Nicola Palmieri is a cop who tries in every way to fight a crime
wave that hit Rome. His efforts are an explosive mixture. And we
don’t say that as common saying, because this movie is really
explosive. Bullets. Cars explosions. Dead. Violence. So much violence.
Starting from the basic idea of poliziottesco, taking a few ideas
from Sam Peckinpah, adding a westerns style, action and especially his
mastery, Enzo G. Castellari created in 1976 one of his best movies and,
we would add, one of the most exciting chapters of genre cinema.
From the opening scenes the viewer is in the middle of the pure action
and in a ruthless story. A long series of events that never end, with
some physiological moment of connection, that arrive to daze the
viewer. Excessive? Undoubtedly yes, but the movie reaches its goal
showing an unfiltered violence and wickedness of mankind. The best
action Italian director seals this work with some scenes technically
perfect. The car that ends up in a slope and especially the shooting
scene in the railway station and the final showdown. The soundtrack of
the De Angelis brothers, a psychedelic rock manages to add that
finishing touch that makes "The Big Racket" a major work.
Ruthless as the story was also the famous critique of Morando Morandini
who wrote at time that this is a fascist movie, abject and idiot.
Undoubtedly Castellari here is populist, he talks with e to instinct of
the people, using the chronicles of the time (after all the films are
also made to attract audiences) but at the same time criticizes the
powers and corrupt institutions. In the second part of the story there
is the classic "self-made justice" that brings together a group of
heterogeneous people with no future that represent various aspects of
It seems to us, that in this movie there isn’t any ideology, but
only entertainment. Which among other things, to confirm everything,
generates some simplification in the story, just to push ahead the
story, with the action that takes all the time to deepen the characters
especially in the case of Commissioner Nicola Palmieri of which we know
Instead we learn something more from the others character and
especially that between the bad guys, if we could say unique case in
poliziottesco, there is a woman who for once is not the classic a
victim but the most ruthless members of gang of the Marsigliese.
The cast is made up of a number of experienced actors of genre cinema,
which although interpret only superficially characters efficiently
reach their goal. It could not be different with Fabio Testi as
commissioner Palmieri, which seems a bit 'naive considering that relies
heavily on law and later became the leader of the avengers group who
operate outside the law. At his side we find Vincent Gardenia nominated
twice for an Oscar for "Best Supporting Actor" ("Bang the drum slowly"
in 1973 and "Moonstruck" in 1987) and won an "Emmy Awards", an
extraordinary Renzo Palmer, a glacial Romano Puppo, Glauco Onorato and
Orso Maria Guerrini.
It could not be better even in the gang of bad guys with the leader
Rudy "Il Marsigliese" (Joshua Sinclair) which takes orders, from the
lawyer Giuni (Antonio Marsina). Together they lead a group of criminals
played by actors as Giovanni Cianfriglia, Roberto Dell'Acqua, Massimo
Vanni and Marcella Michelangeli, the latter in the character most
treacherous of all history.
This gang asks to the Roman for protection money. Burning shops beat
the owners, threatening to kill and those who dared to cooperate with
the police raping his teenage daughter. They have no limits. They are
bold and confident. Commissioner Palmieri tries to stop them using the
law, but the same seems to favor the criminals protected by some
important people. There is nothing that works against them. Tail,
infiltrator or whatever. Anything.
After several attempts and after losing some colleagues and
collaborators, Palmieri leave the police and organizing a group of
people who have an open account with il marsigliese. This is the
birth of group consisting of a restaurant owner (Renzo Palmer) became a
psychopath after the band rapes his daughter, by a robber/crook
of good manners (Vincent Gardenia), a former owner of gambling
house (Glauco Onorato), a robber in Lutring style (Romano Puppo) and by
a man whom the gang raped and killed his wife (Orso Maria Guerrini).
With their Palmieri organizes a showdown picking them in the middle of
an underworld meeting. An epilogue in western style and stylistically
perfect that framing "The Big Racket".