10,000 Bullets   Exploring the world of Cinema from the Arthouse to the Grindhouse™




Tomas Milian 
Written by: on September 23rd, 2004

“There is a thin, thin line in between talent and insanity. So if you go off and kick him in the groin, then you’re not controlling your ‘talent’, you’re letting it go. And the talent is controlling you, and that’s very unhealthy.” – Tomas Milian

Tomás Quintín Rodríguez aka Tomas Milian was born on March 3rd, 1933 in Havana, Cuba and he was raised in America. Tomas’s father was a general under the Cuban dictatorship and when it was overthrown his father was arrested by the new government. In 1945 Tomas would witness an event that would forever change his life the suicide of his father. Tomas studied at New York’s the actor’s studio where he would learn his craft as an actor before moving on to New York stage acting. In 1957 Tomas would land a reoccurring role in the short lived television series Decoy.

“When a gypsy beggar gets up in the morning, he has to put on a show of crying and pleading in order to make some money. The better he does it, the more he convinces people he is telling the truth. He takes his invented pain and makes it real. I have something inside of me that makes me believe in what I do. It’s not ‘The Method’ or any method that I’ve studied; it just happens inside me. Put me in the poncho and sandals and hand me the knives and I immediately move differently. Without any effort, I can believe I am Cuchillo.” – Tomas Milian

While performing Jean Cocteau’s pantomime The Poet and the Muse which was written especially for him. At the 1959 Spoleto Festival in Italy Tomas would be discovered by director Mauro Bolognini who would go on to cast Tomas in La Notte Brava (1959). Tomas and Bolognini would collaborate two more times. After seeing Clint Eastwood’s star rise after starring in Sergio Leone’s a Fistful of Dollars, Tomas drastically changed his image and like Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef he would obtain international stardom through the Spaghetti Western Genre.

“A person like, Chaco who doesn’t have, doesn’t have ethics and he doesn’t have the sense of, you know, having sex with a woman. In his mind, animal as he is, he needs that piece of meat. He needs it. So he just-fpppt!-does his thing. Chaco wanted to have a ball. And he didn’t even look in her eyes, he didn’t care.” – Tomas Milian

By the early 1970’s the Spaghetti Western was losing steam and Tomas shifted gears into Italian crime thrillers and it is this genre that he that he excelled the most at starring in some of the Italian crime thrillers genre’s best films. During this time he would work with directors like Sergio Martino, Umberto Lenzi and Bruno Corbucci on more then a dozen films. Tomas’s most famous character was his portrayal was Inspector Nico Giraldi and Tomas would play Inspector Giraldi twelve times. He also starred in the Giallo classic Don’t Torture a Duckling which is considered by many to be Lucio Fulci’s finest work.

“The Westerns were a huge part of my career. They were the pot of the gold under the rainbow, but not in the sense that I made a lot of money. The Westerns created my success as a bankable actor and box office draw. I loved these films and still do. And the irony is that when the ‘Spaghetti Western’ genre was finished, producers were afraid that audiences wouldn’t accept me in anything but a poncho and sandals!” – Tomas Milian

Tomas would return to America in the 1989 and he would go on to act in Broadway productions and Hollywood films. Since returning to America Milian has appeared in Oliver Stone’s “JFK”, Tony Scott’s “Revenge”, Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic and the HBO television series “OZ”. Through the years Tomas has made a career playing psychopaths or villains and he has worked with some of cinema’s greatest director’s. The Italian government awarded Tomas the Coppa del Consiglio dei Ministri for outstanding work in Italian cinema. In a career that has spanned nearly fifty years Tomas Milian has created some of the most memorable character performances in cinema history and one thing that has always remained with Tomas after all these years is that he has never compromised his vision.

Want more Tomas Milian check out this interview from Blue Underground.

Filmography:

Roma nuda (2011)
Fugly! (2011)
The Feast of the Goat (2005)
The Lost City (2004)
Washington Heights (2002)
The Hire: Ambush (2001)
Traffic (2000)
The Arturo Sandoval Story (2000) TV
The Yards (2000)
“Oz” (1997) TV Series
Amistad (1997)
Fools Rush In (1997)
The Burning Season (1994) TV
The Cowboy Way (1994)
Marilyn & Bobby: Her Final Affair (1993) TV
Love, Honor & Obey: The Last Mafia Marriage (1993) TV
“Frannie’s Turn” (1992) TV Series
Nails (1992) TV
JFK (1991)
Money (1991)
Voglia di vivere (1990) TV
Havana (1990)
Revenge (1990)
“Drug Wars: The Camarena Story” (1990) TV Mini Series
Massacre Play (1989)
Cat Chaser (1989)
Una Casa a Roma (1988) TV
Distant Lights (1987)
Salome (1986)
King David (1985)
Cop in Drag (1984)
Delitto in formula Uno (1984)
Il Diavolo e l’acquasanta (1983)
Cat and Dog (1982)
Delitto sull’autostrada (1982)
Monsignor (1982)
Identification of a Woman (1982)
Manolesta (1981)
Delitto al ristorante cinese (1981)
Crime at Porta Romana (1980)
Uno contro l’altro, praticamente amici (1980)
Il Lupo e l’agnello (1980)
Assassinio sul Tevere (1979)
The Gang That Sold America (1979)
Luna (1979)
Winter Kills (1979)
Little Italy (1978)
Brothers Till We Die (1978)
Destruction Force (1977)
Il Figlio dello sceicco (1977)
Hit Squad (1977)
Swindle (1977)
Caligula, Part II: Messalina, Empress of Love (1977)
The Cynic, the Rat & the Fist (1977)
Young, Violent, Dangerous (1976)
The Cop in Blue Jeans (1976)
Tough Cop (1976)
The Twist (1976)
Sex with a Smile (1976)
Rome Armed to the Teeth (1976)
Mad Enough to Kill (1975)
Chopper Squad (1975)
Syndicate Sadists (1975)
Four of the Apocalypse (1975)
The White, the Yellow, and the Black (1975)
Emergency Squad (1974)
Almost Human (1974)
Life is Tough, Eh Providence? (1973)
Counselor at Crime (1973)
Sonny and Jed (1972)
Sometimes Life Is Hard – Right, Providence? (1972)
Don’t Torture a Duckling (1972)
The Boxer (1971)
The Last Movie (1971)
The Designated Victim (1971)
The Magnificent Bandits (1970)
L’ Amore coniugale (1970)
The Cannibals (1970)
Compañeros (1970)
Where Are You Going All Naked? (1969)
Beatrice Cenci (1969)
A Fine Pair (1969)
Run, Man, Run! (1968)
Tepepa (1968)
Bandits in Milan (1968)
Diary of a Holdup (1968)
Death Sentence (1968)
Django, Kill… If You Live, Shoot! (1967)
Face to Face (1967)
Madamigella di Maupin (1966)
The Bounty Killer (1966)
The Big Gundown (1966)
I Kill, You Kill (1965)
I Soldi (1965)
The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965)
The Camp Followers (1965)
Time of Indifference (1964)
L’Uomo (1964)
Mad Sea (1963)
Let’s Have a Brainwash (1963)
The Attic (1962)
La Banda Casaroli (1962)
The Shortest Day (1962)
Disorder (1962)
Boccaccio ’70 (1962)
Day by Day, Desperately (1961)
Unexpected (1961)
Laura nuda (1961)
Un Giorno da leoni (1961)
The Dauphins (1960)
Bell’ Antonio (1960)
Bad Girls Don’t Cry (1959)
“Policewoman Decoy” (1957) TV Series

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