We Americans love our Westerns. There’s just something about the battle between good and evil fought by two gunslingers on the dusty road outside the saloon with Miss Kitty (because there’s always a Miss Kitty) rooting for the good guy (for whom she secretly holds a flame).
The good guy wins. The bad guy dies in the dirt like a dog. And everybody gets their own horse.
Yeah. Here in the old U.S. of A. we sure enjoy our Westerns. In fact, the 1960s saw a huge flux of Western movies and TV shows. The demand for this genre was so huge that film makers in other countries took up the mantel and made their own! One of the most popular such film maker was Sergio Leone of Italy.
Yup. That’s right. Italy. And Italian made Westerns were given an interesting name: Spaghetti Westerns.
At first, these Italian made movies were received by American critics with much criticism. They were made with lower budgets than their American counterparts with dubbed over English (most of the movies were filmed in Italian). They “borrowed” story lines from other, already released movies (oopsy) and some just felt like their genre was being infringed upon.
But a few of them have stood the test of time and are now considered classics. Films like The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, Once Upon a Time in the West, and Django are still well loved by film lovers.
In fact, the style of Spaghetti Westerns can be seen to have influenced Quentin Tarantino in films such as Kill Bill, Django Unchained, and Inglorious Basterds
(Note: All of these Tarantino flicks are rated R and contain all kinds of rated R language, violence, etc. Now you know)
But what I love most about Spaghetti Westerns was how much my Grandma Pearl enjoyed them. She’d get all wrapped up in the drama, the drastic camera angles, the intense close-ups of a young Clint Eastwood’s face.
They’re just one more pop culture treasure that we can thank the 1960s for.
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