- 1 hr 58 min
In Companeros, two men from very different worlds find themselves forced to work together in a desperate struggle against a common enemy. The film, released in 1970, follows the adventures of Yodlaf Peterson (Franco Nero), a Swedish mercenary, and Vasco (Tomas Milian), a Mexican outlaw, as they team up to steal a cache of gold from the ruthless General Mongo (Fernando Rey).
The story begins with Peterson arriving in Mexico, hired by the revolutionary leader Generalissimo Mendoza (played by Jose Bodalo) to assist in the fight against General Mongo's forces. In a twist of fate, Peterson is captured by Vasco and his gang of bandits, who mistake him for a spy. Once they realize their mistake, Vasco and his men decide to keep Peterson around as an ally in their own schemes.
As the trio of unlikely companions travel through the Mexican countryside, they encounter a colorful cast of characters, including a group of indigenous rebels, a vengeance-seeking widow, and a hapless American arms dealer played by Jack Palance. Along the way, they engage in shootouts, fistfights, and even a memorable game of Russian roulette, all while dodging General Mongo's soldiers and trying to stay one step ahead of each other's schemes.
Despite their differences in background and motivation, Peterson and Vasco eventually develop a grudging respect for one another as they face increasingly dire circumstances. While Peterson is initially more concerned with personal gain, he gradually comes to find a sense of purpose in the revolutionary cause. Vasco, meanwhile, finds himself confronting the painful realities of his own past as he confronts General Mongo, the man responsible for his family's death.
Companeros was directed by the Italian filmmaker Sergio Corbucci, one of the masters of the spaghetti western genre. Like many of Corbucci's films, it features a mix of action, humor, and social commentary. The film's message about the futility of war and the need for unity in the face of oppression is delivered with a light touch, thanks to the chemistry between Nero and Milian, who bring a sense of playfulness and charm to their performances.
In addition to its two charismatic leads, Companeros boasts an impressive supporting cast, including Fernando Rey as the villainous General Mongo, who sneers his way through the role with oily relish. Jack Palance, meanwhile, is a delight as the shady arms dealer John, bringing a sardonic wit to his scenes.
The film's visuals are also a highlight, with Corbucci and his cinematographer Alejandro Ulloa making excellent use of the Mexican landscape. The dusty, sun-baked towns and rugged desert terrain add an extra layer of authenticity and atmosphere to the film's gritty tale.
Though Companeros may not be as well-known as some other spaghetti westerns, it remains a beloved cult classic for fans of the genre. Its blend of humor, action, and social commentary make it a unique entry in the western canon, and its performances and visuals stand the test of time. Whether you're a die-hard fan of the spaghetti western or just looking for a fun, entertaining adventure, Companeros is a film well worth checking out.
Companeros is a 1970 action movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 58 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.3.