Making a NEW Spaghetti Western advice

Hi guys, we are trying to make a new spaghetti western. It’s called 10 in the Ground. We are fund raising right now. I have been in love with the genre since I first saw the original Sergio Leone Dollars Trilogy. Now we are trying to make one. What always stood out to you? The modern western is just not as much fun. We are not making a spoof. It is intended to be a serious spaghetti. As I polish the script what would you add?


So you’re Italian? Or the funding is Italian? Or you’re filming in Italy?

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Hi there,

First off, would you like any help with the screenplay/script? I’m an amateur writer looking to get to write a real film, and would try my hardest to give you good material. Please let me know if this is something we can do.

As to the stuff that sticks out to us the fans, I would go with the following: one of the border towns between Mexico and the USA as the setting of the film, vast desert landscapes, the loner anti-hero protagonist, the sadistic villain antagonist, i.e. the marauding Mexican bandido, the corrupt land baron, and/or the wicked gunslinging outlaw, the Morricone style scores, and of course the edgy, and gritty atmosphere we all love and adore.

Hope this helps.


To me the look and sound of it are just as important as the story, if not more. The comic style imagery with extreme closeups and panoramic long shots. Costumes and props should all look well used and dirty, except maybe for a rich villain or stylish hero who may have a weird baroque appearance. The actors should look equally “exposed to the elements” (imho nicely trimmed and freshly blow-dried hair kills any filthy look as much as close-ups of very clean hands :nerd_face:). Lots of sun, lots of sweat. :slight_smile:

Regarding sounds, a bit of wind and cicadas or crickets go a long way. Slightly exaggerated sounds during scenes without dialogue also help. Spurs, creaking leather, cocking the revolver and so on. And of course the music. To me, acoustic guitar like Ry Cooder or some synth whistling is just wrong. :wink:

Don’t want to toot my own horn here, but I recorded some spaghetti style music that was meant to sound as much as the real thing of the 60s and 70s as possible (to the best of my means and modest abilities), and can always record more.


I also vote for this as the biggest aspect you should look out for. So many recent Westerns look utterly crap because every character, even the poorer characters all look like their attire has just come from the dry cleaners.


Yup. In the available behind the scenes footage of Corbucci’s Sonny & Jed you can glimpse there were people on set whose job was to keep the actor’s dresses dusty and dirty before or even between takes.


To say, you’re going to make a ‘spaghetti western’, is like saying, you’re going to make a renaissance painting … You can’t, that ship sailed a long time ago.

You can however say that you’re making a film, western or otherwise, that is influenced by your appreciation of the work of Sergio Leone and/or other European directors who produced films within this genre.

Many professionals have tried to capture the essence of these movies, and mimicking the superficial stylistics isn’t enough … the film has got to have Soul, passion and a little naivety.

From what you have written, that it’s a ‘serious film’ you have in mind … using the cliches in Italian/Spanish westerns from the mid 1960s until early 1970s will get either big laughs or exhausted groans.

Check out, ‘In a Valley of Violence’, which tries what you’re aiming for … it has household name actors and a budget, but it fails on a lot of levels, simply because it’s not clever enough or entertaining or original … That’s what Sergio Leone’s films were - an original stylistic approach to an established genre, that hasn’t been bettered since they appeared 60 years ago.


I agree with every point, and I am going to take note of them! It is important to me that this has the look, the sound and the feel of those great westerns. Thanks so much. I would love to hear your music! I have already turned down several tracks that all were exactly as you said. Pop country music.

Absolutely! I call it the Tombstone effect. Every young actor wants to look like the main characters in Tombstone (And I love Tombstone). But I watched an old clip today with the great Terence Hill and a group of men around a table. Dark, smoky, gritty and just downright dirty looking. And those great faces. That is dead on the money! Thanks very much!

It really does! I may bounce a few ideas off of you. We have an amazing location set. Not desert but it should be interesting. The vast open spaces are so essential but we are going to make it in the mountains and see what angles we can turn into dirty gritty towns. We start out with a silver boomtown then 15 years later it is completely bust. You are right on every point and we have to make it look and feel that way! Go to the site and take a look so far.

Where did you see that? I would love to take a look. Thanks!

By the way, I bought several pounds of good, clean DIRT for the movie! Yep hypo allergenic DIRT for costumes and people!

Yes, no and no. And this matters how?

Aldo, thank you for your input. But never underestimate the other guy. I have taken into account most of what you say. I hope to be a pale comparison to some of the best. But I intend to at least be a comparison. To attempt is to try to do it! To say it can’t be done is pre-ordained failure.

To make it spaghetti it would have to be somehow Italian…

What I’m saying is, that you’re going to make a western based on the style of those Italian classics, but it can never be called a ‘Spaghetti western’ in the true sense.

Good luck with your project.

Hopefully, you have analyzed enough spaghetti western scripts to get a proper formula. Although they reuse many of the same tropes, the good ones always had a unique spin on the plot, characters, and showdowns that helped separate them from the pack (for example, the showdown needs to have something different than what we’ve seen, like El Puro grabbing a chair to sit in for his showdown with the villain).

Although the setting is important, it doesn’t need to be complex. A lot could be done in one simple location. To maximize the budget, keep the setting simple and focus the script on building characters with a bit of depth to them, thematic unity, and the choreography of the fights.

On the note of choreography, hire stuntmen as actors.

CINEMATOGRAPHY: buy an old Arriflex camera and shoot on film stock (if you shoot on a digital camera and add an old film filter later in post production, it won’t feel authentic). Shooting like this would be expensive, so I understand if you cannot do that - but if you really want authenticity…

AUDIO: don’t record set audio and dub it all later (with or without the actual actor voices).

And if you really want to add some authenticity, maybe contact some OG’s that actually created the original films (cinematographers, directors, actors, set designers, etc). If you get a decent budget, there are some of them still around (and some have expressed interest in revisiting the genre).

Just a few initial thoughts. Best of luck!


You can see it in this German language documentary at around 18:20.

Here’s a link to my SW album trying to give a fictitious chronological career overview from pre Leone to the last twitch of the genre in circa 1977.

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Would you be doing post audio sync? To me that is a standout of the spaghetti western genre.

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