough men to do the job of killing him properly), getting captured and tortured, escaping with the help of the meekest of the supporting cast and finishing off the rest of the baddies.

In principle there's everything you need for a decent actioner here, but it doesn't quite play out that way. None of it is terribly imaginative and the action only sporadically well handled, which may well be a sign of the behind the camera tension. Reynolds reputedly only signed because he thought Sergio Leone was directing and hated every minute of the production and never made any secret of his contempt for the film while Corbucci only signed because he thought Marlon Brando was starring, and at times you can definitely tell that this is a film the two are only making because they're under contract. Corbucci does manage to include a couple of digs about racism and it's nice to see eternal supporting player Sambrell (billed on the English credits as Sanbrell) get a more substantial role for once, and even get a motive for his violence, making far more of an impression than his rather scrawny onscreen nemesis. Ennio Morricone, still being credited as Leo Nichols, turns in a memorably over the top score that turned up again in Tarantino's Kill Bill, and the writers include early Leone collaborator and future poliziotteschi genre cult figure Fernando Di Leo and twice Oscar nominated Ugo Pirro, who co-wrote Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion and The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, but like pretty much everyone else here, this is definitely not one of their better days.

While the UK DVD is cut because of one particularly nasty double-horse fall, the German Blu-ray is uncut and comes with an array of extras, including a trio of featurettes including interviews with assistant director Ruggero Deodato, co-star Nicoletta Machiavelli and Corbucci's widow, a location comparison, German trailer, stills gallery and booklet, but only the American trailer is English-friendly, the featurettes being primarily in Italian with German subtitles. The 2.35:1 transfer is okay but a little underwhelming, with English, Italian or German language options but only German subtitles.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 December 2013
Navajo Joe is directed by Sergio Corbucci and collectively written by Fernando Di Leo, Ugo Pirro and Piero Regnoli. It stars Burt Reynolds, Aldo Sambrell, Nicoletta Machiavelli, Tanya Lopert and Fernando Rey. Music is by Ennico Morricone and cinematograpy by Silvano Ippolitti.

Though Reynolds would say it's the worst film he ever made, anyone who has followed his career will know that simply isn't the case! It's an odd Spaghetti Western that sees Reynolds play the title character, who strides out for revenge against the ragamuffin varmints who slaughtered his woman and tribe. Cue blood letting galore as Joe enacts said revenge with bloodthirsty glee as the hints of anti-racism struggle to show their heads above the pasta strewn pulpit.

Narratively there's nothing else to add, it's simplicity 101 and at times it becomes laborious. Where the film doesn't lack for interest is with the technical aspects. Corbucci hones his skills as a purveyor of brutal set pieces, each striking for entertainment purpose. Ippolitti adds his own brand of cinematography, gracing the story with a pizzaz it doesn't deserve, whilst Morricone provides a wonderfully catchy musical score. As for Reynolds? He does OK. Veering close to being pantomime and showing a lack of interest, his all round brooding charisma shines bright and gives the picture a macho edge.

Not a great film by any stretch of the imagination, the script is just too lazy, but it is above average and Spaghetti Western fans can find enough here to gorge on for a satisfying meal. 6/10
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Despite being directed by Django, Companeros and The Great Silence's Sergio Corbucci, Navajo Joe is a rather flat and average Italian Western that would probably be as hard to find today as many of his other lesser westerns if it weren't for an early starring role for Burt Reynolds. Unfortunately Reynolds hadn't quite harnessed his movie star mojo in 1966 and merely makes an adequate rather than iconic hero as the Navajo seeking revenge on Aldo Sambrell's gang of scalphunters who murdered his wife and child. After stealing a train and its $500,000 cargo from them after they kill both the soldiers guarding it and all the passengers, women and babes in arms included, he finds himself rather ineffectually defending a town of second generation immigrants that hates him for not being a proper `American' and going through all the genre staples - picking off the bad guys two-by-two or one-by-one (for no good reason Sambrell never sends enough men to do the job of killing him properly), getting captured and tortured, escaping with the help of the meekest of the supporting cast and finishing off the rest of the baddies.

In principle there's everything you need for a decent actioner here, but it doesn't quite play out that way. None of it is terribly imaginative and the action only sporadically well handled, which may well be a sign of the behind the camera tension. Reynolds reputedly only signed because he thought Sergio Leone was directing and hated every minute of the production and never made any secret of his contempt for the film while Corbucci only signed because he thought Marlon Brando was starring, and at times you can definitely tell that this is a film the two are only making because they're under contract. Corbucci does manage to include a couple of digs about racism and it's nice to see eternal supporting player Sambrell (billed on the English credits as Sanbrell) get a more substantial role for once, and even get a motive for his violence, making far more of an impression than his rather scrawny onscreen nemesis. Ennio Morricone, still being credited as Leo Nichols, turns in a memorably over the top score that turned up again in Tarantino's Kill Bill, and the writers include early Leone collaborator and future poliziotteschi genre cult figure Fernando Di Leo and twice Oscar nominated Ugo Pirro, who co-wrote Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion and The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, but like pretty much everyone else here, this is definitely not one of their better days.

While the UK DVD is cut because of one particularly nasty double-horse fall, the German Blu-ray is uncut and comes with an array of extras, including a trio of featurettes including interviews with assistant director Ruggero Deodato, co-star Nicoletta Machiavelli and Corbucci's widow, a location comparison, German trailer, stills gallery and booklet, but only the American trailer is English-friendly, the featurettes being primarily in Italian with German subtitles. The 2.35:1 transfer is okay but a little underwhelming, with English, Italian or German language options but only German subtitles.
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on 7 September 2009
Burt Reynolds is great as a Navajoe indian hunting down a gang of ruthless bandits who murdered his wife and wiped out his entire tribe.

Director Sergio Corbucci (Django, Great Silence) as usual gives us a solid film with fine action and a lively story to keep us all entertained.

Ennio Morricone scores the film and it is one of his best!!
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on 14 July 2009
This is certainly one of the better Spaghetti Western. Unusual for this genre, the hero in this film is an Indian, and played well by Burt Reynolds in one of his early parts. Spaghetti-Western-Background-Thug Aldo Sammbrell is a great villain and Ennio Morricone's score is excellent. Directed by the second best Sergio of Italien Horse-operas, Sergio Corbucci. Although it has been cut for animal cruelty, it's still highly recommended
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on 16 August 2015
Not A Career best for Burt but we'll let him off cos he was at the beginning of his film career here.
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on 4 January 2013
I've been scalped twice - yes, they grew back my flesh so they could wound me over - by a censor and then by a swindler! The Western Classics 'Navajo Joe' DVD I was sent is rated 15 on the DVD box, exactly the same as the picture of the DVD's front cover on this Amazon page; yet, the actual DVD is only rated PG.

Am I splitting hairs? No, I don't think so: one of the top five reasons I enjoy spaghetti westerns is the violence. Messing with my film watching in this way is no different to, say, replacing the Ennio Morricone music with the 'Hamster Dance'. I want the "strong violence, some bloody" that the censors promise. I want the violence for which this film is famous. I don't want to watch this film with my daughter; that is not why I ordered it.

Western Classics should really be more honest. Or maybe just more careful. Either way, they should label their products more accurately.
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on 14 February 2013
I know some critics liked this film, which is why I bought it -
as for me, it really wasn't worth the time spent watching -
long past its sell-by date.
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