Although initially they were seen as foreign western films for their inferior production quality, but with time spaghetti westerns made a mark on western cinema and broadened western audience’s taste.
Spaghetti Westerns have a special place in the town of western movies. Spaghetti western era has given us the films which are counted as The Best western films. The good, the bad and the ugly, Once upon a time the west, Django are a few names that are etched deep in western mainstream cinema.
And not only many great films, but also many talented artists were discovered by Spaghetti westerns. How can we forget that Clint Eastwood became a mega-star only because of his spaghetti westerns trilogy. Credit goes to the master, Sergio Leone.
What it had to do with Spaghetti?
Well. Spaghetti Western is a nickname for a sub-genre of western films that emerged in the mid-1960s. Most of these Spaghetti Westerns were produced by Italian studios and were shot in Tabernas Desert of Almeria, Andalucia region of Spain which resembles American Southwest. So the term Spaghetti western film was coined.
The advantages of making westerns that way were significant:
- Low cost of production
- Similar Western backdrop
- Easy availability of Italian and Spanish bandits (actors to amuse your blood seeking taste)
Western Spaghetti cinema movies were easily distinguishable from traditional western movies because of their high violence.
But that violence was first of its own kind. More stress was laid on stylizing this brutal violence. Audience developed a taste for this violence of Spaghetti western films slowly but surely.
A period from mid 1960s to mid 1970s was the golden period for Spaghetti films. During this period their influence on western movie genre can’t be denied.
Let’s start from bottom to top of our The Best Spaghetti Films list!
20. The Mercenary – (1968) by Sergio Corbucci
The film starts with Kowalski sporting his don’t-mess-with-me image. He catches a dice cheater, makes him eat the dice and says, “When you get them back, I suggest you don’t use them again.” Sounds good?
19. Face To Face – (1967) by Sergio Sollima
Spaghetti films are known for glorifying the dark side of human nature. In Face To Face, same happens to aTuberculosis suffering History Professor Brad Fletcher ( Gian Maria Volonte) from England. With a hope to have some fresh air he heads west only to find the biggest twist of his life.
18. Ace High – (1968) by Giuseppe Colizzi
Name of this Spaghetti flick itself suggests that it has something to do with gambling. But more than that, this is an amazing revenge story with lots of chasing around.
The story revolves around six characters mainly. Cacopoulos (Eli Wallach), Cat (Terence Hill) , Hutch (Bud Spencer), Drake (Kevin McCarthy), Paco Rosa (Livio Lorenzon) and Thomas (Brock Peters). Ace High picks up where Colizzi’s God Forgives..But I Don’t (1967) wrapped up with the explosive death of bandit Bill San Antonio.
17. A Bullet For The General – (1966) by Damiano Damiani
Mexican revolution is used as backdrop among many western films. Not only it goves these movies a historical touch, but also employs a lot of extra actors (as rebels, soldiers and Mexican people). Jokes apart, Mexican revolution’s influence on western cinema is rooted deeper than any other backdrop.
16. The Big Gundown – (1966) by Sergio Sollima
If cars would have been invented back then in the Old West, Spaghetti Western film production would have caused the major fuel consumption. Why? Every second Spaghetti western movie is enriched with chase-n-hunt sequences. Well, being a fan of those deadly hunts and a environment friendly western films lover, I am glad they used horses which are very eco friendly.
I know you have got it. Yeah, this Spaghetti western film is about a man hunt. But a very inquisitive one I must say. The story is of a bounty hunter Jonathan Corbett, who is a terror for all the bandits of Texas. For his lawful services to the state, he is offered with the candidacy to Senate of the United States.
15. Sabata – (1969) by Gianfranco Parolini
Spaghetti films portrayed the growth of old west, rail road construction, bounty hunters in a larger-than-life style and a brutal way than traditional western films. This style and brutality could never be achieved without Spaghetti stars like Lee Van Cleef. Lee in this movie is as great as ever, tight lipped but loaded with wicked comments and weapons of destruction.
14. Death Rides A Horse – (1967) by Giulio Petroni
Death Rides A Horse, what else can be more stylish than that? The title of this Spaghetti Western Movie is itself capable of keeping you on the edge of your comfy couch. But this classic movie doesn’t thrive on its title only; it has more to offer your blood-seeking western taste.
13. Keoma – (1976) by Enzo G. Castellari
A half-breed named Keoma (Frank Nero) returns to his town after American Civil War just to find it in ruins by plague and terror of landlord Caldwell (Donald O’Brian). With beautiful experiments with sound and camera angles, Keoma captures you by heart and tells a story which is brutally violent but far more imaginative than usual Spaghetti flicks.
12. Red Sun – (1971) by Terence Young
In western movies here comes the glorious East too. In this East-meets-West western film, a train carrying a Japanese diplomat to the United States is ambushed and robbed by two outlaws Gauche (Alain Delon) and Link (Charles Bronson). They steal a priceless golden sword along with money.
11. Trinity Is Still My Name – (1971) by Enzo Barboni
No kidding.. some of the popular Spaghetti films have funny bones too. This Spaghetti western movie ranks high due to its popularity rather than that famous Spaghetti violent touch. This sequel to Trinity Is My Name (which was a major success on European box-office), carries the same tnicely. Trinity (Terence Hill) and Bambino (Bud Spencer) are together again.
10. Django – (1966) by Sergio Corbucci
A strange man enters the town dragging a mysterious coffin behind him. This Spaghetti western film became an inspiration for many other western movies later on and was imitated several times on silver screen. Character of Django played by Frank Nero remains a legend in the crowd of gunslingers from Spaghetti movies.
9. They Call Me Trinity – (1970) by Enzo Barboni
Trinity is an all time relaxed but the fastest gun around. They Call Me Trinity is a fun packed Spaghetti Western movie which is very unusual in aggressive and violent natured Spaghetti movies. Trinity (Terence Hill) and Bambino (Bud Spencer) are brothers of unmatched qualities. Together they roam around and crack a few laughs with their comic skills.
8. My Name Is Nobody – (1973) by Sergio Leone, Tonino Valerii
My Name Is Nobody is a mix of Sergio Leone and Trinity style. It has both the flavors to offer you; the deadly sting of Spaghetti films and the laughter of Trinity series. While Henry Fonda comes in traditional western film package and Trance Hill will remind you of silent era of comedy.
7. Campaneros – (1970) by Sergio Corbucci
Rejoice folks! You have got many reasons to do that with this Spaghetti western movie. Campaneros offers more than you expect. Firstly, a dream cast of Frank Nero, Thomas Milian, Jack Palance and Fernando Rey. Secondly, a compelling music score by Ennio Morricone (My God! Here I go again). Thirdly, Sergio Corbucci on director’s chair. Now tell me, how often you do get this kind of master-blaster packages?
6. The Great Silence – (1968) by Sergio Corbucci
Sergio Corbucci’s masterpiece “Il Grande Silenzio” aka “The Great Silence” is different from Corbucci’s earlier masterpiece “Django” (1966), which was a violent Spaghetti Western, but The Great Silence is also full of dark humour. Corbucci’s new treatment of making the thin line between Good and Bad more blurry, is outstanding. For the first time we see the outlaws as victims and bounty hunters as villains. A brutal saga of misery, greed and selfishness has never been told in such a ‘mute’ way.
5. A Fistful of Dynamite – (1971) by Sergio Leone
John Malloy is an Irish IRA explosives expert, on the run from British authorities in Mexico. Juan Miranda is a Mexican bandit with a dream of hitting the large bank his father once failed to rob. When the two meet, Juan sees John’s explosives experience as the ticket to rob the bank, but John is hard to persuade until Juan uses his ‘special’ persuasion talent.
4. A Fistful Of Dollars – (1964) by Sergio Leone
A mysterious and deadly drifter rides into a town torn by war between two gangs, the Baxters and the Rojo’s. Instead of fleeing as everyone expects him to, this merciless man schemes to play from both the sides, whoever pays him better, until there’s no one left to pay him.
3. For A Few Dollars More – (1965) by Sergio Leone
Two bounty hunters, one is a young man with lot of courage and second one is an old veteran with lot of experience. They join hands to capture an escaped bandit who is planning to rob a major bank in El Paso. Now that’s the only chance the duo has got to catch the bandit. They devise a plan to accomplish this mission and in the end, one of the bounty hunter reveals his real motive behind this hunt.
2. Once Upon A Time In The West – (1968) by Sergio Leone
Whoa! We are almost at the top of our list of The Best Spaghetti western movies from the West. And writing about Once Upon a Time in the West gives me same sheer pleasure I feel while watching it every time. All the magic cultivated by Sergio Leone is in the WAY this movie is made and the lively and fresh treatment of the story. Enough said.
1. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – (1966) by Sergio Leone
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly stands out in every aspect of a western movie. Be it direction, acting, characters, background music, dialogues or camera-work, no other spaghetti western comes even close to this movie. It’s entertaining, it’s violent, it’s hilarious..it has everything a classic western movie should have. Don’t tell me you haven’t seen it yet!
Other Mentionable Spaghetti Western Movies
- Day Of Anger – (1967) by Tonino Valerii
- Run, Man, Run – (1968) by Sergio Sollima
- Cemetery Without Crosses – (1969) by Robert Hossein
- Django Kill… If You Live, Shoot! – (1967) by Giulio Questi
- Four of the Apocalypse – (1975) by Lucio Fulci
- Storm Rider/The Grand Duel – (1972) by Giancarlo Santi
- China 9, Liberty 37 – (1978) by Monte Hellman and Tony Brandt
- Hellbenders – (1967) by Sergio Corbucci
- The Return Of Ringo- (1965) by Duccio Tessari
- Boot Hill – (1969) by Giuseppe Colizzi
So wasn’t that fun going through the list of 20 Classic Spaghetti films? I feel the same way.
am looking for the western film which started with a hero scouting another 6 men to avenge, helping the poor and the film ended where the heroes trapped in a bull fighting arena if not mistaken surrounded by the mexican army and the shootout begun. Sad ending. Please help.
fist full of dollars sucked. an inferior remake with some nonsensical subplot spliced in at the expense of crucial scenes that were a necessary part of the flow. the original yojimbo was better.
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I am looking for the name of an old comedy western film that included the phrase “neverless hello”.
I need help looking for an obscure t.v. film that I’m not sure is a Spaghetti Western or not. It’s about twin gunslinger brothers who are on opposite sides of the law. The whole movie shows how alike they are because they’re twins. I think it ends with them having a shoot-out and the bullets landing on the floor and all of them are melded together. I do know that it’s not a comedy. Any and all is sincerely appreciated. Thank you.
Im trying to find the name of a movie my older sisters took me to in the 70’s. They made me cover my eyes at times due to the violence. I remember one scene where the Indians had threaded a man through a wooden fence and built a fire underneath him? Can anyone give a possible title?
I love all clint eastwood western spaghetti movies as well as terrence hill funny ones can you send me a link where I can download it I would be much obliged , and thank ya kindly.
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I can’t remember the film title, but there is a scene where the men are standing around and one says ” I string along with Charlie” , and the main character shoots him dead, then asks ” any body else string along with Charlie?”
Do you know the title of the movie? Thanks
“Vera Cruz”. It starred Gary Cooper, Burt Lancaster, George Macready, Ernest Borgnine, Jack Elam, Charles Bronson.
The movie is Vera Cruz with Gary Cooper and Burt Lancester.
Playlist with many old western
“Have A Good Funeral, Sartana Will Pay” on YouTube
“wow nice version of this song, very well done”
from “Spaghetti Western Themes on Nylon String Guitar Volume 2” available at:
(with free previews of each tune and web notices)
do you have the longest hunt in fullscreen with brain kelly
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FYI – New review of Spaghetti Western Themes Vol. 2 CD:
“Pecci’s multi-tracked arrangements of movie themes from the so-called “spaghetti western” genre are every bit as dramatic, dynamic, and epic as the original orchestrated versions. Composer Ennio Morricone is represented on seven of the disc’s dozen instrumentals. Pecci’s identically titled first volume, from 2011, is also well worth checking out.” – Dan Forte, Vintage Guitar Magazine, June 2013 issue.
Discs available at links below.
FYI – SW Themes discs now available at Screen Archives:
Review of SW Themes Vol. 2:
“Spaghetti Western Themes on Nylon String Guitar – Volume 2”
CD now available at:
(with free previews of each tune)
“Spaghetti Western Themes on Nylon String Guitar” CD also available at:
(with free previews of each tune and web notices)
Fistful of Pasta review below:
If I could turn back the clock. Those were exciting times for me
“The good the bad and the ugly” apears in two diferent lists, number one in spagheti westerns and number one in top classic western movies, so?
Red Sun – (1971) by Terence Young
I watched this movie when i was a kid and i will never forget it … it was a great movie
Red Sun – (1971) by Terence Young
i wached this movie when i was a kid and i will never forget… it was a great movie
I believe “The Price of Power” starring Giuliano Gemma was one of the best, if only because it it was one western with a heart.
I enjoyed spaghetti westerns. I watched most of them when they were shown in theaters in my home City of Baguio, Philippines. I was a teenager then, and sometimes I skipped classes to watch double shows in the local cinemas, which today have been transformed into “wag-wag” (used clothes) shopping centers. My favorites were Giuliano Gemma and Franco Nero. I watched Django, Gringo, Sabata, Sartana, etc. starring those handsome Italians. They don’t make movies like them anymore.
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I am looking for a old movie which begin with a hang lynch in front of a church. The story is that five gunman( one Indian ) come to a village to revenge their friend (the murdered groom).
This is a good line up on Italian directors, I really like “Once Upon A Time In The West” – (1968) by Sergio Leone. The old camera’s and 35mm Kodak film still has a beauty about it, even tv. As good as HD high def film and High def camera’s, there something unique about the old school film and well directed movies such as all the ones above. I am going to watch each of these films one by one, thats for the blog and the good information.
…and this one too…
Django should be at least in the top 3.
Reviews of Spaghtetti Western Themes on Nylon String Guitar CD:
Review on Amazon of SW Themes CD:
Here the monthly post! – FYI, disc now also available at:
I love spaghetti western movies because all of them “speculated” the most spectacular parts from American westerns, especially the gunfighter condition, besides the specific sounds and effects…
I love also classic westerns but since mostly are inspired of American history it rather seems to be like a drama. As an European people for sure I can not feel deeply enough the American history therefore it’s more important for me the real action also spectacular heroes like famous gunfighters…
[…] bless DVD players and the Spaghetti Western. Morality tales set in a lawless land, etched in gunpowder and written in blood. Misdeeds, say […]
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I think the classics belong to Clint Eastwood. There will never be anything to touch the trilogy of dollar films.
Holiday Sale on “Spaghetti Western Themes on Nylon String Guitar” CD.
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Happy Holidays to all.
To all western people- Don’t ever think that Clint Eastwood belongs to western and spanish menu…… He also popular in INDIA and Indian film makers copied the style of screenplay and the Actors in India personify him. I love CLINT EASTWOOD.
I am a guitar player that has just released a CD entitled
“Spaghetti Western Themes on Nylon String Guitar”.
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Great list…can’t really argue with that. You did your homework.
[…] así como, tratando de sentirme ajena a todo para encontrar sosiego, llegué hasta la escena de un spaghetti western de 1968 con el previsible Terence Hill de protagonista y con “Last Man Standing” de fondo, […]
whatever happened to the movie “Onion kid” with frank nero?
I love all the Sergio Leone movies but my two favorites are
The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
Once Upon a Time in the West
I thought it worth mentioning Rango, the animated 2010 feature with a gunslinging chameleon was a very nice homage to the spaghetti western. I enjoyed it far, far more than I ever thought I would.
“The Man Who Came To Kill”;
“There Is A Time To Die”;
“Hate For Hate”;
“In A Colt’s Shadow”;
“Showdown At Yuma”;
“Texas, Adios”; and,
“Red Blood, Yellow Gold”.
appreciate your effort, comments and the information all work done
i hope you can locate a particular western entitled “gunfighters of the casa grande.” i have tried every website available. you are my last hope for my collection
go to you-tube channel johnny9148 for a short film of a tribute to the spaghetti western
greatest genre evah!! love spaghetti westerns. can’t wait for tarantino’s django unchained. should be awesome.
Rent ‘Duck You Sucker” with James Colburn. The bridge explosion scene is amazing.
Django deserves higher
[…] simply not been so comfortable with the idea of the lesser evil serving the greater good (1, 2, 3, 4, […]
I LOVE ALL TH WESTERN MOVIES AND ALL THE HEROES SUCH AS GORGE HILTON ..ANTONY STEVEN ..ANTONIO SABATA …JOLIANO JIMA …MARK DAMON …TERNES HIL ..BUD SBENCER FRANK WOLF …GORGE MARTEN ..ROBERT WOOD …
Where can I buy them? most I never heard of.
There was that unforgettable moment during “Winchester For Hire” (Guy Madison, Edd Byrnes) when I realized the score was a major part of the attraction, that started me, around 1968, on a lifelong attachment to Spaghetti Westerns. I had seen “A Fistful of Dollars” and liked it, but did not understand the role the score played. Now, every Christmas, we play “A Pistol For Ringo” (Montgomery Wood), for the “Country, that knows only the springtime…” opening song, and the “Its Christmas, Day after tomorrow… what a beautiful way to celebrate!” lookout’s complaint.
love those westerns as a youth. no nonsense approach. only action.no women dancing on top of tables. where can i buy the django ones?
I have been buying and watching spaghetti westerns a lot lately.
I can curl up at night with a cold beer and a good western movie and all my worries disappear! I love it! Clint Eastwood is “the man”!
its great eyefull to get all the best in one place..keep it up.
[…] grew up on Spaghetti Westerns and listening to my Dad credit the hundrends of people who made these movies. So if there’s […]