With Django Unchained set to hit theaters in five months, writer/director Quentin Tarantino revealed his top ten spaghetti westerns on the Django Unchained Facebook page. Tarantino fans know that lists are pretty familiar territory for the opinionated film icon as he annually releases his top ten list of best and worst films of the year.
For those looking to get into spaghetti westerns before Django hits theaters on December 25, take a look at the list of films chosen by Tarantino below. Which ones are your favorites? Which ones would you be interested in checking out? Click the poster image above for a larger version.
1.) The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Featuring one of the most well recognized music scores of all-time, Sergio Leone's classic pit Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach in a race to find a fortune of gold buried in a remote cemetery.
2.) For A Few Dollars More
The second movie in Sergio Leone's collaboration with Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name trilogy, Dollars pits Eastwood with Lee Van Cleef as they hunt down an outlaw known as El Indio (Gian Maria Volonte).
Franco Nero stars as the title character, a coffin-dragging gunslinger who arrives in a town caught between a conflict between a gang of Mexican bandits and the KKK. Written and directed by Sergio Corbucci, the coffin served as a MacGuffin, leading the audience to wonder who or what was inside it.
4.) The Mercenary
Otherwise known as A Professional Gun, Corbucci's western brings out the big guns and we don't mean that literally. Franco Nero stars as the man who will "sell your life to the highest bidder and if you're not willing to pay, get ready to die."
5.) Once Upon a Time in the West
Sergio Leone's sprawling epic story of a mysterious stranger (Charles Bronson) who joins forces with a desperado to protect a beautiful widow (Claudia Cardinale) from a ruthless assassin (Henry Fonda) working for the railroad.
6.) Fistful of Dollars
Sergio Leone's first collaboration with Clint Eastwood finds the Man with No Name playing a wandering gunfighter who plays two rival families against each other in a town torn apart by greed, pride and revenge. The story was adapted from Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo.
7.) Day of Anger
Lee Van Cleef mentors a young Giuliano Gemma who plays the amiable, unassertive Scott Mary, who spends his days as the janitor of the town of Clifton and is generally looked down upon by the town people. When Van Cleef rides into town and kills one of Scott's bullies, he seizes the opportunity to change his life and prove himself as a gunslinger.
8.) Death Rides a Horse
John Phillip Law stars as Bill, a man who fifteen years after witnessing his family being murdered by four robbers, sets out on a journey to exact revenge. Along the way, he spars with and occasionally cooperates with Ryan (Lee Van Cleef), a gunfighter on his own quest for vengeance.
9.) Navajo Joe
Filmed in Spain, Navajo Joe stars Burt Reynolds in his second leading role in a feature film. Reynolds stars as the title character who opposes a group of bandits responsible for killing his tribe. The film features a score by Ennio Morricone who is credited as Leo Nichols.
10.) The Return of Ringo
The sequel to A Pistol for Ringo, Duccio Tessari's film finds a civil war soldier (Montgomery Ward) who returns home to find his family decimated, his home taken over by a family of Mexican bandits and his fiancée about to marry Esteban, the gangster behind everything. The film has an alternate title, Blood at Sundown and was scored by the legendary Morricone.
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Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
As replied to others, I have to consider Once Upon A Time In The West as not only the greatest Italian Western ever, but the greatest Western period. While I would like to Like Corbucci's the Mercenary, since if I recall correctly he plays the Pole Kowalski, I found the film very slow and meandering. Have not seen Day of Anger, or Tarrentino's 9th and 10th pick. In my top ten I have to include Corbucci's 'The Great Silence', 'The Hellbenders'. Also included in this list would be My Name Is Nobody', the Sergio Leone produced film, 'Keoma' from the late 70's with Franco Nero, and though may not technically be a Western, Leone's 'Duck You Sucker'. I agree with Good the Bad, and Django on this list.
Most of the list is pretty good, I think I'd add "My Name Is Nobody" with Henry Fonda and Terrence Hill to the list... Spaghetti western with humor ;-)
Most certainly 'My Name is Nobody' should be on this list.
I haven't seen most of the non-Eastwood films, but I did see "Once Upon a Time in the West". I have to disagree with poster David Thomas. I think the Eastwood films flat out destroy Once Upon a Time in the West. I wanted to like Once upon a Time, but didn't feel anything all that compelling from the story or the characters. Even though Eastwood was basically the same in all the westerns, I always found his man without a name character interesting.
As I replied to David, I have to disagree with you. I feel it is if not the best Italian Western ever, the second best behind The Good the Bad and The Ugly. I have One Upon A Time in my top seven films of all time. I certainly hope that if you have seen Once Upon a Time, you didn't see it back in the late 60's in the theaters with it's butchered American editing, heck, even the 70's television version was better than what Paramount did to that theatrical version. Only sometime in the late 80's was Leone's proper theatrical version finally shown.
A list hard to contest or add to for sure. If you'll notice, a lot of these include atmospheric musical scores or soundtracks that enhance the wild west suspense and almost act as audio supporting characters. This is the pronounced difference between classic movies and modern filmfare, the old school ability of genius composers to capture the essence of a story and make it a hit via music.
A great list for sure, but I'd have to make one change and one inclusion. The change would be to put Once Upon A Time In The West as number one. It easily outclasses everything else on the list. Jason Robards is great as is Charles Bronson, but never has such a likeable actor as Henry Fonda been made to be so cold-blooded.
My inclusion on this list would have to be "A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die" starring Alex Cord and Robert Ryan. Cord is clearly doing an Eastwood impersonation but it works.
Yes, I was amazed that Once Upon A Time was not number one or at least two. I have it on my list as one of the seven greatest films of all time.
While not technically "spaghetti westerns", it's tough to think about spaghetti westerns and not think of 2 of my favorite Clint Eastwood movies - Hang 'em High and High Plains Drifter. I'm thinking these should at least get an honorable mention because they are such good spaghetti-ish movies.
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