Gatling gun Colt revolver Winchester rifle Cowboy and Horse Cowboy and Horse Winchester rifle Colt revolver Gatling gun

Spaghetti westerns
(1964 - 1975)
(Always end your day on a highlight with a Spaghetti Western...)


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Colts
THE HISTORY OF SPAGHETTI WESTERNS
(Buy old and rare spaghetti westerns here)

A very warm welcome to my website about Spaghetti Westerns.  I hope you enjoy your visit and find that by the time you leave you're hooked on spaghetti westerns and are soon to become an avid fan.  If not, then surely when you have seen a couple of spaghetti westerns you too will be hooked.

Remington pistol (1866-1935)Winchester rifle (1873)Sharps pistol (1849-1859)

1. Remington pistol (1866-1935) 2. Winchester rifle (1873) 3. Sharps pistol (1849-1859)

In this website you will get a broad overview about what spaghetti westerns are all about, but the best thing about it is that you will also be able to buy old and rare spaghetti westerns here and choose between more than 500 titles.  For more detailed information about spaghetti westerns there are some very good websites out there with more specific information about this genre, which took the western movie world by storm during during the sixties and early seventies. However, few of these websites offer the restored rare films that I have made available here.
The good the bad and the ugly (1966)
1. A scene from "The good the bad and the ugly" (1966)


THE ORIGIN OF SPAGHETTI WESTERNS
When the availability of American Westerns started to dry up in the early 1960’s, various European film companies began financing and producing their own westerns.  These producers endeavored to pass them off as genuine American westerns, by casting a vaguely recognizable American actor in the lead role and modifying the rest of the cast and crew to seem more English. Several of these new westerns were convincingly shot on sets in Italy and Spain.
Colt army revolver (1860) Colt revolver (1873)
1. Colt army revolver (1860) 2. Colt revolver (1873)

During 1964, a team of Italian, Spanish and West German producers put together a small budget and a deal that allowed a certain “Bob Robertson” (actually Sergio Leone) to write and direct a western in his own special way.  Inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo and starring Clint Eastwood, Leone’s film was called “Per Un Pugno Di Dollari” (A Fistful of Dollars) and it was in essence the origin of the spaghetti western. There are however some people that believe otherwise. Of the hundreds of westerns (some people estimate about 600) that were made from 1960 - 1975, the majority of them came from western Europe (mostly Italy, Spain and Germany).  More than 400 spaghetti westerns were produced during their 1960’s peak period.  With the advent of the 1970’s, the spaghetti westerns rapidly started to decline, quality and quantity wise, although there are a couple of westerns made in the early seventies that are considered to be equally as good and popular today as those of the sixties.
The great silence (1968)
1. A scene from "The great silence" (1968)

WHAT IS A TYPICAL SPAGHETTI WESTERN?
A typical spaghetti western was usually made with a low budget, but contains lots of action scenes and many also have some sort of gadget/s, typical James Bond style.  Most spaghetti westerns could be described as “political” to some extent, because you are hard pressed to find an honest or honorable town official, businessman or authority figure in any of these films.  Certain directors used the backdrop of the Mexican Revolution, to deliver a more explicit political message.  In addition to all the action, the brilliant Italian directors at that time, made sure their movies had an excellent score and great décor.  This charming touch made these westerns in actual fact something to behold, especially in spite of low budgets.  The world quickly started to symbolize Italians, who are known for their love of spaghetti dishes, with the fantastic westerns from their country. From there the term spaghetti westerns appeared overnight and has stuck in everyones mind ever since.
Colt revolver (1901) Smith & Wesson revolver (1887-1910)
1. Colt revolver (1901) 2. Smith & Wesson revolver (1887-1910)

An interesting fact is that most of the movies were actually shot in the Tabernas desert of Spain, while the rest were shot in different localities all over Italy.  A typical spaghetti western had an Italian director, Italian-Spanish technical staff and the cast consisting of Italian, Spanish, German and American actors.  Some of the westerns had fading Hollywood stars but also rising stars, like Clint Eastwood for example.  Other famous and popular actors are Franco Nero, Giuliano Gemma, Eli Wallach, Tonino Valerii, Lee Van Cleef, Bud Spencer, William Berger, Gianni Garko, William Berger, Klaus Kinski, Yul Brynner, Dean Reed, Tomas Milian, Jack Palance and Antonio De Teffe.  All of them played in one or more top of the line spaghetti westerns.
Remington revolver (1863-1875) Marlin pocket revolver (1875)
1. Remington revolver (1863-1875) 2. Marlin pocket revolver (1875)

Initially however, the term spaghetti western had a sort of negative connotation to it.  How could a low budget western, with a lone American actor and unknown European actors, ever dare to compete with the “greatly superior” American westerns that Hollywood had being producing for more than 20 years?  It was thus labeled by many as cheap imitations and nothing more.  With time however, the westerns being produced in Italy reached international acclaim for their achievements, on many different levels.  Today spaghetti westerns have reached cult status and are highly sought after by fans of the genre. After many years spaghetti westerns popularity just keeps increasing.
Django (1966) A professional gun (1968)
1. A scene from "Django" (1966) 2. A scene from "A professional gun" (1968)

THE STYLE OF SPAGHETTI WESTERNS
The European westerns differ from the typical Hollywood style of westerns in more ways than one.  Hollywood created cowboys and Indians, while the spaghetti westerns tend to be more about cowboys and Mexicans.  The reason might be to the fact that in Spain a lot of Spanish actors were readily available to play Mexican roles, while Indians actors were extremely hard to come by or even totally lacking.  The spaghetti westerns are notorious graphic violence in contrast to American westerns.  Lastly and perhaps the most interesting fact about spaghetti westerns is that it is very difficult to distinguish at times between the so called good guys and the hero and the bad guys and the hero.  This is in stark contrast to the Hollywood westerns with their hero who clearly stood out in all of their westerns.  Not long after the spaghetti western stylistic success, Hollywood decided to adapt this same style and made their follow up westerns more unique and appealing.
Once upon a time in the west (1968)Keoma (1976)
1. A scene from "Once upon a time in the west" (1968) 2. A scene from "Keoma" (1976)

DIRECTORS OF SPAGHETTI WESTERNS:
SERGIO LEONE

A big part of the immense success of spaghetti westerns is surely due to the shear brilliant Italian directors at the time.  Of all the directors, Sergio Leone was probably the master of them all.  Not only was he a fantastic director, but he also brought a lot of new and refreshing ideas to the western genre.  He is perhaps best known for the trilogy of movies he directed, namely “A Fistful of Dollars” (1964), “For a Few Dollars More” (1965) and “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” (1966).  These three movies each starred Clint Eastwood and featured the distinct music of Ennio Morricone.  All three movies became enormously popular over time, and remain so today.  In fact it was this trilogy that established Leone as a world-renowned director, Eastwood as an accomplished actor, and Morricone as one of the most creative composers in the film industry.  Of note is that “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” is rated by most spaghetti westerns rating lists on the Internet, as the best spaghetti western of all time.
Springfield rifle (1875)
1. Springfield rifle (1875)

Many people love Leone’s westerns for the cool, interesting and sinister characters he created in his movies.  In the first episode of the trilogy, “A Fistful of Dollars”, Clint Eastwood is introduced with a classic outfit.  He was portrayed as a man with no name, who comes from nowhere, always silent and only lets his gun talk for him.  This is quite strange, since many actors would like more dialogue, but Leone went for the opposite, he thought Eastwood would do better by not talking.  In the second part of the trilogy, “For a Few Dollars More”, Leone developed the characters to a much greater extent, by creating two main musical themes for the two major characters and adding in more details about the way the characters think and behave.  Eastwood’s character this time was less intelligent than in the first episode and ruder in some ways.  The colonel played by Lee Van Cliff is portrayed as more thoughtful, that’s why he is always one step ahead of Eastwood’s character.
Winchester rifle (1886)
1. Winchester rifle (1886)

It is in the final chapter of the trilogy, “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” that really shows how the maturity of Leone's characters developed over time.  I.  Unlike the typical characters used in most American westerns, Leone's three characters are in fact more complex than the title leads one to believe.  The Good lies twice at the end of the film and treats his “partner” like a pig.  The Bad is sometimes humane, as he charitably gives bottles to the wounded soldiers and The Ugly is in fact the most charming one of all three characters.  The trilogy was by far Eli Wallach’s best role and Leone’s favorite character in all his films.  He is forever immortalized by the remarkable scene with the so called Tuco punch line: “When you have to shoot, shoot, don’t talk.”
Winchester rifle (1894)
1. Winchester rifle (1894)

Leone’s actions scenes always proceed in a straightforward way and without any or minimal dialogue before them.  The duel scenes in his films are the best example of his style.  It is more like a ritual, a bullfight show or a ballet of death.  Time is stretched out with the characters, slowly walking in a round circle and carefully observing each other.  This technique builds up tremendous tension and expectation for something significant to happen.  Then all of a sudden, violence erupts in a blink of an eye and the duel is finally over.  Leone was also known for his incredible humor, that's why there are so many visual gags in his films.  To name a few, the hero can light a match on any surface and in the scene of “A Few Dollars More,” Clint Eastwood intentionally lights a match on Klaus Kinski.  In “The Good, the Bad and The Ugly,” Eastwood missed the shot on the gallows rope and Tuco falls down without a horse under him.  Leone’s films are full of these kinds of funny moments between all the tension.
Sharps buffalo rifle (1874)
1. Sharps buffalo rifle (1874)

Leone’s particularly stylish approach (extreme close ups, silent pauses, clever editing, unusual camera angles, held shots, inventive composition and framing along with great costumes and sets) stand out in all his westerns.  Some of the more talented Italian directors were able to adapt certain key elements from his approach, to further beautify their own increasingly extravagant visions.  Sergio Leone only made a couple of westerns, but he inspired the production of over six hundred other European Westerns, with his unique style and incredible creative talent.
God forgives I dont (1967)They call me Trinity (1970)
1. A scene from "God forgives, I dont" (1967) 2. A scene from "They call me Trinity" (1970)


SERGIO CORBUCCI
Another gifted director was Sergio Corbucci, Sergio Leone's friend and colleague.  He directed the notorious Django in 1966, which ranked under the top ten western movies of all time, by western movie fans.  This movie was an interesting, but much darker variation of some of the main parts from “A Fistful of Dollars.” The violent content in this film ensured that it remained banned in England until 1993.  In Companeros (1970), Sergio Corbucci added a political angle, in which a mercenary (Franco Nero) and a revolutionary bandit (Tomas Milian) played the lead roles.  He then went ahead and directed one of the most original and possibly the best spaghetti western ever, judged by many fans, namely “Il Grande Silenzio” (The Big Silence - 1968).  Corbucci also directed a slightly straighter “political” western, named "A Professional Gun" that was released in 1968.  This film stars famous actors like Franco Nero, Tony Musante and Jack Palance.  Sergio Leone and Sergio Corbucci are probably the two notable directors, when it comes to spaghetti westerns.  Their enormous talent with directing westerns made sure that their movies are now considered western classics that will definitely stand the test of time.
A fistful of dollars (1964)For a few dollars more (1965)
1. A scene from "A fistful of dollars" (1964) 2. A scene from "For a few dollars more" (1965)

OTHER DIRECTORS
Directors worth mentioning are Duccio Tessari, who had helped script “A Fistful of Dollars.”  He entered the movie scene in 1965 with “Una Pistola Per Ringo” (A Pistol For Ringo) and “Il Ritorno Di Ringo” (The Return of Ringo - 1965).  Another friend and colleague of Sergio Leone, namely Giuseppe Colizzi, directed “Dio Perdona... Io No!” (God Forgives, I Don’t - 1966).  Sergio Garrone filmed the impressive and spooky “Django Il Bastardo” (Django The Bastard - 1969), while Enzo G. Castellari directed the classic (Keoma - 1975).  This last mentioned, original and almost mystical western, starring Franco Nero, William Berger and Woody Strode is also one of the best westerns ever filmed.  Sergio Martino directed the equally excellent Mannaja (A Man Called Blade) in 1977.  This classic western features a stranger in a town with vengeance on his mind.
Companeros (1970) A pistol for Ringo (1971)
1. A scene from "Companeros" (1970) 2. A scene from "A pistol for Ringo" (1971)

THE SCORE
One of the secrets of the spaghetti westerns success has certainly to do with the soundtrack in the films.  Music and film always go hand in hand, where music can heighten the atmosphere or tension created by the films visual content.  The one person, whose music talent clearly stood out above the rest, is Ennio Morricone's.  When you talk for example about Sergio Leone’s films, you can’t ignore his remarkable partnership with his primary school mate, Ennio Morricone.  This pair brought the absolute best out of each other.  The way they worked with the score was quite unique and innovative.  Morricone liked to write some part of the score before the film was shot and Leone would cut his film to the score afterwards.  A great example is the final duel scene in, “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.”  It is obvious Leone arranged some kind of choreography rehearsal and then cut from one character to another, to meet the pace of the score.
Sharps Springfield rifle (1870)
1. Sharps Springfield rifle (1870)

Two films which features excellent Ennio Morricone soundtrack scores are, “A Pistol For Ringo” (1965) and “The Return of Ringo” (1965).  One of Sergio Leone’s all time classics, “Once Upon a Time in the West,” score was also done by Ennio Morricone.  His usage of natural sound is remarkable.  Recall the opening sequence in “Once Upon a Time in the West,” with the sound of the broken windmill, the fly, the water drop, etc.  Leone once said sound is forty percent of his films, but with this particular film it was definitely way more than that.  Part of Morricone’s genius is that he would write different themes for each character in the films.  A great example of this is four different musical themes for the four major characters in “Once Upon a Time in the West.”  The themes were played as an intro to the characters, when they appeared on the screen.  The themes suit the characters perfectly and are very memorable to the audience.  Morricone’s score for the “Dollars Trilogy” is at the peak of his long and successful career.  With these three westerns he brought something very distinctive to the history of film score. He achieved this by mixing different sounds and musical instruments, for example electric guitar, trumpet, clank, whistle, whip, chorus and soprano.  This high-pitched, experimental symphony-like score worked well in some of the highlighted scenes and created beautiful atmospheres in which the stories unfolded.
Remington rifle (1868-1888)
1. Remington rifle (1868-1888)

Worth mentioning is a soundtrack that you will never forget, once you have heard it.  It is the powerful music of Luis Enrique Bacalov in Django.  You are listening to the music while Django ( Franco Nero), drags behind him a mysterious black coffin, through mud and water and then enters a town.  During this time the music creates such an incredibly rich atmosphere, that it is truly an emotional experience.  In general, the music in spaghetti westerns portrays sad melodies, with the trumpet that is common in most of the movies.  Light hearted music is more the exception than the rule, but those that include such music were delightful and stay with you for a while after the movie.  A couple of comedy westerns have quite unique and funny music, but in a strange way it does give credit to the films and complements the action scenery.
Light the fuse... Sartana is coming (1970)
1. A scene from "Light the fuse... Sartana is coming" (1970)


SPAGHETTI WESTERNS OF TODAY
Since the golden era of spaghetti westerns in the sixties and seventies, many westerns are now fading away in archives, while others are badly edited or restored and nearly always in a “Pan & Scan” format.  Certain channels broadcast westerns, but then mostly in the middle of the night, preventing a lot of western movie fans from discovering these golden oldies.  When DVD’s appeared on the horizon, a lot of people were highly optimistic, hoping they will finally be able to see lots of spaghetti westerns on DVD’s.  Now at last they could enjoy them, fully remastered, restored, unedited and in its original wide screen formats!
Spencer rifle (1870)
1. Spencer rifle (1870)

The hope was short lived however.  Certain spaghetti westerns can be bought on DVD’s these days, but the majority of them are not available on DVD and begs the question if they ever will be.  There is however some light at the end of the tunnel.  You can order the majority of the spaghetti westerns (more than 500) from this website and also join in a nearly forgotten era of top notch westerns, the best ever made since the revolution of the movie industry.  Spaghetti westerns, whether you love them, hate them or don’t know anything about them, they are here to stay and the sooner you start to experience the thrill and excitement of watching them, the better.  Be warned though, once you started to watch spaghetti westerns, you will not want to stop until you have seen them all...
Mannaja - A man called Blade (1977)
1. A scene from "Mannaja - A man called Blade" (1977)

RESTORATION OF THE SPAGHETTI WESTERNS
The westerns available here are all restored to some extend.  A lot of westerns had advertisements, weak sound and “fractured” edges, typical of very old films.  Adverts were removed, the volume of the soundtrack increased and the rough edges cut out.  The final products are saved in mp4 format, to give the spaghetti westerns a more professional look and feel while watching.
Marlin rifle (1881)
1. Marlin rifle (1881)



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