The Italian filmography offers numerous ideas and finds explanation, almost application in everyday life every day. It happens, often and willingly, to want to imitate the great interpreters of the past in their most famous representations. Not even the Italian western , known among aficionados under the name of spaghetti western , escapes this logic .

This is an expanding cinematic trend, which has found vigor, also and above all, in a specific historical period including the 60s and 70s.

Time reference of greater vitality and popularity, coincided with the advent and subsequent affirmation of figures considered legendary in Italian cinema.

Spaghetti western origin and Italian protagonists

The origin of the term spaghetti-western derives from American soil in the early 1960s and indicated, in the first instance, feature films of Italian origin, sometimes shot in foreign countries, particularly lacking in terms of structure and available resources.

Despite this, this made in Italy film genre has assumed an increasingly central dimension in the general public, becoming a point of reference and source of inspiration for many cinema enthusiasts.

Undoubtedly, the most prominent exponent within the Italian filmography is called Sergio Leone. Long-time director alongside great actors, many of whom have established themselves thanks to him. Of course, there are many others who have made the history of the western and who, just to mention them, get goosebumps. It is impossible not to celebrate personalities of the caliber of Sergio Sollima, Giuseppe Colizzi, Enzo Barboni, Romolo Guerrieri   and we are sorry not to mention a few.

Sergio Leone

Not to mention that absolute genius with a high-sounding name and surname, corresponding to Ennio Morricone in the composition of music . Composer of yesteryear, whose music is associated with real masterpieces in collaboration with Sergio Leone himself, Duccio Tessari and Sergio Corbucci. Great protagonists, among many, who have produced real milestones carved in the world of cinema.

The most important films of the Italian western

The Italian western, chronologically speaking, came out well before the 1960s.

Already in the ’40s the film “Una Signora dell’ovest” is the first film to which this genre, in some ways, is innovative.

But it is only with the so-called dollar trilogy some time later that the ideology of the genre is definitively affirmed and strengthened in the eyes of the general public. The advent of Clint Eastwood and, among others, Ennio Morricone, engaged in soundtracks still very popular even today by the new generations, does all the rest.

Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood himself, a character that is nothing short of representative and emblematic of American cinema, who also distinguished himself as an operator behind the camera in the famous 1992 film “The Ruthless”

It would be enough to mention “For a fistful of dollars”, “For a few dollars more”, “The good, the bad and the ugly” among the most famous and well-known westerns to fully understand the greatness and majesty of these titles to those who are not yet aware of it. 


Generally this type of productions have always required quite considerable budgets in economic terms, but not only. Very expensive from all points of view, despite, however, the lack of resources from which to draw. And when they were available, in fact, they turned out to be quite expensive.

“Once Upon a Time in the West” was another great Italian production by director Leone.

The characterizing element of the film lies in the projection more aimed at a typically American narrative and structural representation, therefore less Italian than usual. On the other hand, and thanks to him if today the definitive separation between the conception of the American western and the Italian spaghetti western is better understood. By rejuvenating the genre, cinema as a whole has undoubtedly benefited through substantial innovations introduced.


Since the 1980s, spaghetti westerns have experienced an inexorable decline which coincided with the placing on the market of very few films, considered to be of lesser rank than the more representative and central ones already mentioned.

“They called him trinita” from 1970 can be considered one of the most congenial westerns above all for the ironic imprint set thanks to the presence of the actor duo composed of Terrence Hill and Bud Spencer. Produced by Enzo Barboni, with music by Franco Micalizzi, it enters the history of cinema in terms of innovation and narrative / visual change. 

Bud Spencer-Terence Hill

Famous almost irreverent fights among the actors, entered as consolidated actions in the collective imagination, to the point of imitating them, emulating them to the end, but without, clearly, any bloodshed. And this is perhaps the trump card that has made this Western world an unprecedented success. From here on, the public’s demand for a less serious type of western is more and more marked by rampant comedy.

An orientation passage, almost epochal in some way in the previous film, which sees the two actors mentioned above as protagonists, namely “God forgives… I don’t”. Year 1967.

The first film in which the paths of Bud Spencer and Terrence Hill actually cross, under the direction of Giuseppe Colizzi.

But the real hero of the Italian western can only be Franco Nero. A mythical figure, protagonist of the film Django , branded 1966. Branded Sergio Corbucci, he brings to the fore a more raw and violent vision of the genre than in the following years through butchering and corporal brutality of all kinds. 

Franco Nero

The final duel between the two contenders, which distinguishes any western worthy of the name, is one of the most exciting in the history of old-fashioned cinema. An anti-hero triumphs in search of the sophisticated boundary between good and evil, of rather challenging themes that are not spared within these representations.


There are about 400 films produced in total by Italian western cinema from 1963 to 1976, the so-called golden years for the entire Italian cinema. Numbers that do not fully explain the high consensus gathered around them.

Memorable interpretations made a difference. 

They still do it today in the collective imagination associated with the spaghetti western and its prestigious protagonists.

One of the best cinematographic genres ever represented visually for critics and for the many fans around the world. Without a doubt.