The revolution!? Don’t try to tell me about the revolution! I know all about the revolutions and how they start! The people that read the books, they go to people that don’t read the books -the poor people- and say: “Hoho! the time has come to have a change eh!” […] I know what I’m talking about when I’m talking about the revolutions. […] So the poor people make the change, eh… And then the people that read the books, they all sit around the big polished table and they talk and talk and talk and eat and eat and eat eh… But what has happened to the poor people? THEY’RE DEAD!!! That’s your revolution… So please, don’t tell me about revolutions.

A Fistful of Dynamite by Sergio Leone, Italy, 1971

This is a loose transcription. It’s way more interesting to watch Juan, the Mexican bandit interpreted by Rod Steiger, as he delivers the “speech revolution” to the Irish explosive expert (James Coburn):

The film is also known as Duck, You Sucker! and as Once Upon a Time, the Revolution:

The film was originally released in America as “A Fistful of Dynamite,” which, in addition to sounding unimaginative, cheapens Leone’s reverberations of tragedy and loss in this film. (Leone contended that “Duck, You Sucker” was a common American colloquialism.) In Christopher Frayling’s compelling 2000 Leone biography, “Something to Do With Death,” one of the proposed titles for “Sucker” is revealed: “Once Upon a Time, the Revolution.” This title was dropped when someone believed that Leone’s opus might be confused with a film directed by a former Leone collaborator, Bernardo Bertolucci, “Before the Revolution.” That film was about political angst in postwar Italy. It’s almost as absurd and touching as this film that anyone assumed such confusion could take place. (The New York Times: “Leone Classic, Liberated at Last From Television” by Elvis Mitchell, November 21, 2003).

Previously: On Revolt: Kropotkin, Camus, Bataille, Arendt, Žižek


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