Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1960s Five Man Army, The (1969)

Five Man Army, The (1969)

A better-than-average spaghetti western heist caper set in Mexico in 1914 where a quintet of mismatched men – rounded up by enigmatic loner, “the Dutchman” (Mission: Impossible star Peter Graves) – pool their resources to carry out a daring train robbery and steal $250,000 in gold to fund the revolution against the dictator Huerta

Each of the men has met the Dutchman somewhere, sometime in the past, and he has brought them together for their special skills: Luis Dominguez (Nino Castelnuovo) is a skilled acrobat, Nicolas Augustus (James Daly) is a genius with dynamite, outlaw Mesito (Bud Spencer) possesses almost superhuman strength, and the mute Japanese Samurai (Tetsuro Tamba) is an expert with a fine-edged sword and dart-like knives.

Their goal is to ingeniously – and silently – detach a rail car containing the shipment of gold. But the odds are heavily stacked against them and the treasure is heavily guarded by soldiers, machine guns and a cannon.

Arguably the high point of the film is a tension-filled, lung-busting sequence where Tetsuro Tamba’s samurai accidentally tumbles from the railroad cars and must make a seven-minute foot race, cutting across open fields, to catch up with and re-board the train.

The ending is full of double-crosses over the disposition of the loot and is devoid of surprises – but it’s been a fun ride along the way.

The film was shot on location in the Sierra Mountains of southern Spain and in Italy, with much of the action taking place in the rolling olive-clad Lazio hills near the little towns of Barbarano Romano and Civitella Cesi, north of Rome.

The story was co-written by future horror director Dario Argento.

Peter Graves
Captain Nicolas Augustus
James Daly
Bud Spencer
Tetsuro Tamba
Luis Dominguez
Nino Castelnuovo
Daniela Giordano
Annabella Andreoli
Carlo Alighiero

Don Taylor
Italo Zingarelli