A sub-genre of the Western
films, so called because they were produced by Italian studios. These movies were typically shot in Spain, since the Tabernas Desert looks similar to Hollywood's idea of the old west
. Since Spanish extras were readily available, Spaghetti Westerns often featured "Mexican" characters
and themes, often focusing on the Mexican Revolution, border problems, or Mexican banditos
. There was a whole sub-genre dedicated to politically-oriented westerns about the Mexican Revolution called the Zapata Western.
Spaghetti Westerns were originally scorned for their low budgets, fading Hollywood stars, and deconstruction of nearly every Western trope
. However, the conventions found in Spaghetti Westerns later became staples of the genre and it was here that actor Clint Eastwood
launched his movie career.
Some well-known Spaghetti Westerns are:
Works influenced by the Spaghetti Western include:
- Fist of the North Star is a classic Japanese Anime that has been deeply influenced by the directorial style of Sergio Leone, right down to the violence-torn desert wasteland setting (albeit a futuristic one) and the mournful musical style of Ennio Morricone in its more thoughtful scenes.
- In what may be the Spaghetti Western tradition coming full circle, the Tabletop Card Game Bang! was created by an Italian designer and set in the Wild West.
- Borderlands features vast desertscapes, dangerous fauna, a band of Anti-heroes, a population of Axe Crazy convicts, the occasional small town and loads and loads of guns, oh and a big fat treasure at the end of the story, either sought or disbelieved by all.
- Borderlands 2 has a side mission where a search for some treasure ends with a shootout between the PC and two NPCs over a grave...
- The 2011 film Rango is practically a love letter to this genre of film, featuring numerous shout outs in its plot to films of days gone past, mimicking the cinematography typical of its genre and even featuring a cameo an animated version of the Man With No Name as the "Spirit of the West".
- Sukiyaki Western Django
- Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate is a Chinese Wuxia film staring Jet Li that is openly infulenced by the melancholic and violent world of Sergio Leone; being set in the mournful and windswept deserts of Shing Jiang province really helps.
- The Quick and the Dead is basically a Martial Arts Tournament (think Enter the Dragon) fought with quick-drawn revolvers. Made by Americans, yes. But its corrupt, wind-swept and decaying wasteland punctuated with a mournful Ennio Morricone inspired soundtrack hits the genre's nail right on the head.
- The Good, The Bad, The Weird is a more humourous and action-paced Korean Remake of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, set in the 1930s Manchuria.
- Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds has a number of spaghetti western elements to it. Django Unchained follows the genre a lot more closely, considering it actually is a Western. Not to be outdone, Kill Bill also has several shout-outs, including reusing a lot of music from this genre.
- The Boktai game series features a number of spaghetti elements, most notably its gunslinging protagonist, Django. The second game in the series was by far the most heavily influenced by the genre, but then the influences were downplayed significantly for the third game as well as the In Name Only follow-up Lunar Knights.
See also Western