In Sicily, after the second war, separatist movements used the help of criminals against the central italian forces.
The leader of one of the separatist groups, Salvatore Giuliano, was particularly difficult to track. The movie starts with presenting his dead body shot in a street in Sicily, and back to the motivations for the murder, and who commited.
The way this movie was made is very special. The director uses a jornalistic style, or documentary, but he doesn't present a final version of truth. Some pieces of the story are obscure, and he leaves these pieces that way.
The scenes for the judgment are very original. The movie looks fresh even though it was released on 1961. It has set the tone for subsequent political movies, like Z, by Costa-Gavras, or The battle of Algiers, by Gilo Pontecorvo.