The Price of Power

The Price of Power (Italian: Il prezzo del potere) is a 1969 Spaghetti Western directed by Tonino Valerii. The film stars Giuliano Gemma as the hero Bill Willer who tries to get revenge against the killers of his father while at the same time trying to prevent an assassination plot against president James Garfield (played by Van Johnson, with José Suárez playing Vice President Chester A. Arthur) in 1881.[2]

The Price of Power
The Price of Power FilmPoster.jpeg
Italian poster
Directed byTonino Valerii
Screenplay by
Produced byBianco Manini[1]
CinematographyStelvio Massi[1]
Edited byFranco Fraticelli[1]
Music byLuis Enríquez Bacalov[1]
  • Patry Film
  • Films Montana[1]
Distributed byConsorzio Italiano Distributori Indipendenti Film (CIDIF)
Release date
  • 18 December 1969 (1969-12-18) (Italy)
  • 9 June 1970 (1970-06-09) (Spain)
Running time
111 minutes[1]
Box office1.273 billion


The president ends up dying from an assassin's bullet, but Willer's further quest for revenge is ultimately more successful. Spanish actress Maria Cuadra plays Lucretia Garfield, the President's wife. In her role she portrays pretty much the role of Jackie Kennedy as a glamorous President's wife. Even in the assassination scene, Cuadra seems to emulate many of the same actions from Jackie Kennedy's last moments with John F. Kennedy in Dallas in 1963.



The film's concept was conceived by Massimo Patrizi, Luigi Comencini's brother-in-law, and serves as an adaptation of the story of John F. Kennedy's assassination in the form of a Western.[3] Patrizi also imposed another true story in his script, that the attempted murder of James A. Garfield in 1881.[3]

Although the opening titles of the film credit the story and screenplay only to Patrizi, the film was rewritten by Valerii and Ernesto Gastaldi.[4] Valerii commented that he did not remember Patrizi's script word-for-word, but described it as "extremely basic, whereas Gastaldi and I deepened it. We established the essential themes to develop, introduced the character played by Fernando Rey, the banker who is also the assassination's mandator, and so on."[4] Gastaldi stated that "Patrizi's treatment was simply thrown in the bin, but the producer had signed a contract with him which stated that he was to be credited as the sole author of the script. Since I didn't care about my name in the titles, I had no problem writing the script and not signing it."[3][4]


The Price of Power was released theatrically in Italy on December 10, 1969 by Cidif.[1] It grossed a total of 1,273,858,000 lire on its domestic release in Italy.[1] It received a release in Spain on June 9, 1970 as La muerte de un presidente.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Curti 2016, p. 195.
  2. ^ Hughes, p.106
  3. ^ a b c Curti 2016, p. 50.
  4. ^ a b c Curti 2016, p. 51.


  • Cox, Alex (2009). 10,000 Ways to Die: A Director's Take on the Spaghetti Western. Oldcastle Books. ISBN 978-1-84243-304-1.
  • Curti, Robert (2016). Tonino Valerii: The Films. McFarland. ISBN 978-1476664682.
  • Hughes, Howard (2010). Spaghetti Westerns. Harpenden: Kamera Books. ISBN 978-1-84243-303-4.

External linksEdit