he third and final film in Fernando Di Leo’s excellent Millieu trilogy, “Il Boss” of 1973 is an absolute masterpiece that easily ranks among the most brilliant Mafia films ever brought to screen. Director Di Leo had created one of Crime Cinema’s all-time highlights already with “Milano Calibro 9” in 1972, and while the succeeding “La Mala Ordina” (aka.) “Manhunt” from the same year was still excellent, but slightly inferior, “Il Boss” equals the brilliance of the first film. Unlike its two predecessors, which played in Milan, “Il Boss” takes place in Palermo, Sicily. The film which begins with a memorably brutal opening sequence already, delivers raw action and excessive violence as well as a very realistic insight into corruption and organized crime. The film is tough-minded and uncompromising from the very beginning, and the characters, all of which are brutal, immoral and violent differ not in their moral values, but just in their toughness. The stone-faced Henry Silva in the lead alone makes this film an absolute must-see for every lover of crime cinema. Silva makes the toughest and most charismatic Mafia hit-man ever to have appeared on screen in his leading role of Nick Lanzetta, and the doubtlessly greatest role ever played by Silva, generally one of the greatest actors in Italian crime cinema.
This film, which revolves around power struggles and a kidnapping within Sicily’s organized crime, delivers tons of raw action and sadistic violence as well as fine portion of criticism of social circumstances and corruption. Apart from that, it also has a unique atmosphere and gives a stunning and immensely realistic portrayal of the power struggles within the mafia. “Il Boss” is a film of superb, ruthless characters, and equally superb performances. As mentioned above, Henry Silva is one of my favorite actors and he is absolutely brilliant in the leading role of Nick Lanzetta here. Lanzetta is arguably THE toughest Mafia-hit-man character in Cinema-history, and Silva is the perfect, no, the ONLY choice to play the role. Yes, this truly is a film that makes it hard not to talk in superlatives all the time. The other performances are entirely great too, be it Richard Conte as a Mafia Boss, Pier Paolo Capponi, or Spaghetti Western star Gianni Garko, who is excellent in the role of a sleazy corrupt police detective. The ravishing beauty Antonia Santilli is also superb in the female lead as a seductive mobster’s daughter, for unknown reasons she sadly didn’t appear in too many other films. The brilliant score by Luis Enríquez Bacalov contributes a lot to the film ingenious atmosphere and general mood. Brutal, Tough-Minded and absolutely brilliant “Il Boss” is a personal favorite of mine that easily ranks among the greatest Mafia-flicks ever made! I could go on praising this film for a long time, but I will just finish my review with a recommendation: Watch this film as soon as you can! This is Italian genre-cinema at its finest, and an absolute must see for every lover of Cult-cinema!