Candida Martinelli's Italophile Site

Main Page This family-friendly site celebrates Italian culture for the enjoyment of children and adults. Site-Overview



Terence Hill, Spaghetti Westerns, Don Matteo


Quick Link:  Biography Below


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Photo Tours




Some Films





Terence Hill in his Spaghetti Western Days



Here's a clip with Terence Hill and Henry Fonda in 'My Name is Nobody', featuring the fabulous music of Ennio Morricone




Gallery of images of Terence Hill




This is a tribute to Ennio Morricone's haunting music from the film 'Once Upon a Time in the West', featuring the faces of the eclectic cast.




A-Team-like Violence



This is a tribute to Ennio Morricone's Deborah's Theme from 'Once Upon a Time in America'





The Famous Comic-Action Duo, Terence Hill and Bud Spencer, pseudonyms for Mario Girotti and Carlo Pedersoli.




Terence Hill as Don Matteo in Gubbio, Italy.  Click on the image to read more about 'Don Matteo' in English.  Click here, to visit the Gubbio, Umbria, site.  It's in Italian.



Here are some clips from the show via YouTube.  These are all the first parts of episodes that are available for viewing in various parts.





Introduction to Mr. Terence Hill

A Biography

An Official Website in Italy

A Unique Interview

My Name is Nobody

Bud Spencer and Terence Hill

Don Matteo, a Priest Detective



Introduction to Mr. Terence Hill

Italian-made western films are known around the world, usually as Spaghetti Westerns.  But one of their most famous stars, Terence Hill, actually began his long career as "Italy's fidanzato".  In many films he played the ideal young man for any Italian's daughter to marry.  

He's actually half Italian and half German, and sadly, as a child he lived through the fire bombing of Dresden at the end of World War II.  After the war, his family returned it Italy.  His western films began, however, in Germany, when he sought to end the type-casting he was stuck with in Italy.

Terence Hill as Matinee Idol Mario Girotti (his birth name)


A Biography

If you'd like to read a wonderful mini-biography of Mr. Hill, by Ms. Federica Tronci, on-line, just click below to read it in English or Italian on this site (I now have the English version below on this page).


An Official Website in Italy

The Official Website based in Italy is available in English and Italian and some other languages too.


A Unique Interview

The site boasts a unique interview Mr. Hill gave to a film reviewer in Perugia, Italy, covering his entire career, including his work with the famous director, Sergio Leone.  The webmaster recorded the entire interview, that was in Italian, but you can read it in Italian or English.


My Name is Nobody

The wonderfully entertaining western that made a true international star of Terence Hill was My Name is Nobody (1973).  Together with Henry Fonda, Mr. Hill, Sergio Leone (the producer and story originator), and Tonino Valerii (the director) added a post-modern, self-referential, humorous take on the traditional film western.  

The Terence Hill Site also boasts a recent interview with the director, Tonino Valerii in which he discusses the making of the film. Here are the direct links to the interview in the original Italian, and in an English translation.



Bud Spencer and Terence Hill

Besides his westerns, both comic and serious, Terence Hill has made many films with fellow Italian actor Bud Spencer.  Their films are in the same spirit as the films now made by Jackie Chan:  action-comedies that aim to entertain the whole family.  

The action is sometimes called "A-Team Violence", meaning after all the hits and falls, everyone gets up, brushes themselves off, and walks away.  If you're a fan of these films, click on the star, to the right, to go to a site set up by a Dutch fan celebrating the Spencer-Hill duo.



Don Matteo, a Priest-Detective

Today, Mr. Hill stars in a series seen around the world, Don Matteo, which has won he and the shows' producers International Television Awards for best actor and best series, respectively.  

Don Matteo is a former missionary priest who returns to being a parish priest in a small town in Italy, only to find that he is constantly being drawn into police investigations, often solving the crimes before the town's sometime bumbling Carabinieri.  

The show boasts top European stars, quality writing and directing, and Terence Hill, known the world over for his long career of making family films.  Click here or on the cross, to the right, if you want to read more about Don Matteo, in English.  Click here for the Italian version.


The series is co-produced by the Rai, the Italian Television Authority, and LuxVideLuxVide has an information site for the show off their main site.  


For my list of Terence Hill DVDs at, click on this logo: 

For my list of Terence Hill VHS tapes at, click on this logo: 

If you want to search Amazon for anything else about Terence Hill or his movies, colleagues, directors, Spaghetti can use this Search tool.  

Just enter the category such as 'Books' (or 'DVD' or 'VHS') in the 'Search' field, and 'Terence Hill' (or a film name, for example) in the 'Keywords' field.  Then click on the 'Go' button to see the resulting list with descriptions, comments from people, and prices.

Amazon Logo



A Terence Hill Biography by a loyal fan, Federica Tronci:

Terence Hill was born in Venice on March 29, 1939 and christened Mario Girotti by his Italian father and German mother.  He was the second of their three children.  When he was two and an half years old, they left Venice to live in Lommatzsch, the Saxon town where his mother was born, and moved in with his maternal grandparents.

While living in Germany, Terence learned German as his first language, but he can recall his father reading him “The Little Flowers of Saint Francis of Assisi” and “Saint Francis of Assisi’s The Canticle of the Creatures” to teach him Italian and values such as love and peace.  Terence took these values immediately to heart, especially after surviving with his family the firebombing at the end of World War Two that destroyed nearby Dresden and other German cities.  He remembers how horrible it was to be there during the bombing, so horrible that the terrible memories haunted him throughout his childhood. 

When Terence was five years old, his family returned to Italy.  After a few months in Venice, the Girotti family moved to Amelia in Umbria, his father’s hometown.  Terence says that even at that young age he dreamed of becoming either a military pilot or an actor, even though he was not too sure what it meant to be an actor.  As a child he was always very active in sports and like to read the stories of King Arthur, and any book he cold find on nature.  He grew up on the John Ford’s western films and was a fanatical fan of Pecos Bill and Oklahoma.  Terence recalls that as a child he had a divided soul:  one was quiet and reserved, the other was hyperactive.  That may explain why as an adult he has pursued a passion for very active sports like skiing and motor cross. 

His mother sensed he had talent as an actor even at the young age of four, when she noticed a unique creativity in his vivacity and in his childhood games.  It was when the family later moved to Rome that Terence had an opportunity to enter into the world of cinema.  His mother heard from a friend that the director Dino Risi was looking for young actors for a film.  She took Terence and his brother to the auditions just to see what would happen, and Terence got the part of the gang leader Gianni in the 1952 film Vacation with a Gangster.  It’s interesting to note that in that period, Terence used to go swimming with the same swim team (Lazio) as Bud Spencer, who was already the well-known swimming champion Carlo Pedersoli, his real name.  Terence, who was ten years younger than Carlo, was a great admirer of the champion.  Interestingly, the assistant director under Dino Risi swam at the same pool, and he suggested Terence try out for a part in the Risi film, but by that time Risi had already given Terence the part, just the day before.

Terence recalls that his first acting experience was very difficult, mainly because of his perfectionism which made him wake up at dawn every morning to review his lines, petrified that he would forget them.  After his first film, it was again his mother who encouraged Terence to take horseback-riding lessons and English lessons, almost as if she could foresee her son’s future.  Terence says that after his first acting experience at the age of twelve, he continued to act, but without being certain it was the career for him, mainly because he was timid and, already then, valued his privacy.  This is why his agents at the time were convinced that, with his character, Terence would never succeed as an actor.  Terence says that what helped him the most in those following two years was attending the Actor’s Studio that Gloria Guerrieri, a student of Elia Kazan, had just opened in Rome.  A real enjoyment with acting came much later, when he made the westerns with Bud Spencer and was allowed to show his lighter, more playful side.  But in those early years he was offered mainly parts in films like It Happened in the Park in 1953, and Folgore Division / El Alamein in 1954, and in 1955 a prominent role in La vena d’oro.  When he was eighteen, Terence was the star of Guaglione, a film inspired by the song of the same title by Claudio Villa.  This is when a period of light musicals began in which he played the handsome young man who falls in love for the first time.  He played this part in Lazzarella in 1957 together with the famous singer-songwriter Domenico Modugno, and again in Cerasella in 1959.  In both these films Terence felt a bit left out, even if they did garner him much fame.  Actually, these films were a great success with the public, especially Lazzarella which earned him the title of “Italy’s little fiancé”.  But the truth was that Terence had still not decided that acting was to be his career.  In 1960 Terence began at the University studying Literature.  To pay for his studies, he continued to work at Cinecittà, and in the next few years, he made films in just about every genre.  For example, in 1960 he made the comedy Un militare e mezzo, and the historical film Carthage in Flames.  In 1961 he played prince Moluk in the film The Wonders of Aladdin, and in 1962 he was in another adventure Seven Seas to Calais.  But a defining moment came in 1963.  Terence got a small part in a big film, The Leopard, directed by Luchino Visconti.  This experience made Terence decide to stop his University studies, already three years into his study of the classics, to dedicate himself full-time to a career as an actor. 

By that time, Terence had achieved a good level of fame, but he felt typecast in teenager parts.  This is why in 1964 he moved to Germany, hoping to act in the first European westerns.  He remained abroad for nearly four years, acting in dozens of films, many of them westerns based on the series of books by Karl May, a German writer of wild-west stories, similar to the Italian writer Emilio Salgari.  It is thanks to these films that Terence was able to leave behind the image of a young boy.  However, Terence says that while he was in Germany, he started to hear more and more about the hugely successful Italian westerns, the so-called spaghetti-westerns, and feared he had missed out on the opportunity to be in them. 

He returned to Italy in 1967 and began work on Rita of the West.  At that same moment in Spain, they were filming a movie with the working title The Dog, the Cat and the Wolf, developed by Giuseppe Colizzi a well-known writer who based the film’s story on one of Aesop’s Fables.  During the first days of filming, the actor who was playing the cat, Peter Martell, had an accident.  Colizzi, who was also the director, had to find a quick replacement.  By chance, when he returned to Italy to look for an actor, he found himself on the set of Rita of the West, and it was suggested that Terence Hill could play the cat.  The film was re-titled God Forgives...I Don’t!, which first brought Bud Spencer and Terence Hill to star together in a movie!

It was as they were making this film that Mario Girotti and Carlo Pedersoli were asked to Anglicize their names to make the film more sellable internationally.  Terence recalls that his agent, Perrone, gave him a list of twenty names and asked him to pick one.  He chose Terence Hill because it was easy to remember and written just the way it was pronounced, but mainly because the initials were the same as his mother’s, which seemed to him to be a good omen.

It was in that same year that Terence met Lori, a young American woman who had only just arrived on the set in Spain.  She became his wife and on November 7, 1969 their first child, Jess, was born.  A few years later they adopted a child, their second son, Ross.  Both names, Terence points out, are from the Bible.

Back to 1967, when Terence played the part of Django in the film Django, Prepare a Coffin, the sequel of a successful film starring Franco Nero.  In 1968 Terence was again on a set with Bud Spencer, this time in the film Ace High or The Four Gunmen of Ave Maria.  The other two gunmen were played by Eli Wallach and Brock Peters, and the film was directed by Colizzi.  The film has an ironic vein to it, and even if there were four stars, Terence Hill and Bud Spencer were paired together for most of the the film. 

In 1969 Terence appeared with Don Backy in the film The Tough and the Mighty about Sardinian bandits.  He also appeared in Boot Hill with Bud Spencer, another western by Colizzi. 

That brings us to that lucky year 1970 and to the film that made Terence famous the world over when he played “Trinity” opposite big brother “Bambino”.  Chance had it that while Terence and Bud were considering various scripts, they ran into Enzo Barboni who was making the rounds with the script for a film called My Name is Trinity or They Call Me Trinity.  The film seemed strange to the various producers who passed on it saying that there were not enough dead bodies and there was too much dialog!  Bud and Terence however, decided to take a chance and said immediately that they wanted to do the film.  Enzo Barboni used a pseudonym for the film, E. B. Clucher.  The film spoofed the earlier, very bloody films, by making the heroes two dirty good-for-nothings who were however expert with guns and fists.  It was a huge success to the surprise of the critics who could not explain it!  Even Terence was surprised by the laughs the film provoked.  He never thought he was capable of being so entertaining and funny, and making so many people laugh so much.  Because of the success of the first “Trinity”, a sequel was practically a duty, so in 1971 Trinity is Still My Name! was released and it was an even bigger hit than the previous film, so much so that it spawned many imitators.  Even today, the film is ranked fifth on a list of the most watched films in Italy since 1955.

In the same year, Terence played more serious characters, like the lawyer in The True and the False, and Django in Django Sees Red, but neither film did well at the box-office.

In 1971 Terence appeared again with Bud in a film, but this time the setting was completely different from any other film made by the pair.  In this film, the main star was Terence Hill who played the title role of Blackie the Pirate.

It was toward the end of 1971 that Terence decided to move with his family to the States, and after a brief stay in California, they settled in Massachusetts and made home on a ranch.  Terence was happy with the move because, as he explains, he was captivated by the nature in the United States and by the sense of freedom and independence that only that sort of natural environment can evoke.  In Massachusetts, Terence adds, he felt at home in a climate that was like the Po Valley in Italy, and also because the style of life there was so European, and of course, Italy was only six hours away by plane.

On his ranch, he lived a simple and peaceful life, far from the bright lights.  There he was able to recreate a small piece of the Roman countryside, planting a vegetable patch with seeds that came directly from Italy, and raising chickens and rabbits, and even having a pony for the children to play with.  He was able to spend his time taking his children to the public school they attended, reading, writing and riding horses.  It was the life he had always dreamed of living.  Terence says that the need for freedom and independence that he was able to accommodate shows his affinity with the fictional character of Trinity, who is in turn similar to the equally fictional character of the Easy Rider.

With the film All the Way Boys / Plane Crazy in 1972, there began a long series of successful films with Terence and Bud in modern-day settings, in big cities or in paradise-like natural settings.  These films helped us travel the world from Madrid to the Amazon jungle, from Miami and Rio de Janeiro to a tropical island in the Pacific Ocean.  In each of these films the formula was the same, and always successful, so much so that they were all considered box-office successes, or even to have broken the bank!  The best example is Watch Out We’re Mad! in which, as usual, Ben (Bud), because of his easy-going character, is reluctant to associate with the excitable Kid (Terence).  But when it becomes a question of defending the rights of the weak and defenseless, the two join forces and fists begin to fly!  The plots are always relatively simple, the dialog is humorous, and the action sequences are rip-roaring!  Terence says that he thinks the success of their films is due to the fact that they never used stunt-doubles, and they always worked with the best stuntmen in the business, who can be spotted in all their films.  The action sequences, specifically the fight scenes, were choreographed by the masterful action coordinator Giorgio Ubaldi who would count out a beat as they filmed the scenes to make sure the movements were synchronized, as if it were a dance, giving everything a harmony of movement.  To film a single complex fight sequence, they often needed ten days of work because only a few minutes of film could be shot each day.  In filming these action sequences, Terence called on his athletic past, especially on his work in gymnastics.  You can see this clearly in Watch Out We’re Mad!, in the scene shot in the gym where he is shown on the parallel bars and the vaulting horse.  Another important aspect of this film is that it is a film that is enjoyed by a wide audience of all ages because no one dies, there’s no real violence as the fights are like cartoon fights, and there is no vulgarity or explicit sex.  After portraying “Trinity”, Terence says that a mother stopped him in the street to thank him and told him to keep making that type of movie because thanks to him, she could bring her children to the cinema without worrying about nasty surprises.  Terence says that since then he’s felt obligated to continue in the same vein, even up to the present day.

Despite enjoying great popular success working together, Terence and Bud decided not to over rely on their success as a duo.  They decided to make one film a year together, but to continue making films on their own.

Together they have made seventeen films starting with God Forgives...I Don’t! in 1967 up to Troublemakers in 1994 which has the pair returning eight years after the film Miami Supercops.  That’s seventeen films, not counting Hannibal in 1959 in which they both appeared, but Bud’s part was a minor one, and they never met while filming. 

Among the “solo” films Terence has made, there are several that deserve special mention.  The famous  My Name is Nobody by Sergio Leone in 1972 was directed by Tonino Valerii in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  There were other westerns, one that came out in the same year A Man From The East, and then in 1975 there was Trinity is Back Again.  In 1977 Terence made the Hollywood produced film Mr. Billion with Jackie Gleason and Valerie Perrine.  Also in 1977 was the film March or Die, in which he has a weightier role opposite Catherine Deneuve.  In 1981 he appeared in Super Fuzz with Ernest Borgnine.

In 1983 he debuted as a director when he directed and played the lead role in a contemporary version of Don Camillo.  Terence produced this film as well, because he says the project was turned down by other producers because none of them could visualize a “cowboy” as a priest.  His youngest son, Ross, had a small part in the film, and his other son, Jess, worked as an extra.

In 1987 Terence paired up again with his son Ross in the film They Call Me Renegade, and he cast Ross in a part in the series Lucky Luke that began shooting in 1990 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Unfortunately, they had to shoot  the film without Ross.  He died in a car accident on January 30, 1990 when he was only sixteen years old, together with a friend, Kevin.  The Lucky Luke film is dedicated to Ross and Kevin.  The film and three of the series episodes were directed by Terence.

In 1997, Terence worked with Marvin Hagler (the famous boxer Marvin Marvelous Hagler) in the film Virtual Weapon, shot in the States. 

Since 1999 Terence has divided his time between the States and Gubbio, a small historic town in the Umbria region of Italy.  That’s where Don Matteo is filmed, a television series that has had such success that it’s already in it’s fourth season!

Whether they are working together or not, Bud and Terence are always, and will always remain, great friends who are constantly in contact.  Their last film together, Troublemakers from 1994, was a family project.  Terence directed the film while his son Jess, and Bud’s son Giuseppe scripted the screenplay, and Bud was co-producer.  This film was also their return to the western after many years absence.  It was filmed in Santa Fe, New Mexico in the States, where until recently Terence had a home.  A bit of trivia:  Troublemakers is in the Guinness Book of Records for the longest fight sequence ever in a film, nine minutes long! 

Their many fans all over the world ask constantly if Bud and Terence will make another film together.  When asked, they answer enthusiastically that they would love to, but it’s difficult to find the right script.  We can only hope they find it soon!

Federica Tronci