What were the original spaghetti westerns?

Answered by Tom Adger

The original spaghetti westerns refer to a specific genre of Western films that were made in the 1960s and 1970s, primarily by Italian filmmakers. These films gained popularity due to their unique style and approach to the traditional Western genre.

One of the earliest examples of spaghetti westerns is “The Ugly Ones” (1966) directed by Eugenio Martin. This film tells the story of a bounty hunter who is hired to protect a rancher’s daughter from a gang of outlaws. It is known for its gritty and violent depiction of the Wild West, and it features intense shootouts and morally ambiguous characters.

Another notable spaghetti western is “The Big Gundown” (1966) directed by Sergio Sollima. This film stars Lee Van Cleef as a bounty hunter who is tracking down a Mexican bandit accused of rape and murder. It is praised for its complex and political storyline, as well as its stylish cinematography and action sequences.

“Sugar Colt” (1966) directed by Franco Giraldi is another noteworthy spaghetti western. This film follows the adventures of a gunfighter named Sugar Colt, who is hired to investigate a series of mysterious deaths in a small town. It is known for its humorous tone and satirical portrayal of the Western genre, with the protagonist often finding himself in absurd and comical situations.

Lastly, “Navajo Joe” (1966) directed by Sergio Corbucci is a spaghetti western that stands out for its portrayal of a Native American protagonist seeking revenge against a group of outlaws who massacred his tribe. This film tackles themes of racism and discrimination, and it is notable for its visceral violence and intense action sequences.

These original spaghetti westerns introduced a fresh and distinctive take on the Western genre. They often featured morally ambiguous characters, gritty and violent portrayals of the Wild West, and political undertones. The success of these films paved the way for many more spaghetti westerns to be made in the following years, influencing filmmakers around the world and leaving a lasting impact on the Western genre as a whole.