Italian Westerns - Spaghetti Westerns

Category: Western

the-good-the-badItalian western or spaghetti westerns refer to those categories of western films that become apparent in 1960s and stayed through the 1970’s. It has been given this name as most were films by Italians, generally producing and directing with Spanish production studios, in a mutual partnership. The critics have given the name of Italian western to the movies because they thought they were inferior in quality compared to the American movies.

In these Italian Western movies, the director was usually Italian assisted by Italian-Spanish staff for technical work, and a group of actors who were Italian and Spanish. At times the movies had popular stars but there were occasions when fading stars were also casted. These films were shot at economical locations to keep the budget reasonable and low. The most adopted themes in these movies consisted of the Mexican Revolution.

There were many great movies that were made under the category of Italian Westerns. The most famous and perhaps archetypal films were the "Man with No Name" trilogy (or "Dollars Trilogy") which was directed by the well-known Sergio Leone. He casted in his movie actors like Clint Eastwood with the musical combination of Ennio Morricone: “A Fistful of Dollars” (1964), “For a Few Dollars More” (1965), and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966). Later after the trilogy, Leone became motivated to make “Once Upon a Time in the West”. This movie portrayed the similar style of Leone movies along with musical Morricone. The talented director has been recognized as one of the most skilled film makers and people have admired him for his work.

Most of the films made in this category were low budget and were not too glamorous except a few. An all time favorite at that time was the “Tabernas Desert of Almería", that was produced at the three major studios of Texas Hollywood, Western Leone and Mini Hollywood.

“Tierra brutal” (1961) was the first movie which qualified as an Italian western. The cast included the combination of various American actors like Richard Basehart. The movie also featured Folclóricas Paquita Rico and María Granada who were Spanish. It was basically directed by Michael Carreras, who was known for his expertise in directing horror films in English.


In 1966 “Django” by Sergio Corbucci was one of the most internationally acclaimed Spaghetti westerns ever. Most of the Americans could recognize the movie through its frequent appearance in reggae songs, as the movie was a smash-hit in Jamaica. The director usually produced gut-churning violence, and “Django” was no exception. In 1967, “Days of Anger” was another great film in the genre by Tonino Valerii. The movie included Lee Van Cleef; the cowboy actor. Nevertheless, Cleef had a much darker role to play. In 1966, “Massacre time” by Lucio Fulzi is another movie under the western Italians.

Although the Italian westerns did not receive significant recognition from the audience, they still managed to be creative and realistic. Today this genre has almost faded out but some producers still prefer to call their movies Italian westerns. Some may argue that this genre exists in a more modernized manner today.

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AuthorFranck Benedittini - FMO Author

Franck Benedittini

A Staff Writer for, writes about actors, directors, characters and movies. Although he has a vast knowledge in cinema the cinematographic art is not its unique interest. He started to work on web development and web design in 2004 and has already created hundreds of websites.

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