Retro Relapse: Top 50 Spaghetti Westerns of All-Time

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Originally written in 2015.

Spaghetti westerns are better than westerns, at least in my opinion. Sure, there are fantastic American-made westerns but as a whole, the Italian-Spanish (sometimes German) films are superior. There is more grit, more bad ass shit and a level of violence that adds realism and authenticity to a genre that has typically been family friendly in the U.S.

The greatest film of all-time is a spaghetti western. And many of the other greatest films ever also fall into this genre.

I have spent the last several months watching a lot of these films. I have always been familiar with the greats but I had to delve deeper into the more obscure reaches of the genre. A special shout out goes to the Spaghetti Western Database for the hours of research I was able to accomplish in mostly one place. Also, thanks to Amazon, Hulu and YouTube for providing several of these films. The rest were an adventure to track down.

This list is the result of my hundreds of hours of film watching.

1. The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
2. Once Upon A Time In the West
3. The Great Silence
4. The Big Gundown
5. For A Few Dollars More
6. Django
7. A Fistful of Dollars
8. The Mercenary
9. Face to Face
10. Django Kill… If You Live, Shoot!
11. A Bullet For the General
12. Compañeros
13. Duck, You Sucker! (A Fistful of Dynamite)
14. Day of Anger
15. Keoma
16. Sabata
17. Return of Ringo
18. Death Rides A Horse
19. Cemetery Without Crosses
20. My Name Is Nobody
21. The Grand Duel
22. A Genius, Two Partners and A Dupe
23. A Pistol for Ringo
24. If You Meet Sartana, Pray For Your Death
25. The Dirty Outlaws
26. Django, Prepare a Coffin (Viva Django)
27. Run Man Run
28. Tepepa
29. Navajo Joe
30. Four of the Apocalypse
31. Massacre Time
32. Shoot the Living, Pray for the Dead
33. Mannaja
34. Django Strikes Again
35. The Return of Sabata
36. A Few Dollars For Django
37. Light the Fuse… Sartana Is Coming
38. Machine Gun Killers
39. Beyond the Law
40. Ace High
41. The Bounty Killer (The Ugly Ones)
42. Trinity Is Still My Name
43. Hellbenders
44. Django the Bastard
45. God Forgives, I Don’t
46. Minnesota Clay
47. God’s Gun
48. They Call Me Trinity
49. Ringo and His Golden Pistol (Johnny Oro)
50. Arizona Colt

Film Review: Once Upon A Time In the West (1968)

Also known as: C’era una volta il West (Italy)
Release Date: December 21st, 1968 (Italy)
Directed by: Sergio Leone
Written by: Sergio Donati, Sergio Leone, Mickey Knox, Dario Argento, Bernardo Bertolucci
Music by: Ennio Morricone
Cast: Claudia Cardinale, Henry Fonda, Jason Robards, Charles Bronson, Gabriele Ferzetti, Woody Strode

Rafran Cinematografica, Finanzia San Marco, Euro International Film, Paramount Pictures, 165 Minutes (international version), 175 Minutes (Director’s Cut)

once_upon_a_time_in_the_westReview:

Once Upon A Time In the West is currently ranked as No. 25 on IMDb’s Top 250 movies list. That makes it the 25th greatest film of all-time, as dictated by the votes of millions of IMDb users worldwide. Frankly, I think it is too low.

The fact is, I consider Sergio Leone’s The Good, The Bad and the Ugly to be the greatest film ever made. This movie, is just one very small step behind it. Once Upon A Time In the West is just about as flawless and as perfect as a film can be.

The direction by Sergio Leone is exactly what you would expect if you have seen any of his nearly immaculate films. The actors were working with a master and being as talented of a cast as they were, they all performed at their absolute best and gave audiences something gritty, real and straight from the heart. Every talent in this movie conveyed raw, honest and sincere emotion. Acting like this only comes across in a film once in a blue moon and it is even rarer if Sergio Leone, Stanley Kubrick or Akira Kurosawa aren’t in the director’s chair.

Continuing on about the stellar acting, Charles Bronson owns this film and has never been better. For a guy as talented as he is, this is certainly his magnum opus. He is a likable bad ass who carries some serious emotional baggage and a lust for revenge that is never fully revealed until the end of the film.

Henry Fonda is so good as the evil bastard Frank, that he may be one of the greatest villains in cinematic history. I couldn’t help but hate him and appreciate the acting prowess of Fonda in this dastardly role.

Jason Robards was another great addition to this cast as Cheyenne. He was kind and caring and still a bit of a bad ass as well. He needed to be, sharing the screen with Bronson and Fonda. The trichotomy of these characters was on par with the intense and intertwined relationship of the three title characters in Leone’s The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.

Rounding out the cast was Italian actress and model, Claudia Cardinale. She was mesmerizingly gorgeous in a way that I have never experienced in any other film. She is still the most beautiful actress and presence that I have ever seen in any film and she owned this movie like no other actress could. She had an incredibly tough task to accomplish in taking on this role and she far exceeded what was needed, which is a testament to her talent, her beauty and the direction of Sergio Leone.

Yes, I am pimping the hell out of this film. I can’t help it. When I am this passionate about something so flawless and so spectacular, it is hard for me to tone it down. There are very few films that I can consider perfect. This is one of those films.

Rating: 10/10