European exploitation cinema doesn’t get any more exhilarating than the furious crime sagas of Italian cult auteur Fernando Di Leo, a maestro of pulp whose hard-boiled thrillers deliver both explosively stylized violence and subversive social commentary underpinned by a righteous moral worldview. Championed by Quentin Tarantino, who has cited Di Leo as a key influence, these crackling tales of gangsters, crooked cops, and vigilantes—including the hard-hitting Milieu Trilogy (CALIBER 9, THE ITALIAN CONNECTION, THE BOSS), which explores the corrosive effects of the mafia and police corruption on Italian society—are blistering expressions of rage against injustice.
Directed by Fernando Di Leo • 1972 • Italy
Starring Gastone Moschin, Barbara Bouchet, Mario Adorf
In the propulsive first installment of Fernando Di Leo’s Milieu Trilogy, small-time gangster Ugo Piazza (Gastone Moschin) has just been released from prison. He tries to convince the police, the maf...
Directed by Fernando Di Leo • 1973 • Italy
Starring Henry Silva, Richard Conte, Gianni Garko
Based largely on actual people and events, Fernando Di Leo’s slam-bang thriller—the final chapter in his Milieu Trilogy—is his boldest commentary on corruption and the criminal underworld. A bomb attack ...
Directed by Fernando Di Leo • 1975 • Italy
Starring Luc Merenda, James Mason, Marino Masé
Class tensions simmer in the wake of a kidnapping in this explosive tale of police injustice and vigilante revenge from cult auteur Fernando Di Leo. Colella (Luc Merenda) is a hard-working mechanic struggli...