Top 5 spaghetti western actors

I messeged Tom Betts on a Spaghetti Western Facebook group to decide on the top 5 stars of the genre. The selection was:


What would do think?

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My Top 5 Actors would be

  1. Lee Van Cleef
  2. Franco Nero
  3. Tomas Milian
  4. Gianni Garko
  5. George Hilton

This is more of my personal list, but I think they’re the mainstays of the genre.

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Thanks for your input.
The list we agreed on was a biggest star and draw not a personal one. Tom Betts also mentioned Milian and Hilton too.

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  1. Clint Eastwood
  2. Giuliano Gemma
  3. Lee Van Cleef
  4. Tomas Milian
  5. Franco Nero
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  1. Giuliano Gemma
  2. Franco Nero
  3. Terence Hill
  4. Clint Eastwood
  5. Lee Van Cleef

Awesome to see someone rank Gemma the highest. Even though I ranked Eastwood higher, I still love Gemma and almost all his westerns a lot.


If it was actors with the most appearances in SWs, who, in addition to Kinski, would be in the top 5?

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Frank Wolff was in few.

Fernando Sancho would be up there.

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On that basis you can’t leave out Hill and Spencer. They were massive draws and maintained it whether working together or solo over a pretty extended period of the genre.

Garko’s average box office numbers (in Italy anyway) don’t come close to the others mentioned. Gian Maria Volonte is the only other one who’s numbers compete.

I’m also never sure whether we should take the number of films in which they appeared into account. My instinct tells me we should but then where do you make a cut off? Are the three mega hits of Clint reasonable to compare to someone who worked consistently in the genre over it’s entire lifespan? I’m not sure it is but then can you count Clint out on that basis? That’s a pretty tough call as he is and always will be the iconic face of the genre.


On a personal list Garko and Gemma wouldn’t be on it.

There’s an argument also for the 5 most iconic Spaghetti actors I suppose. In that one Garko has a real shout as the face of Sartana but even then narrowing to 5 is tough.


Man With No Name - Clint Eastwood
Django - Franco Nero
Ringo - Giuliano Gemma
Trinity - Terence Hill
Sartana - Gianni Garko

With Sabata - Lee Van Cleef a close runner up?


I honestly don’t find Ringo that iconic. Just my opinion. I would have Sabata/Mortimer on the iconic list.

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A fair enough opinion.
Gemma’s popularity at the Italian box office in terms of westerns was unparalleled though. 14 films over a ten year period grossing at least a billion lira each. No one else can boast that level of consistent success. Only Hill and Spencer outgrossed him and they both had multiple films which grossed under the billion mark.
Obviously, only two of his films had “Ringo” in the title but Gemma was synonymous with that title in the minds of Italians which is why I used it.


I think of Gemma and i think of DAY OF ANGER and PRICE OF POWER. Oh and TEX. I didn’t realise he made so many SW though.

I never rated Ringo films at level they do generally. Sometimes its because I don’t like the name Ringo.

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I find them well made enough just above average overall. Overrated.

I will also include my not five but ten best actors from SW movies

  1. Anthony Steffen
  2. William Berger
  3. Eduardo Fajardo
  4. Gianni Garko
  5. Fernando Sancho
  6. Peter Lee Lawrence
  7. Roberto Miali
  8. Mark Damon
  9. Luciano Rossi
  10. Daniel Martin


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Anthony Steffen is in my top 5!!

I’m probably wrong here, but I’d say maybe something like this;

  1. Kinski
  2. Milian
  3. Garko
  4. Brega
  5. Gemma

Please correct me if I’m wrong though.


  1. Hill
  2. Spencer
  3. Gemma
  4. Nero
  5. Eastwood

Again could be wrong statistically.