The term “spaghetti western” refers to the hundreds of Western films made between the mid-1960s and late ’70s by Italian filmmakers.
The term was originally used as a derogatory put-down for these films, which were often seen as cheap knock-offs of Hollywood Westerns.
But spaghetti westerns gained popularity, and many became cult classics that are still widely watched today.
Spaghetti westerns share certain trademarks, including:
- Exotic locations such as Almería, Spain (standing in for Mexico or the American Southwest)Violent action
- Avenging antiheroes with names like Django or Sartana
- Morricone-style music (Ennio Morricone composed the score for most of Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns)
What Is a spaghetti western?
A spaghetti western is a subgenre of the Western film that emerged in the mid-to late 1960s in the wake of Sergio Leone’s Dollars Trilogy.
Spaghetti westerns were produced almost exclusively in Italy, and their style is defined by European and Latin American directors, starring European and Latin American actors, and employing European writers.
Spaghetti westerns are characterized by the presence of more action sequences than was common in other Western film genres.
The early films in this genre were often an attempt to imitate the success of American westerns, but with exotic locations, anti-heroes, and more violence.
By the mid-1960s, most spaghetti westerns were made in Italy and Europe (such as Spain), although there are notable exceptions.
The term “spaghetti western” was coined by critics who considered these films inferior to their Hollywood counterparts.
However, some spaghetti westerns were popular with audiences, such as:
- The Good The Bad And The Ugly (1966)
- For a Few Dollars More (1965)
- A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
- Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
Here’s our introduction to spaghetti westerns covering the history and evolution of the genre:
What Is A Spaghetti Western?
A spaghetti western is a subgenre of the Western film. They were most common in the 1960s and 1970s.
Spaghetti westerns are typically Italian-made Western films that emerged in the mid-1960s. There is no precise definition of a spaghetti western, and it is difficult to clearly define the term as it encompasses a wide variety of approaches, themes, and tones.
Spaghetti westerns are further defined by the period they were produced, usually the late 1960s to the mid-1970s.
Films of this era were released, among the most notable films, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966) and Once Upon a Time in America (1984).
The majority of these films were produced in Italy by directors such as Sergio Leone and Sergio Corbucci. Still, there were also significant numbers of them made in Spain, Germany, and France.
The Eurospy genre also falls within these parameters and refers to European productions aimed at emulating popular American action series, notably James Bond. It is sometimes referred to as ‘secret agent chic.’
Eurospy films appeared after The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Danger Man, I Spy, and other shows became
A Spaghetti Western is a subgenre of the Western film that emerged in the mid-1960s, often considered to be a term used by critics and journalists from outside the United States and the United Kingdom.
The label also refers to the films produced in Italy by directors such as Sergio Leone, Duccio Tessari, Sergio Corbucci, Antonio Margheriti, and many others.
Tarantino’s oft-quoted definition states: “A Spaghetti Western is what you call a Western made in Italy, starring Italians, written by Italians and directed by Italians.”
Why Do They Call It A Spaghetti Western?
One thing I appreciate about American films is that they have a sense of humor about themselves. I’ve previously written about how Hollywood has a tendency to mock itself, or at least to make fun of the film industry and its excesses.
The spaghetti western can be enjoyed in the same way. It’s not a serious genre, it’s a parody of itself (and possibly other genres), and it’s the self-awareness that makes it so enjoyable.
There are many films that poke fun at the very idea of being a spaghetti western:
- The Great Silence (1968)
- Django Kill… If You Live, Shoot! (1967)
- Django the Bastard (1967)
Other films have characters that are aware they’re watching a movie:
- A Bullet for the General (1966)
- For a Few Dollars More (1965)
- Death Rides a Horse (1967)
Still, other films seem to be parodies of other genres but don’t quite fit into any particular genre themselves:
- Trinity is Still My Name (1971)
- They Call Me Trinity (1970)
Do you know any others? What do you think about them?
The term “spaghetti western” (Italian: “western all Italian”) describes a particular subgenre of the Western film that emerged in the mid-1960s in the wake of Sergio Leone’s ground-breaking Dollars Trilogy.
These films were produced in Italy, funded by Italian producers, and often written by Italian screenwriters. They were typically released in Italian cinemas, with occasional releases (and re-releases) in the United States and Europe.
The term was coined by critics and has been widely used to describe both the genre and its films collectively and specifically for individual films that have imitated or have been influenced by the original Dollars trilogy.
Spaghetti westerns were among the most popular and commercially successful European films during their heyday.
The term spaghetti western, meaning Italian western, is a rather amusing misnomer.
The word “spaghetti” was used to describe the type of film produced in Italy because the country’s film studios were located in the industrial area known as “the spaghetti district” (districto della maccheroni) in the north of Rome. It is an area that had been home to Italian filmmakers since the early 1900s when they were still making silent movies.
Unlike American westerns, which were often filmed in the deserts and canyons of New Mexico and California, spaghetti westerns were shot in Spain and other European countries.
Sergio Leone made many spaghetti westerns (A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More). Still, perhaps the most well-known is Once Upon a Time in the West, which was directed by Sergio Sollima and starred Henry Fonda and Charles Bronson.
In this 1968 film, the theme song was sung by none other than Italian-American crooner Dean Martin!
Why Did Clint Eastwood Do Spaghetti Westerns?
Clint Eastwood is best known as a grizzled lawman or a tough-guy action hero. But he very nearly found himself typecast in spaghetti westerns.
Authors Ian Nathan and Sean Egan have made a career writing biographies on Hollywood stars. Their latest effort, Hollywood Renegades: The Wild and Wooly World of the Spaghetti Western, explores the genre that Eastwood was once destined to become a part of.
Nathan told NPR why Clint Eastwood decided to pursue more serious roles instead:
“Because he was famous as the Man with No Name from ‘A Fistful of Dollars,’ Sergio Leone wanted him to do another Western. And he said: ‘I don’t want to be a cowboy anymore.’ And Leone said: ‘No, no, you can play one just like that, but he’s called the Man with No Name.’ And then [Eastwood] got Sabrina, the TV series — a more sophisticated role.”
The Man with No Name became a more nuanced character in Leone’s films. In “A Fistful of Dollars,” he was just a murderous gunslinger looking for revenge. As the trilogy played out, he softened into an enigmatic antihero who tried to keep his hands clean.
Barely a year after the first Sergio Leone Western, A Fistful of Dollars was released in Italy, its director was pressured by a major studio to come up with a sequel. The American distributor thought that the first movie’s success was mainly due to the presence of Eastwood and his signature six-shooter.
The studio knew that it couldn’t just have Clint playing someone else, so they came up with an idea. They’d have him play a different character in each film, but they’d make sure they all had the same name: The Man With No Name.
Eastwood became increasingly tired of having his acting identity stripped away like this as the years wore on. He wasn’t interested in making more Westerns anyway; he wanted to move on to something new.
So he decided to kill off his iconic character in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
But then he had an even better idea: what if he made one final film about The Man With No Name? And what if it were as unlike any other Western as possible?
He’d make a film that would be an anti-Western, calling it Once Upon a Time in the West. Instead of wide-open vistas and dusty streets.
Spaghetti Western Characteristics
The Spaghetti Western (Italian: western all’italiana; also known as “Macaroni Western” or “Italo-Western”) is a broad genre of Western films that emerged in the mid-1960s in the wake of Sergio Leone’s Dollars trilogy – collectively known as the Man With No Name Trilogy – and which featured American actor Clint Eastwood.
These movies were made with Italian financing (for example, Eastwood’s A Fistful of Dollars was produced by an Italian company), filmed in Italy, and featured European actors, especially Germans.
Spaghetti Westerns are films set in the American Wild West, produced in Italy by directors like Sergio Leone, and typically characterized by Italian-born actors who starred in the films.
Tarantino has said that he named his production company after one of these films because he felt it sounded like a music record company. He also liked that it was a reference to spaghetti since it is generally considered “Italian.”
The name Spaghetti Western was later used to refer to some gritty, mainly violent Italian-made Westerns from the late 1960s and early 1970s, such as The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (1966), A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965) and The Big Silence (1968).
These westerns were initially released in the US and UK under different titles (A Fistful of Dollars became The Magnificent Stranger) and were not marketed as part of the Spaghetti Western genre. However, they have come to be referred to as Spaghetti Westerns over time.
“Tarantino on Breaking Trail With ‘D’Pix” by William B. Evans. Variety, 22 March 1995.”
History Of Spaghetti Westerns
The genre of Westerns was inspired by the success of American westerns in Europe. “Spaghetti western” is an informal term for a Western movie made in Europe, primarily Italy, generally using European actors and filmed in Europe; it is not an Italian term used mostly by American audiences in the 1960s and 1970s.
The most famous Spaghetti Westerns are Sergio Leone’s Dollars Trilogy, set in the United States, starring Clint Eastwood.
History of Spaghetti Westerns:
The early 1960s In 1964, Sergio Corbucci, directed The Great Silence (Il grande silenzio), starring Jean-Louis Trintignant as a mute gunfighter with a revenge-fueled vendetta against a group of bounty hunters. This film was a huge success all over the world.
The same year, Sergio Sollima directed Face to Face (Faccia a faccia), starring Henry Fonda and Terence Hill. They became two of the most popular spaghetti western stars of the late 1960s.
The two films kicked off what would be known as “the golden age” of the subgenre. Other popular entries included The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966), Once Upon a Time in the West (1968),
The Spaghetti Western or “Italian Western” is a subgenre of the Western film. The term was coined by the Lima-based Film Development Corporation, a company that distributed Italian films in Latin America and the United States in the 1960s and 1970s.
The term was used by American critics and distributors to describe Euro Westerns filmed in Europe. It characterized these productions as being generally more action-orientated than their Hollywood counterparts, at least until the appearance of Clint Eastwood in A Fistful of Dollars (1964).
Most Spaghetti Westerns were European co-productions: Italian, Spanish, German, French, Czech, Polish or Yugoslavian directors filmed English speaking actors as “Amerindians” in North America set in the Wild West period. As such, they are similar to Italian produced Macaroni combat films also made about WWII.
Films set in American colonial times were called “Colonialist films.”
The 1960s saw many changes in the Spaghetti Westerns. The most critical directors were Sergio Leone with A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and For a Few Dollars More (1965), Duccio Tessari with The Forgotten Pistolero (1965), Sergio Corbucci with Django (1966) and Giulio Petroni.
Spaghetti Western Legacy
A Spaghetti Western is a Western movie produced in Italy. The U.S. media coined the term and used because they were often made by Italian directors, sometimes filmed in Spain,, and featured American or British actors who spoke their lines in English, which was dubbed into Italian.
Spaghetti Westerns were produced between the mid-1960s to the early 1980s, peaking with over 400 movies released between 1966 and 1971. They are usually categorized as a subgenre of Westerns known as “Euro Westerns.”
The term “Spaghetti Western” is most commonly used to refer to the films that emerged from Italy in the mid-1960s. However, it has also been applied to the contemporary Hollywood-made western films that imitated them.
According to critic Mark Bould, the phrase “spaghetti western” references both “the tangled plots of these low-budget Italian westerns” and “the fact that they were often served with spaghetti” after being “dumped on U.S. television under titles such as Death Rides a Horse.”
The genre began with Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars (1964) (initially released in the United States as The Bounty Killer). Then came Sergio Corbucci’s Django (1966) and Ke
The Spaghetti Western, or Italian Western, is a broad sub-category of exploitation films. These were produced in Italy by producers mainly from the golden years of Italian cinema: the 1960s and 1970s.
The early Spaghetti Westerns were often more violent and cruel than their American counterparts and portrayed the struggle between two factions with opposing moral codes. Director Sergio Leone’s “A Fistful of Dollars,” released in 1964, was one of the earliest and most influential Spaghetti Westerns.
It established several of the genre’s characteristics: most notably, the American hero ultimately triumphing over a group of outlaws and taking his revenge on a town that betrayed him.’
How Westerns From Italy Became The Cinema Gold Standard
How Westerns From Italy Became The Cinema Gold Standard
Westerns had always been popular, but there was one Western that would change the world. It came from Italy in 1954. This film was called “The Wild One,” starring Marlon Brando, portraying a new kind of anti-hero or villain. The producers of this film were able to create the teen rebel who would become a worldwide icon. After this film hit the theaters, it became an overnight sensation.
The image of a leather jacket-wearing motorcycle rider with a smoke in his mouth became associated with the new generation. For teens, this role model was considered cool and rebellious. In this article, we will review how this film and its star created the motorcycle culture that is still popular today.
As time went on, more and more American teens started purchasing motorcycles. This may have been because of the biker films that were starting to come out at the time. Movie producers wanted to make films about controversial subjects that would hold their audience’s attention and make them want to see it repeatedly at their local theaters.
They also realized that money was to be made by appealing to younger audiences. This led many moviemakers to start incorporating biker films into their repertoire of movies released each year.
The Origins Of The Spaghetti Western
To understand the origins of the spaghetti western, we have to go back in time. To a time when there was no such thing as a spaghetti western. When the most popular genre of films were comedies and romances. In fact, between 1920 and 1940, only 2.3% of all films made were westerns.
Towards the end of the 1930s, 20th Century Fox released a series of “B” Westerns that featured singing cowboys and was filmed in low-budget black and white by producer Sol Lesser.
These films established a star system for B Westerns, something previously unheard of in such films up until that point, with John Wayne being one of the most famous examples.
In 1943 director William Wyler had success with his film adaptation of Lillian Hellman’s play The Little Foxes, starring Bette Davis and Herbert Marshall. The film, however was produced by 20th Century Fox, who then offered Wyler the chance to direct another film with them, which turned out to be “The Stranger,” a Western starring Orson Welles and Edward G Robinson, who would, later on, appear alongside each other again in 1948’s “Black Magic.”
By 1945 however, it seemed that interest in B Westerns began to w
The Spaghetti Western is one of the most influential film genres in cinema history. Some consider it the greatest genre of its time, with revolutionary filmmaking techniques and a vast influence on future filmmakers.
Tarantino even named his production company after it: ‘A Band Apart’ was Sergio Leone’s nickname.
While there are many lists of the greatest Spaghetti Westerns, this article will focus on the origins of the genre, which can be found in Italian-produced Westerns from the ’50s and ’60s.
The first Spaghetti Western was A Fistful of Dollars (1964), directed by Sergio Leone and starring Clint Eastwood. This was the first collaboration between Leone and Clint, who would become synonymous with the genre.
The film follows a mysterious stranger (Clint) who arrives in a Mexican town at war between two rival gangs, who want to hire him for a $1,000 bounty. The film broke box office records at the time and established Clint as an international star. It also established Spaghetti Westerns’ characteristics: black humor, extreme violence, cynical antiheroes, and distinctive music from Ennio Morricone.
Early History Of Spaghetti Westerns
The Spaghetti Western is a Western film genre that emerged in the mid-to-late 1960s in the wake of Sergio Leone’s Dollars Trilogy, and other “Italian-produced westerns” such as They Call Me Trinity and Face to Face.
American critics and the international press used the term to describe Western movies shot in Italy, Spain, or Spanish-speaking Mexico by predominantly Italian directors and stars like Franco Nero, Gian Maria Volontè, Giuliano Gemma, Klaus Kinski, Henry Fonda, and others.
The genre has been described as a “morally ambivalent” mix of violence and moral ambiguity,  emphasizing cynical antiheroes.  By comparison with the traditional Western film, Spaghetti Western is more violent, erotic, and experimental in its storytelling.
The term was used by critics primarily to distinguish between the American Westerns produced in Hollywood and also to separate them from the more traditional European Westerns. 
Many of the most popular “Spaghetti Westerns”‘ were produced by Italian filmmakers who had worked extensively in that country’s film industry during the so-called “Golden Age of Italian Cinema”, including Sergio Leone, Duccio Tessari, Sergio Corbucci, Damiano Dam.
The Spaghetti Western is a sub-genre of the Western film that emerged in the mid-1960s in the wake of Sergio Leone’s Dollars Trilogy (also known as The Man With No Name Trilogy) starring Clint Eastwood.
Towards the end of the 1960s, Spaghetti Westerns began to supplant the earlier Eurospy films that also parodied the conventions of traditional Westerns.
The genre developed between 1962 and 1978.
Notable titles include: Per un Pugno di dollari / A Fistful of Dollars (1964). Directed by Sergio Leone. For a Few Dollars More (1965). Directed by Sergio Leone. The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (1966). Directed by Sergio Leone.
Death Rides A Horse (1967). Directed by Giulio Petroni. Navajo Joe (1966). Directed by Sergio Corbucci. Compañeros (1970). Directed by Alberto de Martino.
Financed on a low budget and filmed in Spain and Italy, these movies were almost always shot in Spanish or Italian and featured American actors such as Tony Anthony as Ringo/Roberto Rienzi, Bud Spencer as Monco/Bud Spencer, Mark Damon as Django.
The Spaghetti Western Heyday
During the 1960s, the Western became a movie staple in Italy. The genre’s popularity in Italy was partly because, after Sergio Leone began directing his Spaghetti Westerns and making waves with A Fistful of Dollars, other Italian directors saw that there was money to be made by remaking Westerns and adapting them for the Italian audience.
In this way, Spaghetti Westerns were a way for Italian filmmakers to get their foot in the door when directing. Sergio Corbucci, who had previously only worked as an actor, directed several Spaghetti Westerns before making his mark with Django. Similarly, Enzo G. Castellari started directing Spaghetti Westerns before moving on to bigger things (non-Westerns).
With so much talent being poured into these movies, it’s no surprise that they became so popular. The Spaghetti Western provided an outlet for creativity and helped many directors make a name for themselves.
But why do so many people love them today? One reason is that they are very different from Hollywood productions of the era. The original Italian films were produced on smaller budgets; therefore, they featured cheaper sets and props and less-professional actors. These factors gave the films a gritt.
If you’re looking for a fun and exciting way to entertain your family or friends, you have many options to choose from. There’s something out there for everyone from comedy movies to action movies.
Description: Spaghetti Western is a subgenre of Western film that emerged in the mid-to-late 1960s in the wake of Sergio Leone’s Dollars Trilogy. They were made on low budgets, featured violent shootouts, and often took place in the 19th century American West. Examples include The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (1966), A Fistful of Dollars (1964), and Once Upon a Time in the West (1968).
Best Spaghetti Western Movies
Let’s face it, some of the westerns that were produced in the 1960s and 1970s are more than a little cheesy. But as with many types of film, there are also quite a few great ones that have stood the test of time.
Tarantino’s recent success has revived interest in the Spaghetti Western. Now is a great time to revisit these classic films. Here is our list of the Top 10 Best Spaghetti Western Movies:
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966)
This movie is not only one of the most well-known Spaghetti Westerns but one of the best-known westerns overall. Some consider director Sergio Leone to be an icon of cinema, and this film is his crowning achievement.
It’s also arguably Clint Eastwood’s best movie as “The Man With No Name,” a role he reprised in For A Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. The music, cinematography, and acting make this movie special even today; it was nominated for three Academy Awards and won two Oscars for Best Original Score and Best Cinematography. If you haven’t seen this one yet, then you owe it to yourself to give it a try!
The Spaghetti Western film genre was born in the mid-1960s and soon became a popular subgenre of Italian western films. Spaghetti Westerns were low-budget Italian films that were shot with the same style and quality as American westerns.
Tarantino considered “Django” his favorite movie of the year, saying it was “maybe the best movie I’ve ever seen.” He also spoke highly of the actors’ performances in the film, saying: “I want to get this out of the way so that everyone stops asking me about it: Jamie Foxx is Django. He IS Django.
The character I’ve written is Django…I’m thrilled to see another filmmaker have the freedom to take my work and do whatever they want with it. That’s what I wanted.”
The film earned $60 million on its opening weekend and became Tarantino’s highest-grossing opening as director. The film also grossed more than $120 million domestically and more than $90 million internationally for over $200 million worldwide, making it Tarantino’s highest-grossing film.
These are the top 100 western movies of all time, from 1900 to 2000. This list is intended to guide people who enjoy viewing western movies.
Trying to find the best western movies can be difficult. The definition of a good movie can be subjective, and each person has their idea of what a great movie might be. We have attempted to compile a list of the best western movies ever made, but it was not easy. There are many criteria one can use when evaluating and rating films.
The following list is based on our attempt to produce a fair, balanced list that includes movies from many genres and different periods.