What is the best starter-spaghetti for non-spaghetti friends?

I have a group of 8 or so friends – half girls, half guys – who I watch movies with on occasion and I’m thinking of introducing them to spaghetti westerns. Most of them didn’t know what a spaghetti western was until I told them. A couple of them have seen at least parts of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, but I was thinking something shorter like Django or For a Few Dollars More might be a better entry point into the genre.

Anybody have any experience with this? What have you found to be, or what do you think would be, the best “starter-spaghetti” for someone new to spaghetti westerns and maybe westerns in general?

I’d lean-toward a film like Five Man Army (Un Ecercito Di Cinque Uomini), as its a stand-alone piece without sequels. It has all the elements; an Ennio Morricone-score, logical-script, brisk-pace, believable action, light romance, intrinsic gimmickry, an inventive train-robbery centerpiece, and beautiful scenery. -Features SW-vet Bud Spencer, and a great support-cast. Seeing one-timer, Peter Graves as the lead, can kind-of prep your friends toward introducing them to SW-‘heavyhitters’ like Van Cleef, Nero, Anthony, Hill, etc.

5 Man Army is too average for a start.

For starters it is pretty easy imo. Dollar Trilogy and Django. These are the defining SWs. If they don’t like these, it is not very likely that they will like the genre

I’d start with For a Few Dollars More.
If your friends don’t like that they’re unlikely to dig any other Spaghettis. It’s short and sweet and with a score they’ll never forget even if they don’t think much of the western trappings. Plus it has Clint who is a familiar face for anyone to start with.

I’d start with the logical kick off: A Fistful of Dollars (is For a Few dollars More really that short, Phil?)

Since half of the audience are girls, one of the Ringo’s could be a good choice too.

Some may be in the mood for a comedy one perhaps :stuck_out_tongue: , so a Trinity one with Bud and Terence. But like Stanton said Django can be a good start. Remember screening that to my Dad and he hated it, but had previously seen The Great Silence which he really admired.

I wouldn’t start with the heavy weights, actually from my perspective The Five man army seemed a logical start, but even if it does have all the SW elements got a bit of American western feeling also.
I normally start with Zapata’s or something with Millian for people who not care much for cinema in general, Bullet for the General is also a good choice for me, if we’re talking about people that are used to watch films but not familiarized with SW, the heavy weights may then be a good choice.
But now that you ask Moderndjango and thinking about it, most of the times on those ocasions I started either with Django or Preparati la Bara and not the Zapata’s, so I think of those last ones to show, but ended up starting with the Nero or Hill

I would suggest Return of Ringo. Given the makeup of your group I think this would be an excellent choice for both men and women. To me this film simply has all the elements.

Never, never, never … :wink:

To be honest Scherp I have always assumed FAFDM ran at about an hour and a half so was surprised on checking (after your comment above) that it is actually a shade over 2 hours. I gues the fact that that it has never felt that long to me proves how tight and well paced it is. So still a good chopice in my opinion. GBU, for example, despite being a very accessible film comes in at closer to 3 hours so possibly pushing it a little for first timers.

Return of Ringo is certainly one that can appeal to both the boys and girls and would be high on my list of recommendations. But it seems not everyone loves it as much as I do (it’s precarious position in the Top 20 is clear evidence of that) so possibly better to stick with a banker like a Dollars film.

I’m with Pacifidor. Great film.

Just watched this and agree. Feels much shorter. Never gets boring, never drags. Enjoyable all the way through.
Trouble is my girlfriend got up and went for a bath at the start of the scene in the stone circle so I guess she was bored.
Never had this reaction to Return Of Ringo. Even my kids love it (and they got bored and stopped watching halfway through Rango).

Hi ModernDjango. I too am in the process of introducing SWs to my mainstream movie loving friends. And for the most part I have been quite successful. There have been some great recommendations on this thread but I think it really all depends on what your friends are in to. Remember that SWs are not for everybody, its somewhat of an acquired taste. Try to match the SW with your friend’s tastes. For example, if they like slapstick comedy, perhaps the Trinities are more appropriate. If they like James Bond films, maybe Sartana is a good choice and so on.

The SWs that have gotten a good response for me so far are: Anything from Leone, Sabata, Death Rides a Horse, The Big Gundown, but then again, your friends may have different tastes from my friends.

Some groundrules:

  1. Preferably a western in our official top 20. Showing them a middle of the pack SW won’t be sucha good idea for a starter.
  2. A somewhat recognizable star might help. Lee Van Cleef and Clint Eastwood are a good starting point. You can always show them your Anthony Steffens, Robert Woods and Peter Lee Lawrences later on lol.
  3. Don’t show SWs that are too “wierd”. For example, a bad choice would be Django Kill if you live shoot and Matalo. As great as these two SWs are, they don’t have much mainstream appeal. SWs with perhaps more mainstream and traditional sensibilities might help.
  4. Give them one with good action and music. Maybe if your friends have seen many Tarantino films, or have played red dead revolver, give them a film that features familiar music.
  5. At the same time you have to show them an SW that is a good “ambassador” for the genre, with typical SW elements. The point here is to display to them what distinguishes between an Italian western and a hollywood western and what makes the SW so unique and fun.

I think Django Kill! might be a good starting ground, especially if your friends are into horror flicks. You have a very gothic undertone the whole way through, some gore ( and who doesn’t like a little gore every now and then), plus if nothing else they’ll be talking about all the weird shit in it for days. If that flick don’t float your boat you can never go wrong with a Leone!

I would agree with scherpschutter. Fistful of Dollars is a good first impression for spaghettis. It’s only 1hr40min so it won’t be too much all at once, it has Clint Eastwood who they are probably familiar with, it has great music, and it has a female character who is not a whore lol. The only things that might distract is the whining kid and the rotoscope credits (I’ve had people complain about them on first viewing but usually the better parts of the movie make up for it). Personally I think the rotoscope credits are cool, but that whining kid I could do without :stuck_out_tongue:

For a Few Dollars More.

Depends on what type of horror flicks they’re into. If its Cult stuff and Italian stuff then yeah, but if its just Scream and the Saw series than no. Mainstream horror fans and cult/euro horror fans seem to be two different bags.

Wow, people must be nuts to complain about the credits. They probably don’t like James Bond either. As for the kid, its between the whining kid in FFD and the smartass kid in FFDM who I find almost as annoying.

Probably the best overall choice in my view.

A Sabata would not be a bad choice either, but now that’s been mentioned I have some friends that Matalo (even the Specialist) wouldn’t be a bad choice for starters lol, I guess it might just work as a one trick poney.
It also depends on country in Germany anything with Django on it would be fine ;D, in Portugal a Trinita wouldn’t also be a bad choice, the thing is that when a SW introduction to friends is required , (a few times lately) I always end up to choose Django, that coffin image it’s pretty iconic, or Preparati la Bara cause of Terence Hill, I must thing that if these guys don’t the Leone films by now, they don’t deserve them

I agree this is a solid place to start, and those four films also happened to be my first taste of spaghetti westerns (first saw GBU, then FOD, then FAFDM, then Django opened the floodgates). What I am not sure of is which is best to start with out of those four, because I think an argument can be made for each. Right now I am leaning toward For a Few Dollars More because it is shorter than The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, funnier than Fistful of Dollars and has more recognizable stars than Django. Also, Lee Van Cleef is just too awesome in that movie!

It also has Kinski with a hunchback. What more could they ask for? 8)

[quote=“Phil H, post:4, topic:2711”]I’d start with For a Few Dollars More.
If your friends don’t like that they’re unlikely to dig any other Spaghettis. It’s short and sweet and with a score they’ll never forget even if they don’t think much of the western trappings. Plus it has Clint who is a familiar face for anyone to start with.[/quote]
I agree with Phil…