Django [Limited Edition] – 4K UHD Blu-ray Review

Amazon Commissions Earned


Film Title: Django (1966)
Release Date: 2021
Rating: NOT RATED
Runtime: 92 mins. (Django), 92 min. (Texas, Adios)
Region Coding: Region Free
Distributor: Arrow Video
Audio Format: Italian & English DTS-HD MA 1.0 Mono
High Dynamic Range: HDR10, Dolby Vision
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 (Django), 2.35:1 (Texas, Adios)
Version Reviewed: 4K UHD Blu-ray Limited Edition
Amazon Commissions Earned
Release Date: 6/1/21
Director: Sergio Corbucci
Cast: Franco Nero, Loredana Nusciak, Gino Pernice, Ángel Álvarez, José Bódalo, Simón Arriaga, Remo De Angelis

Jump to Sections:
Movie | Video | Audio | Bonus | Closing | Screenshots
Full 4K Tech Specs found at the bottom

click to view a 4K Screenshot

The Movie

“Django” was a 1966 spaghetti western directed by Sergio Corbucci. Italian filmmaker Corbucci was best known for directing films like “Navajo Joe” (1966), “The Cruel Ones” (1967), “The Great Silence” (1968), “The Mercenary” (1968), “Companeros” (1970), “High Rollers” (1976), and “Odds and Evens” (1978). A lot of those films starred the very same actor as this film [Django] and that was Franco Nero. Hell, even Burt Reynolds starred in one of Corbucci’s spaghetti westerns [Navajo Joe] also in 1966.

Sergio Corbucci co-wrote the story for “Django” (1966) as well as co-wrote the screenplay with his brother Bruno Corbucci. The original Italian screenplay also received some contributions from co-writers Franco Rossetti and Piero Vivarelli.

The story here, which takes place right after the Civil War has ended in America, involves a mysterious loner, “Django” (Franco Nero), who first comes across two gangs, Mexican revolutionaries and a Klan of Southern racists, both trying to kill a prostitute. Needless to say, Django manages to rescue the woman named “Maria” (Loredana Nusciak) and the two make their way to a nearby town. The muddy little town doesn’t have a whole lot going on, aside from at the local Saloon.

As Django drags a coffin behind him, and Maria follows, the two make their way into the small town and are immediately being spied on by a man referred to as “Brother Jonathan” (Gino Pernice) working for the Southern racists. Once they arrive at the Saloon, Django asks the bartender “Nathanial” (Ángel Álvarez) if he can provide a room for the woman. It takes some convincing, considering she’s a prostitute and he runs a brothel, but Django manages to talk Nathanial into letting Maria get a room.

Meanwhile, across town, the red hood-wearing Klan of southern racists are taking out their anger on those of a different race. The Klan is run by a man named “Major Jackson” (Eduardo Fajardo) who it would seem fought for the losing side during The Civil War and doesn’t want to admit loss. So, he and his group of racists try to kill as many Mexicans as they can. However, Major Jackson has a threat on his hands, and not just from Django, as there’s a group of Mexican revolutionaries that are fighting for the territory. Let’s just say that Django and these two groups will have it out, so to speak, by the time the film ends.

This spaghetti western features some really intense action and gets really violent near the end. In fact, the film was actually banned for like 20 years in the UK (United Kingdom). It’s a cult classic and probably one of the better of the Italian westerns (spaghetti westerns) out there. If you’ve never seen the original 1966 film “Django” and are a fan of the western genre, this is a film you need to see.

Movie Rating: 5 (out of 5)


click to view a 4K Screenshot

Video Quality

“Django” on 4K UHD Blu-ray is presented in the original 1.66:1 aspect ratio. Looking back on it, as mentioned in the included audio commentary, the 1.66:1 aspect ratio was a bit of a unique choice for Sergio Corbucci to have used on this film, as the majority of films back in those days where spaghetti western used a more wide scope and aspect ratio. Instead of getting black bars at the top and bottom, with this 1.66:1 aspect ratio, you get things framed up where you get slight black bars on the sides of the screen. It’s something that I have always enjoyed about this visual style of the film itself. It sets it apart from other films like those directed by Sergio Leone or even the other films the star of this, actor Franco Nero, starred in such as “Texas, Adios” (1966) or Keoma (1976).

This 4K presentation comes in HDR10 and Dolby Vision forms of high dynamic range. I found that the movie hits bitrates as high as 105Mbps and seems to run an amazing average of around 90Mbps for a good part of the film. You’ll see it hit over 100Mbps pretty often if you’re into that sort of technical information. This is very impressive, if you’re not the technical type, just know that about what I’m saying.

Next, let me get technical, for a bit, in regards to the 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc itself here. This release is using a BD-100 (100 gigabytes) disc, 86.8 gigabytes total, and 65.3 gigabytes for the film itself. Let’s take a look at the previous Arrow Video 2018 Blu-ray Disc release of the film. That release was using a BD-50 (50 gigabytes) disc, 43.97 gigabytes total, and 25.2 gigabytes for the film itself.

NOTE: I am having to use an unreleased preproduction disc for that Blu-ray for comparison purposes. There’s a very slight chance that the eventual 2018 release used different tech specs. However, it should serve as enough comparison for these purposes.

Next, I want to do a visual comparison here between the original Blu-ray and the 4K UHD Blu-ray. Instead of just offering you the still screenshots for both the more recent 2018 Blu-ray Disc and the new 2021 4K UHD Blu-ray releases, I’ll be [back to] giving you some video slideshow screenshots comparison over on the site’s YouTube channel, embedded below. Also, though, for those who want to see more Blu-ray VS. 4K screenshots, click the text above screenshots.

Blu-ray VS. 4K Screenshots Comparison:

SOURCES: 2018 Arrow Video Blu-ray (left), 2021 4K UHD Blu-ray (right)

It is really just as simple as this, “Django” on 4K UHD Blu-ray is visually flawless and looks downright spectacular. There’s an exceptional amount of film grain left intact here, and a sheer abundance of detail to be found throughout, most definitely in facial close-ups that the film has a great deal of. The black level is perfectly solid, colors here with high dynamic range can pop in a good way, flesh tones appear more accurate, and it’s just an excellent 4K visual presentation of a spaghetti western classic. There’s occasionally a tiny little bit of dirt or debris that might pop up but it adds character to this, and delivers a more theatrical presentation, given it is a modern home theater.

Do not expect this movie to look rough and gritty and such, as it comes across as brilliantly exceeding in-depth and detail in every unforgettable and perfectly framed scene. This is the best you have ever seen the movie look, and the 4K restoration effort that Arrow Video has released here on 4K via this Limited Edition is the sheer definition of excellence. This is how a catalog film should look in 4K with HDR. That being said, “Django” in its debut to the 4K UHD Blu-ray format earns itself a 5 out of 5 for video quality.

Video Quality Rating: 5 (out of 5)


click to view a 4K Screenshot

Audio Quality

“Django” makes its debut to the 4K UHD Blu-ray format, via this Limited Edition, in DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 Mono lossless sound with both the original Italian language and English language dub. The Italian language mix includes optional English subtitles. Also, there are DTS 1.0 Mono cores here for those without the proper equipment (AVR or soundbar) to decode the lossless sound mixes.

There are just two beautifully put together lossless Mono 1.0 mixes here that are each delivered crisp and clear and totally lack one single bit of hiss. If you hear what you think is hiss early on, that’s actually just the wind, literally. This is some of the most impressive audio restoration work that I’ve heard on a film from this era, 1966. It keeps a true Mono source and doesn’t attempt to try to do a 5.1 surround sound mix or something, which would not at all seem fitting as I’ve learned over the years. I’ve started to become more and more of a purist over the years, in my age, and I cannot help but most times to really enjoy the original Mono or Stereo mixes on the large majority of catalog films that were made before Dolby Surround was introduced.

Despite being in just Mono, the gunfights and action (such as during hand-to-hand combat) really sound incredible here. It doesn’t even feel to be lacking in terms of fidelity in even the slightest bit. You’ll be pulled right into the action here and the music sounds great as well, starting with the unforgettable theme song. This will put your center channel to a test that I’m happy to report that a Klipsch reference series speaker can pass — with flying colors.

All and all this is an excellent sound presentation and this release earns itself a 5 out of 5 for audio quality. Congratulations to Arrow Video on a restoration effort and Mono 1.0 lossless mixes that manage to do this classic film absolute justice.

Audio Quality Rating: 5 (out of 5)


click to view a 4K Screenshot

Bonus Materials

Physical Extras in this Limited Edition 4K UHD Blu-ray set include the following:

  • A Fold-Out Double-Sided Movie Poster
  • Six Double-Sided Lobby Cards
  • A Collectible Perfect-bound Booklet (60 pages)
  • Reverse Artwork Sleeve featuring the original art and newly commissioned art

Bonus materials included on the 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc (with “Django”) are listed below. These extras are mostly presented in HD video, and one instance of SD video with a combination of mostly Italian and English sound quality, as noted accordingly below.

  • Audio Commentary with Stephen Prince is scene-specific and very informative and interesting. And, yes, there’s some eventual mention of how this film inspired Quentin Tarantino and the music was sampled in a film of his. Speaking of Tarantino and the Django franchise, you will also learn to understand more here, if you didn’t already, as to why the character Django had a lot in common with the character that goes by the same name in Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” (2012). There’s some great discussion of Sergio Corbucci’s work, the music here by Luis Bacalov, as well as other spaghetti westerns like those by Sergio Leone. This is a must-hear audio commentary for any fan of this film.
  • Django Never Dies” (26 minutes, 7 seconds – HD) is a recently filmed (2018) interview with actor Franco Nero, discussing working on “Django” and so many other films during his amazing career. This interview is in English, is excellent, and proves to be very sincere and informative. This is a must-see.
  • “Cannibal of the Wild West” (25 minutes, 48 seconds – HD) is a recent (2018) interview with assistant director Ruggero Deodato. This interview is in the Italian language with English subtitles.
  • “Sergio, My Husband” (27 minutes, 48 seconds – HD) is a recently filmed (2018) interview with the late director Sergio Corbucci’s wife Nori Corbucci. This interview is in the Italian language with English subtitles.
  • “That’s My Life: Part 1” (10 minutes, 16 seconds – HD) is an unseen archival interview with the film’s co-writer Franco Rossetti. This interview is in the Italian language with English subtitles.
  • “A Rock ‘n’ Roll Scriptwriter” (11 minutes, 3 minutes – HD) is an archival interview with the co-writer Piero Vivarelli, who worked on the film. This interview is in the Italian language with English subtitles.
  • “A Punch in the Face” (18 minutes, 53 seconds – HD) is an archival interview with stuntman and actor Gilberto Galimberti, work worked on the film. This interview is in the Italian language with English subtitles.
  • “Discovering Django (23 minutes, 33 seconds – HD) was recently shot (in 2018) and serves as an appreciation for the spaghetti westerns sub-genre. This features scholar Austin Fisher. This is excellent is a must-watch for any fan of the film and the spaghetti western sub-genre. And, yes, Quentin Tarantino is mentioned as along with his film “Django Unchained” (2012).
  • “An Introduction to Django by Alex Cox” (12 minutes, 4 seconds – SD) is an archival featurette. Alex Cox is known for his directing as well as for being a spaghetti western enthusiast.
  • Original Trailers include:
    • Italian Trailer (2 minutes, 58 seconds – HD) features Italian LPCM 1.0 sound.
    • International Trailer (2 minutes, 58 seconds – HD) features English LPCM 1.0 sound.
  • Image Galleries, comprised of a selection of original images from the Mike Siegel archive, include:
    • Stills (9 images – HD)
    • Posters (15 images – HD)
    • Lobby Cards (82 images – HD)
    • Press (11 images – HD)
    • Home Video (11 images – HD)

“Texas, Adios” (1966) was another spaghetti western that also starred Franco Nero. It is included here as a bonus and has a runtime of 1 hour, 32 minutes, 4 seconds. The film comes in a 1080p HD video presentation in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio with both the original Italian and English dub DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 Mono sound mixes. There are English subtitles optionally available for the Italian language sound mix. Texas, Adios received a new 2K scan and restoration. This disc also contains the following bonus materials, specific to this film, listed below. All bonus materials [for Texas, Adios] are presented in HD with Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound — unless otherwise noted in the description.

“Texas, Adios” Blu-ray Disc Extras:

  • Audio Commentary with C. Courtney Joyner and Henry C. Parke
  • “The Sheriff is in Town” (20 minutes, 19 seconds – HD) is a newer (2018) interview with the film’s star, actor Franco Nero. This interview is in English. This is from the same interview session that was used for Django’s bonus materials. He mentions a large part of things specific to this film but he also discusses meeting and working with Clint Eastwood later on, as well as working with Quentin Tarantino on Django Unchained (2012), and other highlights of his career such as meeting John Wayne. You can honestly tell that Franco Nero takes pride in his work, as rightfully he should. Even if you’re not the biggest fan of Texas, Adios you will want to definitely watch this interview, with the interview on Django’s 4K disc. Franco Nero tells some amazing stories and his interviews are always a must-see. Despite what some of us believe, Nero believes that Texas, Adios is not a spaghetti western, and feels more like an American western — in his opinion. I can see perhaps why he feels that way, after listening to this interview.
  • “Jump into the West” (33 minutes, 46 seconds – HD) is a newer (2018) interview with co-star Alberto Dell’Acqua. This interview is in Italian with English subtitles.
  • “That’s My Life: Part 2” (9 minutes, 19 seconds – HD) is an unseen archival interview with co-writer Franco Rossetti — who also co-wrote “Django” (1966). This interview is in Italian with English subtitles.
  • “Hello Texas!” (16 minutes, 24 minutes – HD) is a newer (2018) appreciation video hosted by spaghetti westerns scholar Austin Fisher.
  • Original Trailer (2 minutes, 42 seconds – HD) is in English LPCM 1.0 Mono sound.
  • Image Galleries, from the Mike Siegel archive, include:
    • Stills (8 images – HD)
    • Posters (13 images – HD)
    • Lobby Cards (29 images – HD)
    • Press (8 images – HD)
    • Home Video (6 images – HD)

Overall, the extras for “Django” on 4K UHD Blu-ray Limited Edition include one amazing set of physical content in the form of the double-sided poster, the collectible double-sided postcards, and the impressive booklet. There’s a lot to love here, just in terms of the physical extras. In terms of standard bonus materials, you get all of the previous Blu-ray extras for the film ported over and presented on the 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc, including one excellent audio commentary track. There are tons of extras here to keep you entertained long after you’ve finished the film. Finally, the included film “Texas, Adios” (1966) on a Blu-ray Disc makes for one hell of a physical extra. This is every form of one perfect set of bonus materials and the stuff that the fans have dreamed of — come true.

Bonus Materials Rating: 5 (out of 5)


click to view a 4K Screenshot

Closing Thoughts

Looking back at it, “Django” from 1966 was probably one of the better spaghetti westerns. This film is, in my honest opinion, right up there with the Sergio Leone spaghetti western trilogy of films that starred Clint Eastwood: “A Fistful of Dollars” (1964), “For a Few Dollars More” (1965), and “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” (1966). This is also one of Franco Nero’s best performances in his career, right up there with Keoma (1976). There’s a reason why filmmaker Quentin Tarantino is such a fan of this particular film, it’s just that good. And it’s certainly worth noting that he even made his own Django film with “Django Unchained” (2012), which featured a cameo by this film’s star Franco Nero.

In terms of video quality, Django on 4K UHD Blu-ray is visually the definition of excellence, taking an old 35mm film print from 1966 and via a new 4K scan and restoration making it look just as impressive, if not more impressive, than what the original theater showing has to have looked like at a nice theater with a good print. This has such a healthy amount of film grain preserved throughout and also has a sheer abundance of detail to be found. The addition of high dynamic range color grading here adds so much to the presentation as well, finally allowing for a perfectly solid black level and just an incredible amount of realistic shading and beautiful color.

In terms of audio quality, the original Mono sound mixes in English and the original Italian language are presented in a lossless 1.0 configuration. They both sound just amazing for a 1966 spaghetti western, with the sound effects like gunfire and such all coming across as believable as possible, via your center channel speaker. There’s not one single bit of hiss here to complain about, as it’s a clean sound mix for each language. This audio presentation is the pure definition of perfection. There’s no need for surround sound on a film like this, and this does incredibly well without one.

Know that the video and audio quality ratings here only reflect the film “Django” in 4K and not the film “Texas, Adios” specifically in the overall score. However, I will say that the additional film [Texas, Adios] does look and sound good, at some times more than others, as it is not flawless — like “Django” is on 4K. And it should be noted that it [Texas, Adios] only came from a 2K scan, master, and such done at a different facility than where Django in 4K was done. Still, it is a pretty solid presentation of a film that’s included as an extra, in my opinion, and it proves to be one enjoyable extra at that.

Now, in terms of the extras here for Django, you get a nice set of physical extras, which I’ve discussed a bit further above, and you can find an impressive set of bonus materials on the 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc. There’s a newer interview with Franco Nero here discussing Django, an excellent audio commentary track by a film historian, and lots more. This is a perfect set of bonus materials.

All and all, “Django” in its debut to the 4K UHD Blu-ray format, via this very nice limited edition set, is just outstanding in each way. It gets 5 out of 5 across the board for all ratings on this release that comes as very highly recommended. Congratulations go out to the folks at Arrow Video on a job very well done here.

In terms of 4K UHD Blu-ray release, this gets:
5 (out of 5) for video quality
5 (out of 5) for audio quality
5 (out of 5) for bonus materials


Overall Verdict:
Very Highly Recommended

Available As:

2021 4K UHD Blu-ray Limited Edition Release

Amazon Commissions Earned

“Django”
4K UHD Blu-ray Screenshots:

“Texas, Adios” Blu-ray Screenshots:


Packaging:


“Django”
4K UHD Blu-ray Technical Specifications:

Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
Exact Runtime(s): 1:31:40
Audio Format(s): Italian DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 Mono (with a DTS 1.0 Mono core), English DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 Mono (with a DTS 1.0 Mono core)
Languages: Italian, English
Subtitles: English
HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision
Disc Size: BD-100
Disc Use: 86.8GB total / 65.3GB for the film

“Texas, Adios”
Blu-ray Technical Specifications:

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Exact Runtime: 1:32:04
Audio Format(s): Italian DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 Mono (with a DTS 1.0 Mono core), English DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 Mono (with a DTS 1.0 Mono core)
Languages: Italian, English
Subtitles: English
Disc Size: BD-50
Disc Use: 40.48GB total / 25.2GB & 25.1GB for the film