My Spaghetti Western Journey....and Recommendations?


(Fendersrule) #1

As a child, I’ve always ignored the western genre. Now that I’m nearly 27, I’ve been going back through the western genre ever since I saw the True Grit remake, so I have lots to owe to that film because it inspired me.

The next movie I watched was Once Upon a Time in the West. I consider that not only the greatest western ever made, but one of the greatest films ever made.

Then I moved into the Man with No Name trilogy. Fistful of Dollars is great and started it all. But the film itself is a bit archaic and not very developed. For a Few Dollars More came in next, and it totally improved upon in it in many ways. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly was a revelation for me that sits up there with Once Upon a Time in the West IMO.

The way I see them is:

OUATIW = The “Blade Runner” of Westerns.
TGBTU = The “Star Wars” of Westerns.

Since then, I’ve been going through many of them. Some duds, some gems:

The Mercenary: clearly a “gem.” Yes, the film is a llitle sloppy, but the soundtrack and some of the scenes are friggin’ awesome and define the genre. Not much of a fan of the Zapata westerns, but this one works for me.

Companeros: for me, this was a “dud,” but a dud worth seeing because it’s got some great moments. Not a fan of the Zapata westerns.

Duck, You Sucker: Mixed reaction. Parts of it were good, parts of it were “lose.” It didn’t have to be nearly 3 hours long. Again, not a fan of the Zapata westerns.

Navajo Joe: Great soundtrack at times, but another “dud” for me. Worth watching if you’re into the genre, but it doesn’t make my list.

The Hills Run Red. Some neat American influences here and some memorable aspects, but another “dud” for me overall.

Death Rides on a Horse (Wild East): This is a gem. This is everything I want in a spaghetti western. A saloon, saloon music, awesome gun fights, stare downs, cool camera movements, and Ennio Morricone. I actually yelled at the screen “F#@ Yes!” when it showed the main character shooting his gun (target practice) during the first part of the film. THAT is awesome.

The Great Silence: I’m kinda split on this movie. It’s very unconventional and brooding. The ending is…let’s just say, memorable. I wasn’t happy with the DVD letter-boxed presentation, so I’d like to watch it again when it gets a proper presentation. Either way, I don’t think this is one I’d watch frequently.

Djnago: This is a “gem” because it’s tongue-and-cheek, and has everything a spaghetti western should have. Nice Blu-ray, too.

I’ve been trying to find the “Day of Anger” “You Meet Santarna, Pray for your Death” Wild East DVDs, because I’m pretty sure I would like them, but no luck. Any help?

Tonight I finally got “The Big Gundown.” I’ll be giving that a go.

So my ranking:

  1. Once Upon a Time in the West
  2. Good Bad Ugly
  3. For a Few Dollars More
  4. Death Rides a Horse
  5. The Mercenary
  6. Django
  7. Fistful of Dollars
  8. The Great Silence

The other films I’ve mentioned don’t quite meet my list. I’m hopping to get a nice Top 10 list, and hopefully maybe a little more.


(tomas) #2

welcome to the forum, fendersrule (and finally in the thread, which counts posts) :wink:
anyways, it´s always interesting to read about someone´s journey through spaghetti westerns, so thanks for sharing your experience
and stay tuned, amigo
shoot fast and prosper


(Neville Bartos) #3

[quote=“Fendersrule, post:1, topic:2887”]TGBTU = The “Star Wars” of Westerns.[/quote].

I assume by this The GBU is a load of crap then :smiley:


(tomas) #4

[quote=“Neville Bartos, post:3, topic:2887”].

I assume by this The GBU is a load of crap then :D[/quote]

;D


(Stanton) #5

OUtW is the 2001 of SWs, and GBU is the Blade Runner.

Star Wars is closer to Pistols Don’t Argue


(Fendersrule) #6

2001 or Blade Runner work for OUTAITW. Point is, it’s highly artistic…a work of art. Something that is ethereal. A masterpiece. Cannot be imitated. You can’t show kids these films…they take an adult mind to understand. Films that come later in life, for sure.

I think Star Wars is perfectly fitting for GBTU. Reason being, it’s a movie that anyone can watch–a child or a grandparent. You don’t even need to speak english to understand what’s going on, and you don’t even need to be an adult, either. It’s also epic, just like Star Wars. It’s also apart of many people’s lives, especially at a young age, much like Star Wars. Also, the soundtrack is truely epic and drives the film every second…like Star Wars. As soon as your child is old enough to look at stuff on the TV, this movie can be played without hesitation.


(ENNIOO) #7

Just trying to get my head round relating Spaghetti westerns to science fiction films… :stuck_out_tongue: .


(El Topo) #8

I would not compare GBU to Stars Wars, and I don’t think GBU is a film so less complex as you say, yes Star Wars is an epic for the all family (regardless of taste), I guess that for a child to watch Star Wars is easy and fun, but GBU!!, its not just a question of understanding what’s going on, Tuco gets beaten a lot in prison, and Blondie walks in the desert without a spaceship, well its no Dune, but Leone didn’t make it as a family film. It’s a masterpeace in any case.


(Fendersrule) #9

The Big Gundown was great. It would probably fall near the end of my top 10 list, but it certainly made it!


(tomas) #10

The Big Gundown= The “Zardoz” of Westerns ;D


(Col. Douglas Mortimer) #12

Welcome to the forum Fender. Your taste in these films is quite similar to mine actually. A few years ago I embarked on a similar odyssey as you are taking and I’ve never looked back. Lots of duds, lots of gems, and some in betweens. Searching for the gems and finding one is worth going through all those duds for.

Your comparison to Blade runner and star wars is interesting. I think Django is like the Die Hard of westerns while And God Said to Cain is the Rosemary’s baby of westerns lol.


(Silence) #13

I liked it the first time I watched it as far as I remember and I was 11 (I think) by then. But you’re right, GBU is sort of an easier film to watch.

EDIT: As for recommendations, it’s a bit difficult to tell what kind of SWs you like this far, but some I like (that you haven’t watched) are Keoma, Mannaja, Massacre Time, A Bullet For Sandoval, Requiem For A Gringo, Shotgun and Arriva Sabata. Here’s my top 20:

  1. Django
  2. Companeros
  3. Keoma
  4. The Great Silence
  5. Mannaja
  6. Massacre Time
  7. A Bullet For Sandoval
  8. Requiem For A Gringo
  9. For A Few Dollars More
  10. A Fistful Of Dollars
  11. Shotgun
  12. The Good, The Bad And The Ugly
  13. A Gun For 100 Graves
  14. Once Upon A Time In The West
  15. The Last Killer
  16. The Boldest Job In The West
  17. I Want Him Dead
  18. Arriva Sabata
  19. Kill Them All And Come Back Alone
  20. John The Bastard

(Mickey13) #14
As a child, I've always ignored the western genre.
I didn't like westerns as well. I didn't know about spaghetti westerns anything so I was a bit surprise when I read about such genre. But after I watched OUATITW... everything has changed...

(Fendersrule) #15

Heres’s my updated list with ratings. Please use this for additional recommendations:

Once Upon a Time in the West 10
Good Bad Ugly 10
For a Few Dollars More 9.5
Death Rides a Horse 8
Django 7.5
Forgotten Pistolero 7.4
The Big Gundown 7.3
Mercenary 7.2
Fistful of Dollars 7
Grand Duel 6.9
Cemetary Without Croses 6.5
Return of Ringo 6.4
The Great Silence 6.3
Mannaja 6.2
Keoma 6.2
Duck, You Sucker 5.6
10,000 for a Massacre 5.5
Companeros 5.4
Run Man Run 5.4
A Hole between the eyes 5.3
Navajo Joe 5.2
The Hellbenders 5.1
Shoot Gringo Shoot 5
Hills Run Red 5
Taquela Joe 5
Unholy Four 4.9
Django, Kill! 4.8

Don’t pay too much attention to the numbers. They are there to keep things in order in Excel. The numbers do have some relevance.

10 = Masterpiece.
9 = Near masterpiece.
8 = Awesome.
7 = Excellant.
6 = Good.
5 = Mediocre.
4 = Not very good.
3 = Don’t like.
2 = Hate.
1 = Forget it.

My favorite things about the genre (the things that get more weight):

  • Stylistic, drawn out duels.
  • Phenomenal and defining soundtracks.
  • Grandiose quality with cinematography, direction, etc. Something like Leone, even if it’s just a weaker imitation.
  • Saloon w/ saloon music (almost all spaghetti westerns have this…this is an ingredient really, rather than something “special.”)
  • Surrealistic nature.

Story, plot, “acting”, and those things typically come next, but it’s not a must for me in this genre. Sometimes these things can be so damn good to override everything else (Forgotten Pistollero), but not usually.

I don’t like Zapatas very much, hardly at all. The Mercenary is fine because it doesn’t use Zapata elements as its driving force.

  • I don’t like American influenced/themed/based speghetti westerns. The whole purpose of the spaghetti western is to get away from the boring, trite, and unimaginative American westerns. Hills Run Red is an example of a western that is “mediocre”, but I don’t care for it because it’s too american themed. Same goes for Hellbenders, and many others. They just don’t have what I want.

So far, I have this left to watch:

  • Face to Face
  • Day of Anger
  • Bullet for the General

(Silence) #16

I can tell you will not like the films of the great Fidani :-X.

However, based on this:

[quote=“Fendersrule, post:15, topic:2887”]* Stylistic, drawn out duels.

  • Phenomenal and defining soundtracks.
  • Grandiose quality with cinematography, direction, etc. Something like Leone, even if it’s just a weaker imitation.
  • Saloon w/ saloon music (almost all spaghetti westerns have this…this is an ingredient really, rather than something “special.”)
  • Surrealistic nature.

Story, plot, “acting”, and those things typically come next, but it’s not a must for me in this genre. Sometimes these things can be so damn good to override everything else (Forgotten Pistollero), but not usually.

I don’t like Zapatas very much, hardly at all. The Mercenary is fine because it doesn’t use Zapata elements as its driving force.

  • I don’t like American influenced/themed/based speghetti westerns. The whole purpose of the spaghetti western is to get away from the boring, trite, and unimaginative American westerns. Hills Run Red is an example of a western that is “mediocre”, but I don’t care for it because it’s too american themed. Same goes for Hellbenders, and many others. They just don’t have what I want.[/quote]

You should really watch A Bullet For Sandoval. It has pretty much all of that.


(Stanton) #17

[quote=“Fendersrule, post:15, topic:2887”]Heres’s my updated list with ratings. Please use this for additional recommendations:

Once Upon a Time in the West 10
Good Bad Ugly 10
For a Few Dollars More 9.5
Death Rides a Horse 8
Django 7.5
Forgotten Pistolero 7.4
The Big Gundown 7.3
Mercenary 7.2
Fistful of Dollars 7
Grand Duel 6.9
Cemetary Without Croses 6.5
Return of Ringo 6.4
The Great Silence 6.3
Mannaja 6.2
Keoma 6.2
Duck, You Sucker 5.6
10,000 for a Massacre 5.5
Companeros 5.4
Run Man Run 5.4
A Hole between the eyes 5.3
Navajo Joe 5.2
The Hellbenders 5.1
Shoot Gringo Shoot 5
Hills Run Red 5
Taquela Joe 5
Unholy Four 4.9
Django, Kill! 4.8

Don’t pay too much attention to the numbers. They are there to keep things in order in Excel. The numbers do have some relevance.

10 = Masterpiece.
9 = Near masterpiece.
8 = Awesome.
7 = Excellant.
6 = Good.
5 = Mediocre.
4 = Not very good.
3 = Don’t like.
2 = Hate.
1 = Forget it.[/quote]

Where’s the big difference between 7 = excellent and 10 = masterpiece?

Fendersrule if you have watched a few more you can post your Top 20 here: http://www.spaghetti-western.net/forum/index.php/topic,190.0.html


(scherpschutter) #18

On a scale 1-10, used in schools in Holland for example, 7 would be ‘good’. A 10 (hardly ever awarded) is ‘perfect’. The essential line on this rating scale, is the line between sufficient and insufficient. 5 and 6 are both ‘average’, but 5 is insufficient, 6 is sufficient.

Talking about movies, you would get something like:

10 - Masterpiece
9 - Excellent
8 - Very good
7 - Good
6 - Average, sufficient
5 - Average, insufficient
4 - Weak
3 - Very weak
2 - Abysmal
1 - Bottom of the barrel
0 - (Exceptional) Offensive

Other scales are of course possible, but at least this one make some sense


(Stanton) #19

[quote=“scherpschutter, post:18, topic:2887”]6 - Average, sufficient
5 - Average, insufficient[/quote]
This is also problematic for me, cause “average” is already a negative term for me.
If I call a film average or mediocre I mean a run of the mill film with no ideas, only doing what every hack is able to do. Such a film is often boring cause everything happens as expected and in an expected way.


(ENNIOO) #20

Average is at it says for me average. A film with say some interesting points / elements, but alot of the film is not very outstanding. This degree varies of course for me, and 5 and 6 on the list are ones I would use alot if using such a system. A good majority of films I view are average.


(Stanton) #21

But is an average film for you entertaining or not?