Low-Budget Spaghetti Westerns


(cm215) #1

I have a question, who knows if anyone has an answer… Do those who produced and made those low budget westerns do it to make money or for fun? Did they honestly believe they would make money from those terrible low budget films (that I enjoy) or is is kind of like a hobby with friends?


(Sebastian) #2

they made money, else they would not’ve made them. that was a time before widespread availabilty of television in italy and most other places. you went to the movies a lot, and so there had to be a handful of new movies in the theaters every week. the cheaper the movies, the higher the profit - provided you could strike a balance and make a movie good enough people actually went to see it


(autephex) #3

yep… if they weren’t making any money then the studios never would of turned out 400+ of these films… the reason they’re low budget is because they were more or less produced only to make money, not spend it


(Sebastian) #4

and if you’re a Fidani you could even make 2 at the same time with only experts being able to tell them apart in the end :slight_smile:


(Phil H) #5

I personally wish more producers took this attitude today. The massive budgets of films only leads to less risk taking as they are all scared shitless of losing all that cash. If they limited what they spend it would limit the scale and special effects for sure but I can’t help but feel that would only be a good thing and the break even point would be much more achievable without outrageous product placements and filling the films with all pop and no substance in order to attract a mass teenage market. I genuinely believe that modern day movie producers have painted themselves into a corner whereby they feel if they don’t spend a hundred million or two on a film no one will go see it. But once you have committed that much money any film that isn’t a box office blockbuster is a financial failure.

I would love to see a project whereby a bunch of successful directors were all set the task of making a film (any film they wanted) on a micro budget. Say $250,000. The only compromises they would have to make would be on finances and scale and actually those limitations might just enforce a level of artistic discipline which would prove fruitful.

Moreover, if the average cost of movie budgets came down the average cinema ticket couild come down too, making movie going the affordable entertainment it used to be and some of us may just start going back to the pictures again instead of just watching DVDs at home.

Rant over.


(Sebastian) #6

Rodriguez would win that competition :slight_smile:


(autephex) #7

And an excellent rant it was. All very true

heh, I was thinking the same thing


(Col. Douglas Mortimer) #8

I fear James Cameron would lose miserably. Does anyone remember the last movie this guy directed that DIDN"T have a budget of over $50 mil? I’m pretty sure Fidani could’ve made a pretty good Titanic too if given a 200 Million budget LOL.

And that was a great post Phil. I agree on all accounts. IMO, Low budgets actually forces directors to make better movies. Big budges and special effects can make you complacent. Jaws, made for 12 million (actually quite alot back in those days), was great because all they had was a malfunctioning mechanical shark, meaning Spielberg actually had to do some artful directing rather than rely on special effects to make the film, in the end it was a better movie because of it. If they made Jaws nowadays it would suck because it would just be a major ass CGI fest.

I’ve always believed that the ability to make a good movie with a limited budget was the true test of a great director.

Roger Corman said that he could make a film about the “fall of the Roman Empire with two extras and a sagebush”


(Paco Roman) #9

Michael Bay would have no chances too.

Yep a good director can also make with only a fistful of dollars a good movie or a great one.


(Stanton) #10

A great director makes with every budget a good or great film, a bad director makes with every budget lousy films.


(Silence) #11

I think it was both for fun and to make money. :slight_smile:


(Dillinger) #12

Fidani IS a good example. I think he regarded filmmaking as a business. He wanted to make as many SWs as posible. Little input much output.

He might have also been an enthusiast, who loved movies and moviemaking, but I think money was most important.


(Col. Douglas Mortimer) #13

I think so many SWs were made because they generally had a very high benefit-cost ratio. Even a mediocre box office return would still turn in a profit. These movies were really cheaply made. Producers saw it as a chance to make money using the least possible financial risk. Many directors of course would typically try to do their best and make a good film despite their modest resource endowment. They were less money hungry than the producers, unless of course they themselves had a part in financing the film as in the case of D’Amato, Fidani, etc… and the results show.


(Phil H) #14

Which is why I advocate a return to that system. More profitable films equals more films made full stop and that equals a genuine film industry. Something we currently lack in the UK no matter how many oscars SlumDog Millionaire carries off.


(autephex) #15

Yup, the more cost-efficiently movies are made, the more chances a film studio/producer will give to a random filmmaker to make his movie… would indeed open a lot of doors


(Sebastian) #16

as long as there are enough people out there to see the latest superhero movies or chickflick, nobody’s gonna get another Italy1960s/70s filmindustry off the ground…

if everybody would go to little theaters more to watch indies and arthouse flicks, then that would be a start…


(autephex) #17

I try to but we only have one here and its always playing crap…


(Spaghetti Monkey) #18

[quote=“Dillinger, post:12, topic:1677”]Fidani IS a good example.

He might have also been an enthusiast, who loved movies and moviemaking, but I think money was most important.[/quote]

I definitely think he loved movies and moviemaking. It shows, no matter how low his budgets were, and thats what makes them fun.


(Col. Douglas Mortimer) #19

Yeah I agree. The only time indy and arthouse flicks are watched are during film festivals. But very few films shown at Cannes, lets say, actually get a wide theatrical release. And most of these films are art dramas, not exploitation. WOuld be nice if Hollywood went back to producing low budget “drive in” flicks in addition to the large production blockbusters that currently dominate the market.


(autephex) #20

Yeah, that’s the reason I have trouble supporting the current “indie scene”. I was really into these films 5 years ago, but now not so much… just gets old after a while and begins to feel like the same film over and over(but not in a good way). The local indie theater shows some old films periodically as midnight movies and I tried to suggest some spags or old exploitation flics and they more or less laughed at the idea… didn’t leave a very good taste in my mouth and also didn’t help to rid my perception that the current independent film scene is just too pretentious and not really concerned with film at all, but more with the fashion of the scene