American westerns that have a spaghetti western/Sergio Leone style

What are some good westerns that have a spaghetti western style but aren’t actually Italian?

I am obsessed with the Dollars trilogy and OUATITW but, honestly, the rest of the Spaghetti westerns are pretty underwhelming, forgettable and just uninspired most of the time so I’m looking for something to scratch the spaghetti western itch that isn’t rewatching Leone’s masterpieces.

The only 2 that come to my mind are High Plains Drifter (1973) and The Wild Bunch (1969). Both are fantastic movies.

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Yellow Sky, but it was made before Spaghetti Westerns (1948). And of course Hang ‘em High is a more obvious one.

Oh yeah, forgot about Hang 'Em High, excellent movie!

Yellow Sky isn’t my cup of tea though as I don’t like B/W movies.

If someone colourised it, that would make it watchable?


Not really, colorized movies tend to look really odd. I prefer B/W over colorized, although I don’t really like either.

Hang 'Em High was, to my mind, a botched attempt to ape the Spaghetti Western mode. It took on some of the superficial stylistics while rehashing the sentiment and hackneyed clichés of a very conventional American movie.
Eastwood is the only American director I can think of who carried over something of Leone’s approach, markedly with High Plains Drifter, but also Pale Rider, The Outlaw Josie Wales and The Unforgiven.

An obvious one: The Quick and the Dead… clearly inspired by Leone.

Well I partially agree, it is a botched attempt at imitating and copying Leone’s style but so is basically every spaghetti western that isn’t made by Leone.

Simply put, every western inspired by Leone but not made by him is vastly inferior.

Be it the desolate desert atmosphere and aesthetic, the action, the writing, the casting, the pacing, the characters etc. Everything is inferior.

However, with that being said they’re still fun because of the influence Leone had on them and because they frequently use the same great actors from his movies like Eastwood and Van Cleef… and Hang 'Em High is one of the better ones.

Maybe Two Mules for Sister Sara with its Morricone score and Clint again.
And, of course, the two Tarantino westerns The Hateful Eight and Django Unchained.

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I’ve seen Two Mules for Sister Sara. It’s honestly a really weak movie, it’s weaker than most non-leone spaghettis which is saying something. The only thing I’ll praise about that movie is the shooting locations and aesthetic, I thought those were pretty good but other than that it sucks.

Also yeah Tarantino, in general, is very similar to Sergio Leone, all his movies are basically Leone westerns when it comes to writing and characters, just with a very different setting and aesthetic.

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Hmmm, I disagree with the fact that Tarantino movies are basically Leone westerns.

Yes, he re-uses morricone music (a fact I don’t really like since it’s just weird to suddenly hear Il Tramonto being used to introduce another character than Angel Eyes) but they have different angles:

  • tarantino far more focuses on dialogue… In Leone, the characters don’t speak that much
  • tarantino has a large focus on violence and big scenes with long-term violence while Leone has a large build-up towards the violence, but the violence itself is rather short (for example the ending duels).

It seems to me that Tarantino leans more towards the Corbucci westerns than the Leone ones.


On the first point I agree. The use of dialogue is very different, the key difference actually… but the 2nd point is just false. Both Tarantino and Leone have moments of swift spontaneous violence with a long build-up and both have longer bigger spectacles.

Also Tarantino considers Leone to be one of his 7 favorite filmmakers… and not only that, he’s the person who inspired Tarantino the become a filmmaker in the first place. Corbucci, on the other hand, isn’t even mentioned.

1998’s Dollar for the Dead with Emilio Esteves is a pretty good attempt to recreate the feel of the spaghetti western, Tony Anthony producing and the use of the sets in Almeria helps enormously

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100 Rifles

I more or less agree with that too. My point about Hang 'Em High, and other American pseudo Spaghetties I’ve seen is that, even when they do succeed somewhat in imitating the style, they lack the European and more specifically Italian sensibility.

I think Bullet for the General is stronger plot-wise than any Leone film, although of course it doesn’t have Leone’s magic.

what do you mean exactly by “Italian sensibility”? Can you elaborate?

Holy shit Jonathan Banks in a spaghetti western, I have to see this!

Impossible to define exactly, but I mean the unique combination of cultural, political, intellectual and aesthetic attitudes of Italian filmmakers of the period. Without linguistic cues, you’d probably know you were watching an Italian Western, not least because of its operatic feel.

I would like to mention a couple of my favourites non-SW . They are: Diablo and Ravenous. They have a little bit of that spaghetti western magic in them. I think there are a lot of others as well. Great question by the way!

’The Culpepper Cattle Company’? Gritty as hell…

In Britain, during the Sixties, they had black and white ‘Kitchen-sink’ film dramas…

Perhaps Westerns such as ‘Culpepper’ should be regarded as a ‘Worn-Saddle’ drama…