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  • Writer's pictureGabe Powers

$10,000 Blood Money Blu-ray Review

Arrow Video

Blu-ray Release: July 25, 2023 (as part of the Blood Money collection)

Video: 2.35:1/1080p/Color

Audio: Italian and English LPCM 2.0 Mono

Subtitles: English

Run Time: 97:25

Director: Romolo Guerrieri

Note: This Blu-ray is currently only available as part of Arrow’s Blood Money: Four Western Classics, Vol. 2 four-movie collection, which also includes Giovanni Fago's Vengeance is Mine (1967; a.k.a. $100,000 for a Killing), Giuliano Carnimeo's Find a Place to Die (1968), and Cesare Canevari's Matalo! (1970).

Django (Gianni Garko) is on the trail of bandit Manuel Vasquez (Claudio Camaso), but, what started as a job for hire, soon turns personal with Django swearing vengeance against the unscrupulous outlaw. (From Arrow’s official synopsis)

Sergio Corbucci’s Django (1966) was an almost unprecedented phenomenon, eclipsed only by Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars (Italian: Per un pugno di dollari, 1964). Both Clint Eastwood’s ‘Man with No Name’ character – a misnomer, since his name is Joe – and Franco Nero’s Django became character templates (both were loosely based on Toshiro Mifune’s Sanjuro from Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo [1961] and Sanjuro [1962]), but Joe doesn’t have the same marquee appeal to it as Django, so Django became the preferred alias of spaghetti western protagonists and antiheroes for the next decade-plus. Nero himself wasn’t interested in reprising his role and wouldn’t for more than 20 years when he appeared in Ted Archer’s Django Strikes Again (Italian: Django 2 – Il grande ritorno, 1987). Still, plenty of other up-and-coming actors were happy to don the title to get a foot in the door and some of them even rode the faux-Django train to their own successfully franchises, such as Trinity actor Terence Hill (aka: Mario Girotti) who appeared in Ferdinando Baldi’s Django Prepare a Coffin (Italian: Preparati la bara! and aka: Viva Django!, 1968), and Gianni Garko, who played ‘Django’ in Romolo Guerrieri's $10,000 Blood Money (Italian: 10,000 dollari per un massacro, 1967) the year prior to breaking out as a separate character, Sartana, in Gianfranco Parolini’s ...If You Meet Sartana Pray for Your Death (Italian: Se incontri Sartana prega per la tua morte, 1968).

The issue with making an unauthorized Django sequel is that Django’s story comes to a satisfactory end, not to mention that he’s left irreparable crippled, so $10,000 Blood Money does the next best thing by co-opting the easily serialized adventures of The Man with No Name, who is explicitly a bounty hunter in two of his three movies. So we’re left with an Eastwood type using a Franco Nero name fighting a bandit played by Claudio Camaso (aka: Claudio Volonte), the real-life brother of Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More (Italian: Per qualche dollaro in più, 1965) villain Gian Maria Volonte. This was Camaso’s first western appearance and his mimicry of his brother’s trademarks is borderline embarrassing in the way it draws attention to the film's shameless pastiche approach. He later managed to develop his own personality for similar roles in Armando Crispino’s John the Bastard (Italian: John il bastardo, 1967), Giovanni Fago’s Vengeance is Mine (Italian: Per 100.000 dollari t'ammazzo, 1967), and Antonio Margheriti’s Vengeance (Italian: Joko invoca Dio... e muori, 1968). Garko (birth name Giovanni Garcovich) is the main focus, however, and succeeds where other Eastwood and Nero stand-ins fail by aping their brands of cool without sacrificing his own distinct appeal as a star.

The Sartana character, as seen in …If You Meet Sartana Pray for Your Death, actually ends up having more in common with the original Django than $10,000 Blood Money’s ‘Django.’ From his faux-Union jacket and hat to his hidden arsenal of weaponry, Sartana is sort of like the James Bond of spaghetti western heroes, whereas the character Garko is playing in Guerrieri’s film is basically The Man with No Name. Interestingly, the name Sartana was taken from Garko’s first western, Alberto Cardone’s $1,000 on the Black (Italian: 1000 dollari sul nero, 1966), in which he plays foil to Anthony Steffen and is also named Sartana. It’s obviously a different character, but producers really liked the name, so it was reused when they built a new franchise starter around Garko. He’s not an obscure figure to Italian genre fans, but Garko’s skills are still too often overlooked and new viewers can actually get a good idea of his range and charm between the two Sartanas and his Man with No Name/Django hybrid character here.

As lead director, Guerrieri made three westerns and every one of them were designed as spurious follow-ups to popular hits. They other two were Johnny Yuma (1966), so titled to evoke Corbucci’s Johnny Oro (1966)*, and Seven Magnificent Guns (Italian: 7 magnifiche pistole, 1966), a rather obvious cash-in on John Sturges’ The Magnificent Seven (1960), itself a western remake of Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (1954). As an assistant, he backed up Corbucci on Minnesota Clay (1964) and Alfonso Balcázar’s Five Thousand Dollars on One Ace (Italian: Pistoleros de Arizona, 1965), and co-wrote Enzo G. Castellari’s Any Gun Can Play (which is the best western on his CV; Italian: Vado... l'ammazzo e torno, 1967), but his greatest contribution to Italian cult cinema was as the director of The Sweet Body of Deborah (Italian: Il dolce corpo di Deborah, 1968), a pre-Argento thriller that helped introduce giallo audiences to Carol Baker, Jean Sorel, and Evelyn Stewart. While generic in terms of its story, characters, and even set-pieces, you can see the roots of The Sweet Body of Deborah in $10,000 Blood Money’s moody visuals, intermittently macabre sense of humor, and an achingly tragic turn of events as the film enters its final act.

Garko is surrounded by some of the early spaghetti era’s biggest stars. $10,000 Blood Money was actress Loredana Nusciak’s direct follow-up to her star-making role in Django (she’s the main thing that ties this film to Corbucci’s), though she had already appeared in Alfonso Balcázar’s Man from Canyon City (Italian: L'uomo che viene da Canyon City, 1965) and Alberto Cardone’s Seven Dollars to Kill (Italian: 7 dollari sul rosso, 1966), which also featured $10,000 Blood Money co-star Fernando Sancho. Sancho was almost certainly the most prolific Euro-western actor of the pre-’70s era, beginning with Joaquín Luis Romero Marchent’s Zorro the Avenger (Spanish: La venganza del Zorro), all the way back in 1962. It’s difficult to narrow down his biggest films, but highlights include Minnesota Clay, Duccio Tessari’s A Pistol for Ringo (Italian: Una pistola per Ringo, 1965) and The Return of Ringo (Italian: Il ritorno di Ringo, 1965), Sergio Sollima’s The Big Gundown (Italian: La Resa dei Conti, 1966), and ..If You Meet Sartana Pray for Your Death.

* Outside of Italy, Johnny Oro was retitled Ringo and his Golden Pistol in hopes of convincing audiences that it was a sequel to Tessari’s Ringo movies.


  • Once Upon A Time in the Italian West: The Filmgoers' Guide to Spaghetti Westerns by Howard Hughes (I.B. Tauris, 2006)

  • Spaghetti Westerns – The Good, the Bad and the Violent: A Comprehensive, Illustrated Filmography of 558 Eurowesterns and Their Personnel, 1961-1977 by Thomas Weisser (McFarland, 2005)

  • 10,000 Ways to Die: A Director's Take on the Spaghetti Western by Alex Cox (Kamera Books, 2009)


$10,000 Blood Money was dubbed for international distribution, but doesn’t appear to have ever made its way to North American theaters or VHS tape. It was released on DVD via French company Artus Films and German company Koch, both without either an English language dub or subtitles, so the best option for stateside viewers were budget label discs and semi-legal streaming options with VHS-quality transfers. I don’t have the retail box-set on hand, so I don’t have access to Arrow’s official description of the remastering process, but the advertising claims that every movie in this Blood Money collection has been remastered in 2K from the original 35mm camera negatives. The general quality matches expectations for other cheaply made, rediscovered spaghetti westerns that aren’t given a complete, top to bottom 4K makeover. Detail and texture is nice with only a slight smudgey sheen and small print damage artifacts (close-ups look fantastic). Grain levels are good for a 2K scan and relatively clean, aside from the haziest shots. The palette is entirely naturalistic and made up of browns, tans, and occasional greens or blues; again, matching expectations.


$10,000 Blood Money is presented with English and Italian dub options, both in uncompressed LPCM mono sound. As per usual, the film was shot without sound and all language tracks are dubbed, so your choice of track comes down to taste and performance. In this case, I slightly prefer English voice actors (who sometimes speak Spanish) and think that the lip sync works surprisingly well, considering the majority of the cast is speaking Italian on set (whoever is dubbing Loredana Nusciak is especially smart to give her character a French [?] accent). The English dub also has slightly better sound quality, because the Italian track has some warped bits. Composer, choir director, and soloist Nora Orlandi’s score is very Morricone-esque, borrowing extensively from the style of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in particular, but still has its own flair and unique melodies, especially the haunting bells and Mexican-style trumpet of the main title theme.


  • Commentary by author and film historian Lee Broughton – The author of The Euro-Western: Reframing Gender, Race and the Other in Film (I.B. Tauris, 2016) and Critical Perspectives on the Western: From A Fistful of Dollars to Django Unchained (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016) takes a wide view on the genre for this commentary and discusses the larger impact of spaghetti westerns, especially Sergio Leone’s films, the careers/lives of the cast & crew, repeating spaghetti character types and themes, and the history of “Django” movies.

  • A Shaman in the West (10:05, HD) – A new introduction from Professor of History of Italian cinema at University for Foreigners of Perugia (Italy), journalist, and film critic, Fabio Melelli, who helps contextualize $10,000 Blood Money in the unofficial Django pantheon.

  • Tears of Django (21:58, HD) – Newly-edited archival interviews with director Romolo Guerrieri and star Gianni Garko. Each man talks about their careers, focusing on their western output, but not specifically on $10,000 Blood Money.

  • The Producer Who Didn't Like Western Movies (14:18, HD) – Producer Mino Loy takes a brutally honest, nitty gritty look back on the making and distribution of $10,000 Blood Money.

  • How the West Was Won (19:21, HD) – Screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi chats about $10,000 Blood Money, the production line-like writing processes, the films that influenced his plot, interactions with the cast & crew, and the untimely, tragic death of Camaso.

  • Theatrical trailer

  • Image gallery

The images on this page are taken from the BD and sized for the page. Larger versions can be viewed by clicking the images. Note that there will be some JPG compression.



Jul 26, 2023

Damn, I thought it was my machine, a too damn expensive one. Yes, I have the same issue. I contacted Arrow just now and am waiting for a reply. Bad that this happened, but I am glad it is the 10,000 BLOOD MONEY disk and not my new machine.


Marc Cerasini
Marc Cerasini
Jul 26, 2023

Why have you not reported on TEARS OF DJANGO subtitle issue? The featurette loses its captions eight minutes in. Unless you speak Italian you don't know what is said after that. I have traded sets and tested on three machines, PLUS I spoke to others with the same issue. This is an expensive set and a replacement disk should be issued.

Gabe Powers
Gabe Powers
Jul 26, 2023
Replying to

That's the only movie in this particular set I had seen before. Hopefully have a review next week.

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