The definition of a Spaghetti Western

Is a Spaghetti Western defined by its characteristics, by its involvement of Italians or is there no strict definition?

I was always under the impression it was defined, in the Database, by Italian involvement, though films stylistically similar or sharing actors but without Italians were labeled Eurowesterns.

Thank you for the clarification! For me personally, I won’t be able to consider certain Eurowesterns in the database as SW. :wink:

No, we’re called Spaghetti Western Database, but we actually list all westerns made in Europe, even those not directed by a European director (and some Mexican westerns as well).
Probably not very logical, but that’s what we’ve decided to do (we’ve had discussions about this).

There’s no definition of a spaghetti westerns that’s absolute waterproof. Read what I said about it in the “Introduction”:

1 Like

Basically Italian or Spanish westerns made in the 60s and 70s. But some (especially the pre-Fistful ones) don’t have any of the typical SW ingredients. European westerns made by directors form other countries are mostly closer to the US western then to the SW. But Hossein’s French Cemetery without Crosses is doubtless a Spag, but being an Italian co-production its SW status is rarely questioned anyway.

Westerns made by an European director in Italy and/or Spain 1964 – 1978 set in North America 1860 – 1917.

or in Mexico.

I think Mexico is in North America (even if they have been playing in Copa America for a long time).

Oh, you’re right of course. Not sure what was I thinking.

But there’s also few films set in South America which I would count as a spaghetti western. O’ Cangaceiro, Pecos Cleans up. Django Strikes Again too even though that’s not much of a western.

Pecos Cleans Up is set in Mexico, isn’t it?

Hmm, might be. So long since I saw it, I just remember the south american look with jungles and mountains. Or maybe I’m thinking some other sw? :smiley:

O’ Cangaceiro I think falls outside the genre as it was set in Brasil, even if it was shot in Italy and Spain and made by an Italian Director with some SW regulars. Moreover, the Cangaceiros films seems to constitue a genre of its own. I think A Town Called Hell falls outside because of no Italian connection, La collera del vento because it is set in Spain and Le goût de la violence because it is too early, just to mention some of the best of the films most closely related to the genre. But that’s of course just an opinion!

I guess I go against the grain on this. The notion of any “genre” being forever bound to a geological location, a specific race of crew or a finite time period in order to “rightfully” retain it’s categorization just doesn’t sit well with me personally.

History is important, it births and shapes a film [insert any of the arts here] genre, but can’t it then become something much bigger than those origins? Something far more encompassing that reaches further and lives longer?

The idea of a film containing all of the tropes and stylings of a well known type of motion picture, but somehow not being able to brand itself as that because it utilized race and soil of differing lands seems off to me.

If Sergio was held to this sort of elitist genre code I wonder what he, or his international marketing campaigns, would have referred to his pictures as… because by the set of standards in question they definitely would not have been able to label them “Westerns”… as they so proudly did.

Aw well, I guess we’ll just keep throwing “neo-” in front of everything.

Well, it will not solve everything, as many films “falling outside” the genre were made at the same time as the Spaghetti Westerns. Also you will need a “pre-“.

It remains that the Spaghetti Western “genre” in Italy was a temporary phenomenon; it occurred at a certain point of time, it came to an end, and it consisted of a certain number of films. It was what the Italian calls a filone, the point being to follow up on a box-office success (in this case Fistful) with churning out as many films and make as much money as possible while the going was good. This is not the same as a genre though.

  1. can be synonymous with Leone-derived Western or if you prefer Italian-Style Western. This definition is focused on style and content and not includes geographical constraints: not all Italian westerns derive from A Fistful of Dollars, and when they meet the requirements Italian-Style westerns - of the past and of the future - can be of any nationality.

  2. can be synonymous with Italian Western or by extension Romanic/Latin Western (including Spanish and French productions), independently from content and style.

  3. incorrectly, can be synonymous with Eurowestern.

I think it’s defined simply by being Italian (some would say they’re defined by being European as a whole).