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The Great Silence (1968)
"Il grande silenzio" (original title)

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A mute gunfighter defends a young widow and a group of outlaws against a gang of bounty killers in the winter of 1898, and a grim, tense struggle unfolds.



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Complete credited cast:
Gordon / Silence (as Jean Louis Trintignant)
Frank Wolff ...
Carlo D'Angelo ...
Governor of Utah (as Carlo D' Angelo)
Marisa Merlini ...
Maria Mizar ...
Miguel's Mother
Marisa Sally ...
Silence's Mother in Flashback
Raf Baldassarre ...
Spartaco Conversi ...
Remo De Angelis ...
Fake Sheriff in Flashback
Mirella Pamphili ...
Saloon Girl
Pauline Middleton (as Vonetta Mc Gee)


Bounty killers led by Loco prey on outlaws hiding out in the snowbound Utahn mountains. After Pauline's husband becomes Loco's latest victim, she hires a gunman for revenge; Silence, mute since his throat was cut when he was a boy. Written by Tom Seldon <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Parents Guide:






Release Date:

19 November 1968 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

The Great Silence  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The snow in the town of Snow Hill was created by gallons of shaving cream. See more »


On the map in the governor's office, the state of Nevada is identified as Utah. See more »


Regina: A hard- working man like you should be served by a lady, like me.
Sheriff Burnett: Yeah, I guess. Pretty good coffee. But it tastes a lot nicer if you'd come on over and pour it for me.
Tigrero, a.k.a. Loco: That's a big request, sheriff. She waits on the whole west territory of the U.S. and Mexico.
See more »


Featured in The Spaghetti West (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

They died with their coats on
30 July 1998 | by (Canterbury, England) – See all my reviews

In a traditional Western one instantly knows who the good and who the bad guys are, and - of course - we also know who will triumph at the end (the good guys, of course). In a typical Italian Western we still know instantly who's going to win at the end, just the distinction between good guys and bad guys is rather blurred. Il Grande Silenzio is not a typical Italian Western. We know instantly that e.g. Klaus Kinski is one of the bad guys (frankly, we know that before the film starts but that's beside the point), but the final outcome is much less predictable, and if you tried to predict it the actual ending may come as a huge shock.

The title of the film is ambiguous, both referring to the grandiosity of the character played by Jean-Louis Trintignant (called 'silence' since he's mute) and the silence of the winter landscape in which the film is set and the silence of the death.

Yes, the silence of death: the German title of the film ('Leichen pflastern seinen Weg', translation: 'his path is paved with corpses') is also ambiguous, since 'his' could equally apply to both main characters. However, the violence is never gratuitous, it is bleak: most of the victims have faces and a story behind them. Il Grande Silenzio is surprisingly little known but highly regarded amongst genre lovers (including me). As in so many Italian Western, Ennio Morricone's score is a great asset, perfectly assessing and supporting the general mood. This is easily one of the five finest Italian Western ever made, and I'd feel hard pressed to name more than 2 of the others.

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