Brancaleone at the Crusades

Brancaleone at the Crusades (Italian: Brancaleone alle Crociate) is an Italian comedy film directed by Mario Monicelli in 1970, the sequel of the famous L'armata Brancaleone.

Brancaleone at the Crusades
Directed byMario Monicelli
Produced byMario Cecchi Gori
Written byAgenore Incrocci
Furio Scarpelli
Mario Monicelli
StarringVittorio Gassman
Adolfo Celi
Stefania Sandrelli
Beba Lončar
Gigi Proietti
Lino Toffolo
Paolo Villaggio
Music byCarlo Rustichelli
Distributed byTitanus Film
Release date
  • 1970 (1970)
Running time
116 minutes


The film starts where L'armata Brancaleone has ended. Brancaleone da Norcia (again played by Vittorio Gassman) is a poor but proud Middle Ages knight leading his bizarre and ragtag army of underdogs. However, he loses all his "warriors" in a battle and therefore meets Death's personification (a clear parody of Bergman's Seventh Seal). Having obtained more time to live, he forms a new tattered band. When Brancaleone saves an infant of royal blood, they set on to the Holy Sepulchre to bring him back to his father, Bohemond of Taranto (Adolfo Celi), who is fighting in the Crusades. As in the first film, in his quest he lives a series of grotesque episodes, each a hilarious parody of Middle Ages stereotypes. These include: the saving of a young witch (Stefania Sandrelli) from the stake, the annexion of a leper to the band, and a meeting with Gregory VII, in which Brancaleone has to solve the dispute between the pope and the antipope Clement III. On reaching Palestine, Brancaleone obtains the title of baron from the child's father. He is therefore chosen as a champion in a tournament to solve the dispute between the Christians and the Saracens in the siege of Jerusalem. The award for the winner is the former leper, who is in fact revealed to be a beautiful princess, Berta, who adopted the disguise to travel to the Holy Land in relative safety. After having nearly defeated all the Moor warriors, Brancaleone is however defeated by a spell cast on him by the witch, who, having fallen in love with him, could not stand seeing him married with the princess. He therefore starts to wander in despair through the desert, and again Death comes to claim her credit: Brancaleone, brooding and world weary as he is has no qualms about dying but asks to be allowed to die in "knightly" fashion, in a duel with the Grim Reaper itself. Death agrees and the confrontation begins...after a fierce exchange of blows Brancaleone is about to be cleft by Death's scythe but is ultimately saved by the witch, who gives her life for the man she loved.


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