I didn’t see this specific question in the archives and thought it might make for an interesting viewing list: what are some of the best non-spaghetti westerns that you feel like were clearly influenced by spaghetti’s?
For example, I feel like “High Plains Drifter” was perhaps Eastwood’s best attempt at recreating the style and dark humor present in so many spaghetti’s - especially those he was in (which is why it also happens to be my favorite non-spaghetti western).
The two that come to my mind immediately are 'Hang ‘em High’ (1968), and ‘The Quick and the Dead’ (1995).
I would also, hesitantly, propose ‘Silverado’; (1985); which, although it is very much a revisionist ‘traditional’ American Western, it has several scenes and camera angles etc that could have come straight out of a SW.
Apart from Clint Eastwood’s westerns I don’t see much SW influence in US westerns of the 60s and 70s. I still think the US directors just ignored the SWs, they did not take them seriously, nor did the critics. And apart from the Leone westerns they had not much success in the USA. That was very different in Europe.
The Professionals as example was made and released before any of the Leones hit the US cinemas in 1967.
If one watches the key US westerns from 1960 onwards there is a continuous development in the writing and directing of westerns that did not need any SW influence to get from Mag 7 to The Wild Bunch and later to Heaven’s Gate.
If you watch the 14 episodes of Peckinpah’s The Westerner from 1960 you will find many elements which later surface in the SW. Also in the other early Peckinpah westerns that were made before FoD.
An odd fact, but in many books about Peckinpah, the most influential US western director of that time, Leone is not even mentioned.
Yeah, influenced was probably the wrong word choice on my part when referring to the Professionals & the Wild Bunch, the similarities I see in them are likely coincidental. I doubt that Richard Brooks had ever seen a spaghetti in 1966 and Peckinpah’s work never reminded me much of Leone.
That’s the point for me, the Europeans and the Americans made both their own things with the genre, and made the years between 1964 and 1967 to the most fruitful phase of the genre. More complex and more versatile than the e.g the 50s (a great decade for the genre though), more than any other decade before or after. Most of my favourite westerns were made in these years, and came from both continents.
The Leone films weren’t released in America until 1967 and given production lead time I think the first American films that resemble spaghetti westerns are Hang ‘Em High and Bandolero, both released in 1968 and shot late 1967.
The Professionals, released in 1966, was a big hit and probably influenced Villa Rides and 100 Rifles, since they were filmed in 1968 before A Bullet for the General had been released in America. Same with The Wild Bunch - more influenced by The Professionals than any spaghetti western.
I enjoyed it. Big budget, lots of action, great main theme score from Maurice Jarre. A lot of it is tongue-in-cheek. Robert Mitchum has the Gringo mercenary part and rather sleepwalks it. Charles Bronson executes loads of people Major Jackson-style. Yul Brynner wears a toupee. Not much of a history lesson - for a movie purporting to show Villa as a revolutionary it is strange that it covers the period during which he was fighting on the government side (although it tries to hide this somewhat) and not his involvement in the overthrow of Huerta. The first hour is a lot better than the second hour.
If you interpret " Non-Spaghetti Westerns That Feel Like Spaghetti’s" as any type of film that still feels to some substantial extent like a spaghetti-western, I would like to put forward Once Upon A Time In Mexico with Banderas and Depp which I like a lot together with High Plains Drifter. Both were of course clearly inspired by SWs.
Ralph Nelson’s The Wrath of God from 1972 has quite a spaghetti-western feel to it. It’s closely based on an excellent 1971 novel by James Graham (a.k.a. Harry Patterson/Jack Higgins). It’s probably a coincidence that a book featuring a fugitive IRA gunman in Mexico came out in the year that A Fistful of Dynamite got made, but the scene where the renegade priest takes a Tommy gun from his valise and lets rip is very reminiscent of Django producing a machine gun from his coffin.
It’s hard to tell how much influence the Italian genre had on American film-makers, who would doubtless have heard about the box-office success these films were having in Europe, and may even have seen some on their travels, prior to their US release. With The Wild Bunch, for example, I read that it took six months to edit, so was probably being made at the same time as A Professional Gun, even though it came out a year later. And yet numerous elements from Corbucci’s film (Revolutionaries vs Federales, a motor car, a climactic machine-gun slaughter against the odds - even Franco Nero’s hat) turn up in Peckinpah’s.
Although not a western - it’s set in the English civil war rather than the American one - Michael Reeves’ Witchfinder General has a definite spaghetti influence (The director worked in Italy in the mid-60s). This is most obvious in an early scene where Ian Ogilvy is riding home through the countryside, accompanied by rousing music, which segues into a quieter passage as he rides in silhouette past the sunset. That comes straight out of Massacre Time, where Franco’s Nero’s ride home is filmed in exactly the same way. There’s also a vicious brawl in a tavern which looks a lot like the saloon fight in Django, especially the use of high-angle shots.
The Wild Bunch started filming in late March 1968. Filming went on until late June and then they did some reshoots at the end of July.
So no way was it influenced by A Professional Gun which didn’t get its Italian censor certificate until December 1968. Unlikely it was influenced by A Bullet for the General either which wasn’t released in the USA until September 1968. Would have been influenced by The Professionals (1966 release). The Professionals was a big hit (took more money than The Wild Bunch on first release) and I think its influence is under appreciated. Peckinpah originally cast Lee Marvin as Pike on the strength of The Professionals although Marvin went off to do Paint Your Wagon as he was offered more money. The other ‘revolutionary’ film that people miss is Viva Maria (1965) with Brigitte Bardot and Jeanne Moreau. I need to see that one. Sure that’s a potential influence.
Most American films seems to take much longer from filming to release than Italian films.
Has anyone mentioned ‘Two Mules for Sister Sara’ ? … it doesn’t feel that obviously “spaggy” to me, but to people with just a casual interest, it could be mistaken for one … It’s got the main man in the lead role, a wonderful driving score by Morricone, and also has a bit of fun with Catholic iconography … plus the stunning Mexican landscape as a dramatic backdrop.
Another potential influence (on both genres) from even further back is Bandido (1956). I haven’t seen that for decades, but I’ve just watched the trailer on YouTube and the action scenes have what is now a very familiar look.
There was a whole raft of violent American westerns in the early 70s which I haven’t seen, but whose trailers suggest a flavour of spaghetti - especially The Hunting Party, The Revengers and The Deadly Trackers.
And another of Eastwood’s films, Joe Kidd, doesn’t feel much like a spaghetti western stylistically but seems very influenced by The Great Silence - not just the Mauser automatic and the wintry setting, but the whole premise of the outlaws turning out to be the good guys…