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Riz Ortolani
Ortolani in 1955
Ortolani in 1955
Background information
Birth nameRiziero Ortolani
Born(1926-03-25)25 March 1926
Pesaro, Kingdom of Italy
Died23 January 2014(2014-01-23) (aged 87)
Rome, Italy
Occupation(s)Composer, conductor, orchestrator

Riziero Ortolani (Italian pronunciation: [ritˈtsjɛːro ˈritts ortoˈlaːni]; 25 March 1926 – 23 January 2014) was an Italian composer, conductor, and orchestrator, predominantly of film scores.[1] He scored over 200 films and television programs between 1955 and 2014, with a career spanning over fifty years.[2]

Internationally, he is best known for his genre scores, notably his music for mondo, giallo, horror, and Spaghetti Western films. His most famous composition is "More," which he wrote for the infamous film Mondo Cane. It won the 1964 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Theme and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 36th Academy Awards.[3] The song was later covered by Frank Sinatra, Kai Winding, Andy Williams, Roy Orbison, and others.

Ortolani received many other accolades, including four David di Donatello Awards, three Nastro d'Argento Awards, and a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. In 2013, he received a Lifetime Achievement from the World Soundtrack Academy.

Early life

Ortolani was born on 25 March 1926 in Pesaro, Italy. He was the youngest of six children. Ortolani's father, a postal worker, gave his son a violin at age 4.[4] Ortolani later switched to flute after injuring his elbow in a car accident. He studied at the Conservatorio Statale di Musica "Gioachino Rossini" in his hometown of Pesaro before moving to Rome in 1948 and finding work with the RAI orchestra.[2] Though the chronology is unclear, he also likely served as a musician in the Italian Air Force orchestra, formed a Jazz ensemble, and came to the United States as a Jazz musician in Hollywood, all before scoring his first film.[4]

Ortolani married Katyna Ranieri in 1956.[2]


In the early 1950s, Ortolani was founder and member of a well-known Italian jazz band. One of his early film scores was for Paolo Cavara and Gualtiero Jacopetti's 1962 pseudo-documentary Mondo Cane, whose main title-song More earned him a Grammy and was also nominated for an Oscar as Best Song. The success of the soundtrack of Mondo Cane led Ortolani to score films in England and the United States such as The Yellow Rolls-Royce (1964), The Spy with a Cold Nose (1966), The Biggest Bundle of Them All (1968) and Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell (1968). He also scored the 1972 film The Valachi Papers, directed by Terence Young and starring Charles Bronson.

Ortolani scored all or parts of over 200 films, including German westerns like Old Shatterhand (1964) and a long series of Italian giallos, Spaghetti Westerns, Eurospy films, Exploitation films and mondo films. These include Il Sorpasso (1962), Castle of Blood (1964), Africa Addio (1966), Day of Anger (1967), Anzio (1968), The McKenzie Break (1970), The Hunting Party (1971), A Reason to Live, a Reason to Die (1972), Seven Blood-Stained Orchids (1972), The Fifth Musketeer (1979), From Hell to Victory (1979), the controversial Ruggero Deodato films Cannibal Holocaust (1980) and The House on the Edge of the Park (1980), and the first series of La piovra (1984). In later years he scored many films for Italian director Pupi Avati.

His music was used on soundtracks for Grand Theft Auto: London 1969 (1999), Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003), Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004), Drive (2011) and Django Unchained (2012).[citation needed]

In 2013, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the World Soundtrack Academy.


Ortolani died on 23 January 2014 in Rome, aged 87.[5]

Selected filmography

Year Film Directed by Singles Latest CD / Digital Release
1961 Ursus in the Valley of the Lions Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia Digitmovies / CDDM209 / 2012
1962 Mondo Cane Paolo Cavara, Franco Prosperi, Gualtiero Jacopetti CAM Sugar / 2021
Il Sorpasso Dino Risi Milan / 399 552-2 / 2014
Mediterranean Holiday Hermann Leitner, Rudolf Nussgruber Avanz Records / SP/CR-20049 / 2009
1963 The Fall of Rome Antonio Margheriti
The Virgin of Nuremberg Antonio Margheriti Quartet Records / QR231 / 2016
1964 Castle of Blood Antonio Margheriti, Sergio Corbucci Digitmovies / CDDM242 / 2014
Old Shatterhand Hugo Fregonese
Brandy (film) José Luis Borau, Mario Caiano
The 7th Dawn Lewis Gilbert Film Score Monthly / FSM BOX 03 / 2008
The Yellow Rolls-Royce Anthony Asquith Quartet Records / SCE061 / 2013
1965 The Glory Guys Arnold Laven Film Score Monthly / FSM BOX 03 / 2008
Red Dragon Ernst Hofbauer
Berlin, Appointment for the Spies Vittorio Sala Saimel Bandas Sonoras / 3998911 / 2009
1966 Africa Addio Gualtiero Jacopetti, Franco Prosperi Melody / ARG 196: Africa Addio / Cape Town Master Classics Records / 2011
Lightning Bolt Antonio Margheriti
Maya John Berry
The Spy with a Cold Nose Daniel Petrie
Make Love, Not War Franco Rossi CAM / AMP 13: Non Faccio La Guerra, Faccio L'Amore (3:50) / Don Getulio (2:21) Digitmovies / DGST044 / 2019
1967 Requiescant Carlo Lizzani Penta Music / PTM 003 / 2016
Woman Times Seven Vittorio De Sica Quartet Records / SCE061 / 2013
Tiffany Memorandum Sergio Grieco
The Chastity Belt Pasquale Festa Campanile CAM / AMP 30: Le Notti Di Tobia / Tema D'Amore Digitmovies / CDDM275 / 2014
Day of Anger Tonino Valerii GDM / GDM 2076 / 2006
1968 The Biggest Bundle of Them All Ken Annakin Chapter III Records / CH 37503-2 / 2001
Sardinia Kidnapped Gianfranco Mingozzi GDM / GDM 4313 / 2013
Bandits in Milan Carlo Lizzani
Beyond the Law Giorgio Stegani GDM / GDM 2085 / 2007
Anzio Edward Dmytryk, Duilio Coletti
The Girl Who Couldn't Say No Franco Brusati GDM / GDM 4340 / 2014
The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom Joseph McGrath
Emma Hamilton Christian-Jaque GDM / CD CLUB 7077 / 2010
Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell Melvin Frank
Dead Men Don't Count Rafael Romero Marchent
The Last Roman Robert Siodmak, Sergiu Nicolaescu/ Andrew Marton (2nd unit)
1969 One on Top of the Other Lucio Fulci Beat Records Company / CDCR 134 / 2017
So Sweet... So Perverse Umberto Lenzi Quartet Records / QR481 / 2022
Night Of The Serpent Giulio Petroni Digitmovies / CDDM145 / 2009
Viva Cangaceiro Giovanni Fago Penta Music / PTM 003 / 2016
1970 Andrea Doria-74 Bruno Vailati Quartet Records / QR385 / 2019
The Unholy Four (1970 film) Enzo Barboni
Invasion Yves Allégret Quartet Records / QR443 / 2021
A Girl Called Jules Tonino Valerii GDM / GDM 4340 / 2014
Un caso di coscienza Giovanni Grimaldi CF Soundtracks / CFS003 / 2019
The Adventures of Gerard Jerzy Skolimowski
Say Hello to Yesterday Lucio Fulci
The McKenzie Break Lamont Johnson
Madron Jerry Hopper
The Lovemakers (film) Giovanni Grimaldi Digitmovies / CDDM266 / 2014
1971 Confessions of a Police Captain Damiano Damiani GDM / CD CLUB 7073 / 2009
The Hunting Party Don Medford
Web of the Spider Antonio Margheriti Quartet Records / QR467 / 2021
Goodbye Uncle Tom Gualtiero Jacopetti, Franco Prosperi RCA / SS-2160: Oh My Love (2:48) / Addio Zio Tom (2:32) GDM / CD CLUB 7089 / 2010
Il merlo maschio Pasquale Festa Campanile CAM / AMP 93: Il Merlo Maschio (2:08) / Fotografie (3:06) Digitmovies / CDDM266 / 2014
The Statue Rod Amateau Quartet Records / QR205 / 2015
1972 Do Not Commit Adultery Giulio Petroni CF Soundtracks / CFS003 / 2019
Seven Blood-Stained Orchids Umberto Lenzi
The Dead Are Alive Armando Crispino Digitmovies / CDDM250 / 2014
Shadows Unseen Camillo Bazzoni
The Assassin of Rome Damiano Damiani
Don't Torture a Duckling Lucio Fulci Beat Records / CDCR 134 / 2017
A Reason to Live, a Reason to Die Tonino Valerii Digitmovies / CDDM293 / 2018
The Valachi Papers Terence Young
Brother Sun, Sister Moon Franco Zeffirelli
1973 One Russian Summer Antonio Calenda
Dear Parents Enrico Maria Salerno GDM / CD CLUB 7077 / 2010
Seven Deaths in the Cat's Eye Antonio Margheriti
Super Bitch Massimo Dallamano CAM / AMP 116: L'Intoccabile Mr. Cliff (3:26) / Love Break (1:55) Chris' Soundtrack Corner / CSC 024 / 2018
Hospitals: The White Mafia Luigi Zampa CAM / AMP 114: Mafia Bianca (2:55) / Joe 5 (2:41) GDM / GDM 4313 / 2013
No, the Case Is Happily Resolved Vittorio Salerno
Counselor at Crime Alberto de Martino Chris' Soundtrack Corner / CSC 009 / 2011
Contact Giorgio Bontempi CAM / AMP 123: Contact (2:26) / Fei Nye Mi (4:40) Quartet Records / QR240 / 2016
One Way Jorge Darnell Beat Records / BCM 9515 / 2012
Teresa the Thief Carlo Di Palma
Mean Frank and Crazy Tony Michele Lupo
War Goddess Terence Young CineDisc / M-19: Una Ragione Per Vivre (3:38) / La Battaglia Delle Amazzoni (3:09) Quartet Records / QRSCE029 / 2011
1974 There Is No 13 William Sachs CAM / AMP 142: There Is No 13 (3:08) / 13th Floor (2:14)
1975 How to Kill a Judge Damiano Damiani
Mondo Candido Gualtiero Jacopetti, Franco Prosperi Seven Seas / FM-1087: Un Amore Cosi Tenero (3:05) / Mondo Candido (2:46) Dagored / Red 113-2 / 2000
Portrait Of A Veiled woman Flaminio Bollini Beat Records / BCM 9579 / 2017
1976 Submission Salvatore Samperi
1977 Death Steps in the Dark Maurizio Pradeaux
Casanova & Co. Franz Antel as Francois Legrand
I Am Afraid Damiano Damiani
The Pyjama Girl Case Flavio Mogherini Quartet Records / QR155 / 2014
Sahara Cross Tonino Valerii Volcano / CPC8-1216 / 2003
Double Murder Steno
1978 Red Rings of Fear Alberto Negrin
First Love Dino Risi
Gegè Bellavita Pasquale Festa Campanile Digitmovies / DGST046 / 2019
Cyclone René Cardona Jr.
1979 Tigers in Lipstick Luigi Zampa
The Fifth Musketeer Ken Annakin Quartet Records / QR268 / 2017
Neapolitan Mystery Sergio Corbucci
Mimi Florestano Vancini Digitmovies / DGST048 / 2019
From Hell to Victory Umberto Lenzi Beat Records / CDCR 118 / 2012
1980 Cannibal Holocaust Ruggero Deodato Beat Records / DDJ 047 / 2019
House on the Edge of the Park Ruggero Deodato Beat Records Company / BCM 9586 / 2020
1981 Madhouse Luigi Zampa
Help Me Dream Ovidio G. Assonitis
Fantasma d'amore Dino Risi WEA / PROMO 129: Phantom Of Love (2:38) / Unforgettable Love (3:16) Quartet Records / QR241 / 2016
Nessuno è perfetto Pasquale Festa Campanile aka Nobody's Perfect
1982 The Girl from Trieste Pasquale Festa Campanile Beat Records / CDCR145 / 2021
Valentina, Crónica del Alba (part 1) Antonio José Betancor Quartet Records / QR239 / 2016
1983 Zeder Pupi Avati GDM / 4334 / 2021
1919, Crónica del Alba Antonio José Betancor Quartet Records / QR239 / 2016
1984 Warriors of the Year 2072 Lucio Fulci Beat Records Company / BCM 9586 / 2020
Tuareg – The Desert Warrior Enzo G. Castellari GDM / 4336 / 2014
A Proper Scandal Pasquale Festa Campanile Cinevox / CD OST-PK 037 / 2018
1985 Miranda Tinto Brass
1986 The Inquiry Damiano Damiani Digitmovies / CDDM279 / 2016
1987 Capriccio Tinto Brass
The Last Minute Pupi Avati
1989 Killer Crocodile Fabrizio De Angelis Kronos Records / KRONCD020 / 2013
Massacre Play Damiano Damiani
1991 Paprika Tinto Brass
1993 Magnificat Pupi Avati GDM / GDM 4338 / 2014
1994 The Voyeur Tinto Brass
2007 The Hideout Pupi Avati
2010 A Second Childhood Pupi Avati


  1. ^ "Riz Ortolani - About This Person - Movies & TV". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. 2011. Archived from the original on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Perrone, Pierre (16 April 2014). "Riz Ortolani: Composer who wrote for over 200 films and whose work was championed by Quentin Tarantino". Independent. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  3. ^ "Grammy Award Nominees 1964 – Grammy Award Winners 1964". Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  4. ^ a b Weber, Bruce (29 January 2014). "Riz Ortolani, Film Composer Who Wrote a Love Anthem, Dies at 87". New York Times. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  5. ^ "E' morto Riz Ortolani, compose le musiche del Sorpasso". Rai News. Retrieved 16 December 2014.

External links

This page was last edited on 10 September 2022, at 23:44
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