Spaghetti Westerns

Between the years 1964 and 1973 more than 500 Italian-made Westerns were produced.  But why Italian?  Where were the Americans?  It turns out that during the 1950’s Americans started bringing the TV into their house.  That meant less time at the cinema so studios started focusing more on television shows – leaving a void.  The rest of the world was still without television and the appetite for Westerns was just as big as ever.  Countries all over Europe started to mass-produce Western films, but ultimately it was the dynamic duo, Ennio Morricone (composer) and Sergio Leone (director) who put Italy on the top of the list.  Thus was invented the ‘Spaghetti Western’.

Together they invented the style that anyone would recognize as a “Western”, long protracted camera shots, dramatic music and morally flexible protagonists (unlike the traditional John Wayne good-guy).  Clint Eastwood was the first Spaghetti Western film star.  The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and A Fist Full of Dollars are two prime examples of the Spaghetti Western.

Quentin Tarantino is a vocal fan of the Spaghetti Western.  Kill Bill II and Django Unchained are both homages to the style.


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