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 (uncredited) .... Soldier wrestling with King Ahasuerus
  2. La regina delle Amazzoni (uncredited) .... Prisoner of the Amazons

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

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

    1963
  8. Maciste, l'eroe più grande del mondo (uncredited) .... Soldier on the ship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    1984
  37. The last days of Pompeii (TV mini-series, episode 3) (uncredited) .... Gladiator

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

    1988
  39. Big Man (TV series, episode 1: Polizza droga) (credited) .... Thug

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.
  • 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 29/04/2021, 0:21, edited 4 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
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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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