The Sicilian (1987)

R   |    |  Action, Crime, Drama

The Sicilian (1987) Poster

Egocentric bandit Salvatore Giuliano fights the Church, the Mafia, and the landed gentry while leading a populist movement for Sicilian independence.



  • Christopher Lambert and Barbara Sukowa in The Sicilian (1987)
  • Christopher Lambert and Barbara Sukowa in The Sicilian (1987)
  • Christopher Lambert and Barbara Sukowa in The Sicilian (1987)
  • Christopher Lambert and John Turturro in The Sicilian (1987)
  • Christopher Lambert and Michael Cimino in The Sicilian (1987)
  • Joss Ackland in The Sicilian (1987)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews

25 May 2016 | jamesleggio-40957
| Go Back to 1962
One of the underlying problems with Michael Cimino's film is that it makes the remarkable Sicilian countryside do too much of the narrative work. If you were to watch the film with the sound turned off -- saving you from the stilted dialogue and the gushy score -- you might think much better of the whole enterprise, so powerful is the photography of those rugged mountains and steep canyons. But everything is so visually splendid that it undermines any sense that the poor are actually suffering and starving out there. A travelogue does not always make for good storytelling. And, of course, the pan-and-scan version, the only one currently available on DVD, chops out most of the landscape, limiting the impact of the movie's visual achievement.

Another problem for Cimino's film is that there's actually a much better version of the same story from an earlier director. Few people seem to be aware of the earlier treatment. In 1962, the great Italian director Francesco Rosi released his superb version under the title "Salvatore Giuliano." It's in black and white, but gloriously so. The massacre of the peasants in Rosi's version is one of the most heartbreaking and dramatically memorable sequences in the history of Italian film. And throughout, the dark ambiguity of the main character remains consistently compelling, within a far more complex storytelling mode than Cimino's surprisingly straightforward Hollywood-inflected retelling. The Rosi film deserves to be much better known.

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