Stuntman and actor Emilio A. Messina was born in Casablanca, Morocco on February 24th 1936. He died on April 21st 2007, aged 71. His wife was called Incontrata and he had a daughter, Stephanie, a son, Gabriele, a sister, Lidia and his stuntman/actor brother Roberto, with whom he had a pretty much parallel career.
Both Messina brothers began their film careers at the start of the 60's as stuntmen in peplum movies, often but not always working together. When those faded out they proved equally adept through the cycles of eurospies, spaghetti westerns and police buddy movies.
The brothers both moved to Miami, Florida in 1982, after which they only made a few more odd movies, most of which were Italian productions shot in Florida. They were still resident in Florida at the time of Emilio's death.
Emilio always stood out from the pack of peplum stuntmen being the burliest and hairiest of the lot. With only two exceptions he had some sort of facial hair in all of his films, which helps as an aid to identifying him. I continue to find uncatalogued appearances from Emilio in all genres, so I am certain there will be additional titles being added to his filmography. Most of the biographical details come from his online memorial page.
- Ursus e la ragazza tartara (uncredited) .... Battle victim
- Il gladiatore di Roma (uncredited) .... Gladiator
- L'ira di Achille (uncredited) .... Soldier on dock
- Maciste, il gladiatore più forte del mondo (uncredited) .... Gladiator
- Sodoma e Gomorra (credited as Emilio and Roberto Messina) .... Hebrew
- Ursus gladiatore ribelle (uncredited) .... Gladiator
- Ercole contro Moloch (uncredited) .... Gladiator
- Goliath e la schiava ribelle (uncredited) .... Macedonian wrestler
- I dieci gladiatori (credited) .... Gladiator
- Maciste, l'eroe più grande del mondo (uncredited) .... Prison guard
- Due mafiosi nel Far West (uncredited) .... Cowboy
- Ercole contro i tiranni di Babilonia (uncredited) .... Wrestler
- Ercole l'invincibile (uncredited) .... Palace guard
- Gli invincibili dieci gladiatori (credited as Don Emilio Messina + Master of arms) .... Leptus
- Golia alla conquista di Bagdad (uncredited) .... Wrestler
- I magnifici brutos del West (uncredited) .... One of Tom's men
- I tre centurioni (uncredited) .... Wrestler
- Il leone di Tebe (uncredited) .... Wrestler
- Il magnifico gladiatore (uncredited) .... Gladiator with Hercules
- Il trionfo dei dieci gladiatori (credited as Don Emilio Messina + Master of arms) .... Leptus
- L'ultimo gladiatore (uncredited) .... Gladiator
- Maciste gladiatore di Sparta (uncredited) .... Gladiator
- The Fall of the Roman Empire (uncredited) .... Gladiator
- Asso di picche - Operazione controspionaggio (credited as Emil D. Messina + Master of arms) .... Frank
- Il mistero dell'isola maledetta (credited) .... Man at the market
- La magnifica sfida (uncredited) .... role?
- L'uomo che ride (uncredited) .... Borgia soldier
- Operazione poker (uncredited) .... Russian agent
- Superseven chiama Cairo (credited) .... Nikos
- Perry Grant agente di ferro (credited) .... Albrecht
- Superargo contro Diabolikus (credited) .... One of Diabolikus' men
- Tre notti violente (credited) .... Thug
- Un angelo per Satana (uncredited) .... Man attacking Vittorio in the town square
- Flashman (credited) .... Kid's henchman
- Killer calibro 32 (uncredited) .... Freeman
- Qualcuno ha tradito (credited as Emil Messina) .... Willy
- Angelica e il Gran Sultano (uncredited) .... Guard to Turkish Ambassador / Seaman
- Eva, la Venere selvaggia (uncredited) .... Mercenary shot by Albert
- L'invincibile Superman (uncredited) .... Wrestler
- Niente rose per OSS 117 (uncredited) .... Assistant to OSS 117
- Uno dopo l'altro (uncredited) .... Herb
- 5 per l'inferno (uncredited) .... German soldier
- Django il bastardo (uncredited) .... Murdok hanchman
- Gli specialisti (uncredited) .... One of El Diablo's men
- I quattro del Pater Noster (uncredited) .... role?
- La morte sull'alta collina (uncredited) .... role?
- Sono Sartana, il vostro becchino (uncredited) .... Hitman
- Una lunga fila di croci (uncredited) .... Santana
- Zorro marchese di Navarra (uncredited) .... Soldier
- Ciakmull - L'uomo della vendetta (uncredited) .... Big John
- Le Mans - Scorciatoia per l'inferno (uncredited) .... Announcer
- Lo chiamavano Trinità...(uncredited) .... Brawler
- Wanted Sabata (uncredited) .... Mexican
- Il provinciale (uncredited) .... Thief
- Quel maledetto giorno della resa dei conti (uncredited) .... role?
- Riuscirà il nostro eroe a ritrovare il più grande diamante del mondo? (uncredited) .... Nurse
- Se t'incontro t'ammazzo (credited) .... Dexter's henchman
- Anche gli angeli mangiano fagioli (uncredited) .... Tag wrestler
- Arriva Durango... paga o muori (credited) .... Diego Avenaja
- ...e poi lo chiamarono il Magnifico (uncredited) .... Fighter in saloon
- Il prode Anselmo e il suo scudiero (uncredited) .... One of Ottone's men
- Jesse & Lester due fratelli in un posto chiamato Trinità (credited) .... Grizzly Joe
- Man of La Mancha / L'uomo della Mancha (uncredited) .... Patrol
- Poppea una prostituta al servizio dell'impero (uncredited) .... Gladiator
- Sotto a chi tocca! (uncredited) .... Palace guard
- Un uomo dalla pelle dura (credited) .... Bookmaker
- Dagli archivi della polizia criminale (uncredited) .... Leader of attack force
- E il terzo giorno arrivò il Corvo (uncredited) .... Gunman
- Elena sì, ma... di Troia (uncredited) .... Ajax 2
- Piedone lo sbirro (uncredited) .... Ferramenti bodyguard
- Arrivano Joe e Margherito (credited) .... "Gorilla" Paco
- The arena / La rivolta delle gladiatrici (uncredited) .... Gladiator
- Carambola, filotto... tutti in buca (credited) .... Word
- Colpo in canna (uncredited) .... Police car driver
- Simone e Matteo - Un gioco da ragazzi (credited) .... Jean
- Il grande racket (uncredited) .... Hood
- Il vangelo secondo Simone e Matteo (credited) .... Joe
- Pronto ad uccidere (credited) .... Giovanni Caputo
- La malavita attacca. La polizia risponde (uncredited) .... Barman
- La polizia è sconfitta (uncredited) .... Bank robber
- Orca (credit only as Underwater Stuntman)
- Lo chiamavano Bulldozer (uncredited) .... Thug
- Piedone l'africano (uncredited) .... Wrestler in red
- Squadra antimafia (uncredited) .... Prisoner on the roof
- S+H+E (credited) .... Zec
- Gunan il guerriero (credited as Emil Messina) .... Nuriak
- Cane e gatto (uncredited) .... One of Don Salvatore's men
- I sette magnifici gladiatori (credited as Ivan Beshears) .... Goliath
- Guerreros de la jungla / Jungle Warriors (credited) .... Mastranga's bodyguard
- Miami Supercops (I poliziotti dell'8ª strada) (uncredited) .... Duran henchman
- Potenza virtuale (uncredited) .... Van Axel's man on the boat
There are still a few movies where Emilio is credited by various online sources that I have been unable to find, so if anybody has images of Emilio in the films below you know ahat to do.
Agente segreto 070 - Thunderbay missione Grasshopper (1966) (maybe credited)
Il magnifico West (1972) (maybe credited and master of arms)
Esecutore oltre la legge (1974) as Steig (maybe credited)
Noi non siamo angeli (1975) as Shark henchman (maybe credited) - image on CIDb
Il pentito (1985)
Bersaglio sull'autostrada (1988) - beware of another film named Moving Target from the same year that comes up in searches for this one.
Messina is missing!
As often seems to be the case we also have a selection of films where Emilio is credited by some online resource, but where I have been unable to find him. I may have missed him in some, while in others he has been misidentified, mistaken for his not-at-all-look-alike brother or simply mysteriously does not appear. In all these titles he is uncredited.
Se incontri Sartana prega per la tua morte (1968) credited on IMDb as playing a Tampico henchman. I've looked and couldn't see him.
Spara, Gringo, spara (1968) IMDb says he is credited under the pseudonym of Van Lanen and plays Soldier in Doneghan's army. I haven't found him but need to look more closely at this title.
Il giorno del giudizio (1971) Does not appear. Credited on CIDb as playing a poker player, but the image accompanying the credit is of brother Roberto, and it is Roberto who appears in the role in the film, not Emilio. (I have now corrected this on CIDb in case you are looking and can't see it)
Giubbe rosse (1975) credited on CIDb as One of Wolf's men. I've looked and didn't see him but again I need to give this one a closer look.
La via della droga (1977) Listed on IMDb with no role given. I couldn't see Emilio, but there is a similar-looking unidentified actor who he may have been mistaken for.
Un poliziotto scomodo (1978) Listed on CIDb with no role given, this looks like another case where he has been misidentified for brother Roberto - who does appear but is missing from CIDb
Non sparate sui bambini (Squadra antisequestro) (1978) Emilio reportedly should have a credit in this one for "Collaborazione alla regia", but the English language/Greek subbed copy I saw only had minimal credits. If anyone has an Italian copy please check.
Sangraal, la spada di fuoco (1982) Listed on IMDb as playing Nantuk's warrior, but while there are a number of roles that could fit this description, none of the vaguely resembles Emilio.