Bonadonna, Elio

the greatest acrobats of Italian cinema
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PeplumParadise
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Bonadonna, Elio

Post by PeplumParadise » 09/01/2021, 18:13

Elio Bonadonna in Maciste, il gladiatore più forte del mondo (1962)
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Elio Bonadonna was a stuntman and actor who was active in Italian films from at least the start of the 1960's until the late 1980's.

He was the brother of stuntman Giovanni Bonadonna and the brothers often appeared in films together. On his Westerns all'Italiana blog, Tom Betts mentions that Elio was a former boxer and that he owned and operated a gym in Rome where he trained stuntmen - the latter is corroborated by Luca Zanna, an Italian who runs his own gladiator school in the US, and who in a 2004 interview talks about meeting Elio at his gym and being trained by him. He also mentions Elio in a 2001 interview in which he describes him as a "famed fight choreographer for numerous 1950s-'60s sword-and-sandal epics".
Tom Betts also says that Elio died in May 2003, date unknown, and while he doesn't mention a source, Tom's posts are well researched and should be reliable.

He was apparently also a champion of Greco-Roman wrestling during the late 1950's and early 1960's, though there's little information available on this except for some mentions on this website as well as this one.

Additionally, Elio appeared in a few fotoromanzi for publishers Lancio and Condor in the 1960's and 1970's, but unlike his brother Giovanni, who was a regular face in these fotoromanzi, Elio appears to only have made a few sporadic appearances, quite likely as a favor to his brother.

I have found a number of early roles for Elio in peplums and eurospies, but his 60's filmography is still fairly sparse, so I'm certain there must be more roles to be found. It certainly seems a little odd that he currently has no 60's credits in westerns. From the 70's he maintained a beard, giving him a similar look to Emilio Messina (with whom he has been mistaken on occasion).

Filmography
1960
  1. Esther and the King .... Soldier wrestling with King Ahasuerus (uncredited)
  2. La regina delle Amazzoni .... Prisoner of the Amazons (uncredited)

    1961
  3. Barabba .... Gladiator (uncredited)
  4. Ercole alla conquista di Atlantide .... Tavern brawler (uncredited)
  5. Rosmunda e Alboino .... Guard (credited)

    1962
  6. Maciste, il gladiatore più forte del mondo .... Gladiator for sale (uncredited)
  7. Sodoma e Gomorra .... Sodomite guard at the branding (uncredited)

    1963
  8. Giacobbe, l'uomo che lottò con Dio .... Fighter in the mud (uncredited)
  9. Maciste, l'eroe più grande del mondo .... Soldier on the ship (uncredited)

    1964
  10. Gli invincibili dieci gladiatori .... Prison camp guard (uncredited)
  11. I magnifici brutos del West .... One of Tom's men (uncredited)
  12. Maciste gladiatore di Sparta .... Fighter with Maciste (uncredited)
  13. Queste pazze pazze donne .... Thug in disco brawl (uncredited)
  14. The Visit .... Villager (uncredited)
  15. Una spada per l'impero .... Gladiator (uncredited)

    1965
  16. Due mafiosi contro Goldginger .... Guard (uncredited)
  17. La decima victima .... Man at the practice range (uncredited)
  18. La magnifica sfida .... Tavern brawler (uncredited)

    1966
  19. A.D.3 operazione squalo bianco .... Fighter in the bar (uncredited)
  20. Agente 3S3, massacro al sole .... Henchman (uncredited)
  21. Duello nel mondo .... Nightclub bouncer (uncredited)

    1967
  22. Tutto Totò (TV series) - ep. 6: "Totò ciak" .... One of Lupo's men (uncredited)

    1968
  23. Niente rose per OSS 117 .... Yusuf (uncredited)

    1970
  24. L'oro dei bravados .... Fighter in the tunnel (uncredited)

    1972
  25. Ettore lo fusto .... Member of gay biker gang (credited)

    1973
  26. Ming, ragazzi! .... Football player (uncredited)

    1974
  27. Carambola .... Clydeson henchman (uncredited)

    1975
  28. La polizia interviene: ordine di uccidere! .... Judo trainee in the gym (uncredited)
  29. Noi non siamo angeli .... Shark henchman (credited)

    1976
  30. Il conto è chiuso .... Rico henchman (credited)
  31. Squadra antifurto .... Gorniani henchman (uncredited)

    1977
  32. La via della droga .... Henchman (uncredited)
  33. Mr. Mean .... Hitman (uncredited)

    1979
  34. Il giocattolo .... Judo practitioner (uncredited)

    1982
  35. La gorilla .... Judo student (credited)
  36. Monsignor .... 1st killer (credited)

    1983
  37. Hercules .... Challenger of Hercules (uncredited)

    1984
  38. The last days of Pompeii (TV mini-series) - ep. 3 .... Gladiator (uncredited)

    1987
  39. Sicilian Connection .... Mafia assassin (credited)

    1988
  40. Big Man (TV series) - ep. 1: "Polizza droga" .... Thug (credited)

More Elio!
There are a few more movies where Elio is credited by online sources that I have been unable to find, so if anybody has images of him in the films below you know what to do.
  • Ursus gladiatore ribelle (1962) I'm pretty sure Elio appears as a Gladiator, but the prints currently available are awful quality and it would need a better copy to confirm the ID. Brother Giovanni definitely does appear.
  • Il torcinaso (1975) IMDb
  • Il commissario Verrazzano (1978) - It looks like it's probably Elio in my images for Pino Mattei playing some role in the pool hall, but really needs a better image to clarify
Last edited by PeplumParadise on 15/07/2021, 17:47, edited 10 times in total.

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Re: Elio Bonadonna

Post by PeplumParadise » 09/01/2021, 18:47

Esther and the King (1960) as Soldier wrestling with King Ahasuerus.

This is currently Elio's earliest known role.
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Re: Elio Bonadonna

Post by PeplumParadise » 09/01/2021, 18:50

Ercole alla conquista di Atlantide (1961) as Tavern brawler
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Re: Elio Bonadonna

Post by PeplumParadise » 09/01/2021, 18:54

Rosmunda e Alboino (1961) credited, Guard of King Cunimond, later a prisoner.

This is Elio's earliest known credit, though the role doesn't really warrant it
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Images upgraded, role amended

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Re: Elio Bonadonna

Post by PeplumParadise » 09/01/2021, 18:56

Sodoma e Gomorra (1962) as Sodomite guard at the branding
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Re: Elio Bonadonna

Post by PeplumParadise » 09/01/2021, 18:58

Maciste, il gladiatore più forte del mondo (1962) as Gladiator for sale
bonadonna.jpg
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Re: Elio Bonadonna

Post by PeplumParadise » 09/01/2021, 19:00

Maciste, l'eroe più grande del mondo (1963) as Soldier on the ship, in the centre at the back
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Re: Elio Bonadonna

Post by PeplumParadise » 09/01/2021, 19:09

Una spada per l'impero (1964) as Gladiator
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Re: Elio Bonadonna

Post by PeplumParadise » 09/01/2021, 19:10

Maciste, gladiatore di Sparta (1964) as Fighter with Maciste
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Re: Elio Bonadonna

Post by PeplumParadise » 09/01/2021, 20:25

Due mafiosi contro Goldginger (1965) as Guard
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Images upgraded
Last edited by PeplumParadise on 24/04/2021, 21:42, edited 1 time in total.

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