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Film / Compañeros

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Compañeros, also known as Vamos a matar, compañeros, is a 1970 Spaghetti Western directed by Sergio Corbucci. It stars Franco Nero, Tomas Milian, Jack Palance, Fernando Rey, Iris Berben and Jose Bodalo.

During the Mexican Revolution, in the town of San Bernradino, a peasant known as El Vasco (Milian) kills the army colonel in charge. A rebel leader named General Mongo (Bodalo) arrives and hires Vasco into his gang, but Mongo is Only in It for the Money. A Swedish arms dealer named Yodlaf Peterson (Nero) arrives on the scene to sell guns to Mongo, but the safe is locked and only Professor Xantos (Rey) knows the combination. So Mongo suggests that Vasco and Peterson, whom Vasco dubs "Pinguino", work together to capture Xantos and bring him back. But the two face obstruction from Peterson's old business partner, John (Palance), who wants revenge on Peterson for abandoning him.

This movie provides examples of:

  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Mongo begs for his life as Peterson, Vasco and Xantos corner him. They let him go free, but he's shot dead by the other revolutionaries anyway
  • An Arm and a Leg: Peterson left John to die on a crucifix in Cuba and John's pet falcon had to set him free by pecking his right hand off.
  • Artificial Limbs: John's wooden hand.
  • Anti-Hero: Vasco and Peterson.
  • Badass in Distress: Both Vasco and Peterson need to be saved by each other during the film.
  • Bad Habits: Vasco and Peterson disguise themselves as monks to sneak Xantos away in a coffin.
  • Bandito: On the villainous side, Mongo. On the (anti)-heroic side, Vasco, who is one of his mercenaries when he and Peterson first meet.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: General Mongo, a tyrant who exploits his followers for his own profit, and John, who wants revenge on Peterson.
  • Big Good: Professor Xantos, the leader of The Resistance.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Peterson and Xantos communicate in Swedish when they're camping together. In the next scene when Vasco is tied to a rock he's screaming for help in broken Spanish.
  • *Click* Hello: Lola does this to Vasco and Peterson while holding up the train.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Xantos goes down threatening John even though his gun was unloaded.
  • Fat Bastard: Mongo.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Vasco once he realises the cause worth fighting for.
  • How We Got Here: The movie starts with Lola running out of the church to the railway tracks and finding Vasco and Peterson at a standoff with one another. The rest of the movie tells the story of how they got to this point and what happens next.
  • Laughing Mad: Peterson when he finds out that the safe contains no money, but crops and soil.
  • Lean and Mean: John.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Professor Xantos is killed at the end of the film.
  • Motive Rant: Vasco gives one to Xantos, arguing that the revolutionary system is corrupt no matter what.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Vasco (meaning "Basque"), is almost never addressed as "Modesto". He also knows Peterson only as "Pinguino".
  • Overly Long Name: Vasco's real name is Modesto Servando Iruretagoyena.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: Ultimately the film's message.
  • Showdown at High Noon: Subverted. Vasco and Peterson end up aiming for John's Mooks.
  • Sleep Cute: While on the train to go and find Xantos, Vasco and Peterson doze in their seats, with Vasco resting his head on Peterson's shoulder.
  • Sliding Scale of Cynicism vs. Idealism: When it comes to the Revolution, it's very much on the idealistic side.
  • Stab the Scorpion: The final standoff between Vasco and Peterson had them drawing guns on each other, firing at the same time... and gunning down two of John's mooks sneaking up on them.
  • With Friends Like These...: Vasco and Peterson are always selling each other out when they're not saving each other.