The Specialists [Eureka Classics] (Blu-ray Review)

Specialists Eureka Classics Blu-rayFrom Sergio Corbucci, the legendary director of Django, Navajo Joe, The Great Silence, Companeros and The Mercenary comes The Specialists (Gli Specialisti, aka Drop Them or I ll Shoot) , a thrilling spaghetti western starring French music and film great Johnny Hallyday (The Man on the Train, Détective, Vengeance). Notorious gunfighter Hud Dixon (Hallyday) arrives in Blackstone, a town where his brother was wrongfully accused of robbing a bank and lynched for it. As Hud seeks revenge, he starts to discover the truth behind the stolen loot, and has to contend with an idealistic sheriff, a beautiful and seductive female banker, a corrupt businessman and a one-armed Mexican bandit, who was once his friend. Also starring Gastone Moschin (The Conformist, Caliber 9), Françoise Fabian (Belle de Jour, My Night at Maud s), and gorgeously filmed by Dario Di Palma (The Seduction of Mimi, The Oldest Profession), Eureka Classics is proud to present Gli Specialisti on Blu-ray from a new 4K restoration.

Specialists Blu-ray Eureka Classics


Hud Dixon (Johnny Hallyday) is on a quest for revenge. After the lynching of his brother in the town of Blackstone, Dixon seeks out answers on what happened to his brother. This escalates a bit when he finds out that his brother was lynched because he was accused of robbing a bank in the town of Blackstone.

Things come to a head when the local sheriff, a pretty banker, corrupt businessman, one-armed Mexican bandit, and hippies all get involved in Dixon’s affairs. Some of these involvements are good, but mostly bad. Hud Dixon ain’t no pushover either. He can shoot. He can also take a hit…or multiple hits, if you get my meaning.

I was looking forward to The Specialists for a while now, because my spaghetti western knowledge needed a pick-me up and after watching Once Upon A Time In Hollywood and seeing that Sergio Corbuchi was the #2 director of spaghetti westerns, I needed to see what all the fuss was about. I was definitely not disappointed. Hud Dixon can be considered a “man with no name” character. He’s cut from the same cloth as the Clint Eastwood character. This is not a knock on that at all.

Now some of themes in The Specialists carried over from the real world of that time. It was the end of the 1960’s and featured an anti-hippie stance. Some of the antagonists, early on and late in the final sequence, can be considered hippies. Is “cowboy hippie” even a term? Now, that’s one side of the coin, because the wealthy characters in the film, and their co-conspirators were the complete (and obvious) opposite, yet the film portrays them as nefarious, as well.

I would say that that’s the charm of The Specialists. Outside of Hud Dixon, there really aren’t any good guys to root for. I don’t necessarily think that that’s a bad thing, but it sure is neat storytelling. We are Hud Dixon in a sense.


Specialists Blu-ray Eureka Classics


Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Clarity/Detail: This print is taken from a 4K restoration and the final results are epic. Contrast and sharpness levels looked nice and natural. Keep in mind that the film is over 50-years old.

Depth: There are many scenes out in the wild and in town that looked breathtaking — almost like paintings.

Black Levels: Black levels are deep and do not crush.

Color Reproduction:  Again, the film has an almost “oil painting” quality, which is elevated by the superb color palette on display here.

Flesh Tones: Flesh tones are nice natural, and no one looks sickly or in bad condition…unless they’re dead or on the receiving end of a beating.

Noise/Artifacts: I only caught a couple of instances that had a hair or two of debris, but it was nothing that would tank this video rating.




Specialists Blu-ray Eureka Classics


Audio Format(s): French LPCM 2.0 (48kHz/24-bit), Italian LPCM 2.0 (48kHz/24-bit), English LPCM 2.0 (48kHz/24-bit)

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: The Specialists has a very dynamic soundtrack that is housed in a brilliant 24-bit LPCM 2.0 presentation. There are many scenes featuring shootouts, horse riding, etc. The soundtrack balances all of these factors into the audio presentation. It’s a nice and robust audio presentation.

Low-Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue levels are clean, crisp, and free from clipping.

Specialists Blu-ray Eureka Classics


The Specialists is loaded up with a fantastic Alex Cox feature-length audio commentary track. It’s thoughtful, honest, and quite entertaining. He is a western expert after all, so it was a welcome addition to this Blu-ray set. A new interview with Austin Fisher is also included in which he talks about the film, the genre, and of Sergio Corbuchi. Overall, the special features are decent.


  • LIMITED EDITION O-CARD SLIPCASE [First Print Run of 2000 units]
  • 1080p presentation on Blu-ray from an incredible 4K restoration
  • Restored Italian and French audio options
  • Rarely heard English dub track
  • Optional English subtitles
  • Feature-length audio commentary by filmmaker Alex Cox
  • A brand new and exclusive interview with Austin Fisher, author of Radical Frontiers in the Spaghetti Western: Politics, Violence and Popular Italian Cinema
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: A LIMITED EDITION collector s booklet [First Print Run of 2000 units] featuring new writing by western authority Howard Hughes on both the film, and the “French-western” sub-genre


Specialists Blu-ray Eureka Classics


The Specialists was an entertaining “rock n roll” romp of a western. Johnny Hallyday as Hud Hixon plays a believable gunslinger bent on revenge. The Blu-ray from Eureka Classics features a stellar video and audio presentations. The special features, especially Alex Cox’s feature length commentary, elevates this set further. The Specialists is highly recommended!



DISCLAIMER: This Region B Blu-ray review was judged and graded using the following HD Premium television set found HERE and Region-Free Blu-ray player HERE.  Make sure to check out all of our Blu-ray reviews archived HERE.  The images used above within the review are not actual Blu-ray screenshots. They are for illustrative purposes only.



The Specialists is available

in the UK on Blu-ray!




Specialists Eureka Classics Blu-ray


Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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