Is "Breaking Bad" a neo-spaghetti western?

Its a show that’s very obviously inspired by spaghetti westerns… the director “Vince Gilligan” has said many times that “Once Upon a Time in The West” was a big influence… but i think the influence of spaghetti westerns goes deeper than that.

You have the mix of Mexico and US settings and aesthetics, the larger than life characters (mostly the villains), the over the top plot, the slow build up to spontaneous outbursts of violence, the moral ambiguity where there’s no one who is truly good and truly bad, the anti-hero protagonist, the cynicism where everyone is only interested in their own gain and it’s the action is somewhat operatic and stylized as well… there’s a lot of similarities… I wouldn’t say all seasons are spaghetti westerns, 2 and 3 are moreso inspired by noir than westerns but season 4 and 5 are basically neo-spaghetti westerns imo.

On my latest rewatch of the show it was especially apparent as I had just finished rewatching my favorite spaghettis before.

What do you guys think? Is it just me?

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Hadn’t really crossed my mind aside from a few stylistic devices (by itself no big thing, it’s common to use them)

Can’t remember that I thought of SWs in connection with BB, but some inspirations are not unlikely. What makes Spags so unique is more their style than anything else. And that special way of directing is not that easy to transfer to other genres. Not even to US westerns.

And unlike most SW heroes Walter becomes a real bad man and does some really bad stuff, while most of the SW heroes in the end only kill those who “deserve it”.

But why don’t you make a top 20 of your favourite Spags?

Yeah I get what you mean… it is different obviously, the sensibilities are different but it also has a lot of similarities… and similarities specifically to spaghetti westerns rather than westerns as a whole.

Also I still don’t have a concrete top 20 lol. It’s getting there but if I made one now a lot of it would be very arbitrary and my opinion would change shortly after… what I will say is that its quite different from most people’s… I think hellbenders is one of the best movies in the genre for example… and my opinion on “The Big Gundown” has changed greatly too, its one of my favorites now… it has grown on me a lot…

Arbitrary is not so good, but changing opinions are no problem, it is normal that a list changes over time. And you can post a new one any day if the old one does not reflect any more your actual taste.

And any list is welcome, may it be different, may it be controversial, may it be a more classic one, what counts is only that it is a honest list. Just the 20 you enjoy the most.

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See the thing is there aren’t 20 spaghetti westerns i feel strongly about, yet… at first I thought it was the genre just not having many great movies but then i realized im just not a fan of some of the more popular movies and a big fan of some less popular ones like “God Forgives I dont” and “The Hellbenders”… so I think ill hold off until i feel every entry has a purpose, or at the very least i’ve seen most of the late 60s spaghettis since I keep finding gems every time i think the genre has nothing more to offer… i appreciate your interest tho :slight_smile:

Ok, take your time.

But both are in the top 50, God Forgives around # 30, so both are not everybody’s favourite, but are generally well regarded.

I personally like Colizzi very much, and for me he’s underrated compared to Sollima or Valerii. May I ask if you also like Boot Hill? Which is a personal favourtie of mine, but also one many strongly dislike.

Honestly I didn’t like either Ace High or Boot Hill that much. Both didn’t quite click with me, especially tonally. God Forgives I don’t was the (big) exception from that director for me… i’ve only seen the italian version… hope to get my hands on the english dub as some point… perhaps I will buy it.

I’ve always felt the same way about Breaking Bad. Not only was OUATITW an influence, but Gilligan showed the film to new writers who were onboarded. Certainly feels like he was trying to imitate the tone and visual style. And even an episode like “Fly” seems like a plot that could be directly inspired by the opening of OUATITW where Henry Fonda is obsessing over a fly.

It could even go deeper than that. I noted in another thread awhile back that “Face to Face” could be an influence. After all, it is about a professor who develops a lung issue (possibly cancer) and decides to “break bad” after meeting up with an outlaw.

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Something else I forgot to mention is how playful BB is. Spaghetti westerns are basically the only westerns that are playful. Not even the american westerns most directly influenced by spaghettis, like the wild bunch, were playful, yet breaking bad is very playful.

I’m referring to scenes like Eastwood stepping on Van Cleefs shoes and shooting his hat, or being off with his counting near the end in FFDM, or shooting off ropes at the beginning of GBU… Breaking Bad’s action scenes can be just as playful… Tuco’s shootout in s2 and the cousins axe kill while the other is crunching on an apple in s3 come to mind.

The playfulness is one of the more overlooked (yet important) elements of the SW genre, and BB has is.

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Real name Vincenzo Galliano. :smiley:

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I always heard such great things about this show, “it’s the best show ever” etc. but never gave it a go as I don’t watch to many series as I always go for a film first but after seeing this thread start a month ago it got me even more intrigued and also I had just purchased Netflix mainly for my new girlfriend to watch when she is over so I figured I would check it out. I am three episodes deep into season 3 and man this is one of the most frustrating things I have ever watched lol. It’s good granted but it’s all over the place and the decisions these characters make…man… like really. There have been a few GREAT episodes but not getting that “best show ever vibe” lol. Sometimes it is not good to go intrigued something so hyped up though.

Well that is my rant for tonight… it was either this or where are new spaghetti westerns on Blu-ray already… where you at Arrow/Explosive Media lol

I always heard such great things about this show, “it’s the best show ever” etc. but never gave it a go as I don’t watch to many series as I always go for a film first but after seeing this thread start a month ago it got me even more intrigued and also I had just purchased Netflix mainly for my new girlfriend to watch when she is over so I figured I would check it out. I am three episodes deep into season 3 and man this is one of the most frustrating things I have ever watched lol. It’s good granted but it’s all over the place and the decisions these characters make…man… like really. There have been a few GREAT episodes but not getting that “best show ever vibe” lol. Sometimes it is not good to go intrigued something so hyped up though.

Stick with it, the first 2 seasons are by far the weakest and are only really held together by the strength of the cast and cinematography. It’s also not the best show ever by a long shot, nor is it very consistent, but it has some amazing parts that really overshadow the weak parts for most people, hence the ridiculously high ratings.

EP7 - EP13 of season 4 is my favorite part of any tv show ever. Seasons 3 and, especially, 4 in particular do a good job of combining a spaghetti western esque plot and style with the sopranos esque deep character development and drama, which is solely unique to breaking bad. Season 5 is more like an american revisionist western, much more serious and gritty, no playfulness. Season 2 is more like neo-noir. Season 1 is a black comedy.

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Oh definitely sticking with it! I always got to finish things through.

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Same here… Enjoy it man, but don’t go in expecting the best thing ever like some people pretend it is… let me know what you think of it after you’re done :slight_smile:

Ditto what hammerfist has said. First season or two are pretty great but from there it ramps up to the point where you are questioning how every episode manages to be more amazing than the last. If you do end up loving it (which I have no doubt you will), I cannot recommend enough you check our the prequel series Better Call Saul, which I actually think is somehow even better written than Breaking Bad. It is less crazy overall as it focuses on Saul the lawyer from the show but the characters in it are written perfectly.

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I agree. I think BB peaked with season 4 though, its my favorite season. Season 5 was a step down, especially the villains. Plus its really dark and just not as fun as season 4. As i said, it’s like an american revisionist western, while season 4 is more like a spaghetti western. Season 4 is just more fun, more playful, more theatrical and more over the top which i prefer. I think if i had to rank the seasons it would be 4>3>5>1>2, with 4 being only slightly better than 3.

I’m inclined to agree that BCS is better but BCS and BB are almost entirely different. BB is a mix of noir and westerns. BCS is more of a legal drama with crime. I also found BCS to be overly polished, it tries too hard to be a masterpiece at times, if that makes sense, it feels more formulaic, like its trying to follow conventions so it can be considered a masterpiece by fans.

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