Mannaja (also known as A Man Called Blade) is an Italian 1977 Spaghetti Western film directed by Sergio Martino. The main role, Blade, is played by Maurizio Merli. Other central roles are played by John Steiner, Sonja Jeannine, Donald O'Brien, Philippe Leroy and Martine Brochard.

Italian theatrical release poster
Directed bySergio Martino
Produced byLuciano Martino
Screenplay bySauro Scavolini
Sergio Martino
Story bySergio Martino
StarringMaurizio Merli
John Steiner
Sonja Jeannine
Donald O'Brien
Philippe Leroy
Martine Brochard
Music byGuido & Maurizio De Angelis
CinematographyFederico Zanni
Edited byEugenio Alabiso
Devon Film
Medusa Distribuzione
Distributed byMedusa Distribuzione
Release date
Running time
101 minutes


Bounty hunter Blade (Maurizio Merli), who uses a tomahawk as a throwing weapon, arrives at the mining town of Suttonville with the outlaw Burt Craven (Donald O'Brien) as his prisoner. His real motive is to kill mining big boss McGowan (Philippe Leroy) who has killed his father. Blade gives up his revenge – because McGowan “is not worth it” – and instead accepts to deliver the ransom for the mine owner's daughter (Sonja Jeannine). However, this mission fails because she turns out to be the lover of her kidnapper, McGowan's foreman Voller (John Steiner), who secretly works for a gang that regularly robs the shipments of silver from the mine. Voller then kills his boss and turns his mining empire into bloody chaos by massacring the mine workers. Blade is beaten up and buried up to his neck and left to be blinded by the sun. However, he survives and returns for a showdown with Voller.



Mannaja was released in 1977.[1] It grossed a 750 million Italian lire domestically in Italy.[1]


In his investigation of narrative structures in Spaghetti Western films, Fridlund ranges Mannaja among stories obeying the "Tragic Mercenary” plot where the pursuit of a monetary motive entails the killing or wounding of someone close to the hero, who then sets out on a vengeance mission. This story appears in the very influential Django. In the case of Blade his economic arrangement with the man he should have killed sets off a course of action leading to him being tortured and to the death of the showgirl Angela, who loves him. The situation where a kidnapped woman betrays her savior because she is the lover of her would-be abductor also appears in Ten Thousand Dollars for a Massacre - another "Tragic Mercenary” story.[2]


  1. Curti 2013, p. 212.
  2. Fridlund, Bert: The Spaghetti Western. A Thematic Analysis. Jefferson, NC and London: McFarland & Company Inc., 2006 pp. 133-34.


  • Curti, Roberto (2013). Italian Crime Filmography, 1968-1980. McFarland. ISBN 0786469765.
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