Spaghetti Western, also known as Italian Western or Macaroni Western, is a broad subgenre of Western films that emerged in the mid-1960s in the wake of Sergio Leone’s film-making style and international box-office success. –Wikipedia.
Are you familiar with Spaghetti Westerns? Over five hundred of these films were made in the sixties and they are now cult classics. Wildly popular in Europe, they were low budget and released first in Europe and then in the states.
Probably the most well-known of the Spaghetti Westerns are Clint Eastwood’s Dollar Trilogy, also known as The Man with No Name Trilogy and included, A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Clint Eastwood became the first megastar of the Spaghetti Western with these films.
Where American Westerns featured the white hat hero with strong moral fiber, the heroes of the Spaghetti Western were cynical loners with a less than honorable past. These heroes are what is referred to as the Delta Hero. He’s dark and dangerous. Typically, a damaged hero who exiles himself from society and takes on loner/outlaw status. Will he do the right thing in the end? The only thing that’s certain is that he is unpredictable.
The cinematographic style of Spaghetti Westerns made the scenery another character in these movies. Desolate, dusty, dry towns and countryside evoked an imagery of death and doom. The films over-utilized long shots, suspense and the element of surprise.
The musical score too is far more memorable and intrinsic to these film than the American Western, often utilizing rock scores and the electric guitar heavily. The music built an increasing sense of tension and suspense. You most likely can remember the music to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Can you recall the thematic music to any American Western? I’m guessing not.
Fistful of Dollars
For a Few Dollars More
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
From the Spaghetti Western Database, I give you the top ten Spaghetti Westerns voted the essential classics of the genre.
1. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly -1966 starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach.
2. Once Upon a Time in the West -1966 starring Charles Bronson, Claudia Cardinale and Jason Robards.
3. For a Few Dollars More -196 starring Clint Eastwood, Klaus Kinski and Lee Van Cleef.
4. The Great Silence -1968 starring Klaus Kinski and Jean-Louis Trintignant.
5. A Fistful of Dollars -1964 starring Clint Eastwood.
6. Django -1966 starring Franco Nero.
7. The Big Gundown -1966 starring Lee Van Cleef.
8. The Mercenary -1968 starring Franco Nero and Jack Palance.
9. Companeros –1970 starring Franco Nero.
10. Death Rides a Horse -1967 starring Lee Van Cleef.
How about some favorite lines from Spaghetti Westerns?
When you have to shoot, shoot, don’t talk. – Eli Wallach, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
You see, in this world there’s two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig. -Clint Eastwood, The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.
Alive or dead, it’s your choice. –Clint Eastwood, For a Few Dollars More.
The heart, Ramon. Don’t forget the heart. Aim for the heart, or you’ll never stop me. –Clint Eastwood, A Fistful of Dollars.
Are you a fan of the Spaghetti Western? Any favorites?
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A freelance writer for over twenty years, Tina Radcliffe has sold over two dozen romances to Woman’s World. Tina is an RWA Honor Roll member, a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist, and a 2014 ACFW Carol Award winner. She is a 2018 ACFW Mentor of the Year and a 2018 Carol Award finalist. She currently resides in Arizona, where she writes fun, heartwarming romance. Visit her on the web at https://www.tinaradcliffe.com/