Also known as: Da uomo a uomo, lit. As Man to Man (Italy)
Release Date: August 31st, 1967 (Italy)
Directed by: Giulio Petroni
Written by: Luciano Vincenzoni
Music by: Ennio Morricone
Cast: Lee Van Cleef, John Phillip Law, Luigi Pistilli, Anthony Dawson, Jose Torres, Mario Brega
Produzione Esecutiva Cinematografica (P.E.C.), Sancro International Film, Titanus Distribuzione, United Artists, 120 Minutes (Italy), 114 Minutes (USA)
I know I’ve been reviewing a lot of spaghetti westerns lately but that’s where my heads been at. And honestly, there are several that are considered classics that I am trying to get my hands on and see.
I have seen Death Rides A Horse. However, it has been a really long time. The reason being, is that I used to own it on VHS but I no longer have a working VCR. I’ve tried to track down a good quality version on DVD or Blu-ray for awhile, to no avail. I had to settle for the crappy quality DVD, as there doesn’t seem to be a remastered edition in the US. The visual quality of the trailer linked below is infinitely better than any copy of the film I have been able to find on DVD or streaming online.
The reason I bring up the quality issue is that it has a very negative impact on the film. Luckily, I have the patience to sit through it but the average film viewer wouldn’t have gotten through the opening sequence. Additionally, the audio is atrocious. I hope someone remasters this thing or releases a better quality version in the States.
In regards to the movie itself, Lee Van Cleef is perfection. John Phillip Law is good as the vengeance seeking Bill. The cast is rounded out with Luigi Pistilli and Mario Brega (both from The Good, The Bad & The Ugly).
Death Rides A Horse follows a young man (John Phillip Law) seeking revenge against the gang that raped and murdered his family. He confronts them one-by-one and finds an unlikely ally (and rival) in Lee Van Cleef’s Ryan.
The film is accompanied by the most recognizable Ennio Morricone theme song not associated with a Sergio Leone picture. It was one of the many great Morricone themes recycled by Quentin Tarantino over the years.
Ultimately, this is a really good spaghetti western. It is severely hurt by the poor quality of the DVD and streaming releases. It is a classic in certain respects but it is unfortunately, almost unwatchable.