This is a documentary-style Italian drama chronicling the rise and fall of the title character, a real-life Mob chieftain who rose to prominence in post-WWII Sicily.
Salvatore Giuliano himself is almost unseen and his career is recalled in flashbacks after his assassination in 1950. With the help of his right-hand man and cousin Gaspare Pisciotta (Frank Wolff), Salvatore becomes a guerilla leader whose resistance to the corrupt politicians dominating his post-war nation leads to his popularity among the Sicilian peasant class.
As time passes, though, Salvatore becomes more of a criminal than a rebel, threatening Mafia income. Even Salvatore's own devoted followers begin to doubt him, and when he orders the slaughter of communist supporters at a rally, a bloody shootout with police ensues.
Salvatore Giuliano (1962) was such an effective anti-organized crime film that it inspired a real-life investigation into Mob activities in Sicily. The Giuliano story was later filmed as The Sicilian (1987) starring Christopher Lambert as the title character.