Essential Top 20 Films
These twenty films were voted by our community as the essential films of the genre. More information on our voting procedure, and where to find those that didn't make the top 50, you'll find at the bottom of the page. For an introduction to the genre, please visit our Introduction.
|1|| THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY, Sergio Leone (1966)
Ennio Morricone's theme is world-known, even to people unaware of its origins. This lengthy, but beautifully balanced western is held by most to be THE spaghetti western. The three-way show down between Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach is legendary.
Community vote score: (3.116 points)
|2|| ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, Sergio Leone (1968)
Made to be the spaghetti western to end all spaghetti westerns, Leone's opus is both a hommage to the American western and as through and through Italian as can be. He turned Henry Fonda into a badboy and let Ennio Morricone give themes to all the characters, played also by Charles Bronson, the unforgettable Claudia Cardinale and Jason Robards. The harmonica is just as famous as the coyote howl of our No.1.
Community vote score: (2.663 points)
|3|| FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE, Sergio Leone (1965)
Clint Eastwood returns as the man with no name, in one of the most exciting representatives of the genre and the map that cemented Sergio Leone as the king of spaghetti western. Ennio Morricone's score is amazing, as are stars Klaus Kinski and Lee Van Cleef.
Community vote score: (2.551 points)
|4|| THE GREAT SILENCE, Sergio Corbucci (1968)
Its wintery setting, gloomy score (by Ennio Morricone), and the grim violence add to the atmosphere of this famous western by the "other" Sergio, starring Klaus Kinski as the villain and Jean-Louis Trintignant as the mute anti-hero.
Community vote score: (2.001 points)
|5|| A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, Sergio Leone (1964)
This is where it all started, the movie that got the ball rolling. Leone's remake of Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo put the then unknown TV actor Clint Eastwood on the map and established his style and the use of extraordinary music by Ennio Morricone.
Community vote score: (1.727 points)
|6|| DJANGO, Sergio Corbucci (1966)
Violence is a trademark of the genre. Corbucci upped the anti with ears bitten off priests and citizens slaughtered with a machine gun, but the skilled pistolero with the army coat and the coffin are what makes this a cult favorite.
Community vote score: (1.650 points)
|7|| THE BIG GUNDOWN, Sergio Sollima (1966)
This is one of three spaghetti westerns of the third Sergio, pitting Lee Van Cleef against genre stalwart Tomas Milian in a cat and mouse hunt that ends as epic as could be, with one of the most remarkable opening credit theme songs ever recorded.
Community vote score: (1.542 points)
|8|| THE MERCENARY, Sergio Corbucci (1968)
Some films are not only famous, they are also cult favorites and draw a crowd of followers (even though it has yet to reach a wider audience on proper home video releases in the US and the UK). This is one, with Franco Nero in one of his greatest roles, an unforgettable soundtrack by Ennio Morricone and the late Jack Palance at a particular best.
Community vote score: (1.156 points)
|9|| DEATH RIDES A HORSE, Giulio Petroni (1967)
Community vote score: (1.022 points)
|10|| FACE TO FACE, Sergio Sollima (1967)
This is actually the second of his three westerns, and it is as much a metaphor of violence as it is a showcase for actors Tomas Milian and Gian Maria Volonte trying to top each other. Community vote score: (1.011 points)
|11|| COMPANEROS, Sergio Corbucci (1970)
This is Corbucci's second revolutionary tale next to The Mercenary, and it is somewhat of a modification of it, again starring Franco Nero but this time with Tomas Milian in the role of the peasant. Community vote score: (978 points)
|12|| DUCK, YOU SUCKER!, Sergio Leone (1971)
Leone's own revolutionary western pits Rod Steiger and James Coburn against armored tanks and the Mexican army, in a very explosive film.
Community vote score: (935 points)
|13|| A BULLET FOR THE GENERAL, Damiano Damiani (1966)
In another revolution-themed entry from the early years, Gian Maria Volonte as El Chuncho is played by a young American agent in order to kill a revolutionary leader. A great story of comraderie and betrayal, with brilliant acting and beautiful music.
Community vote score: (882 points)
|14|| DAY OF ANGER, Tonino Valerii (1967)
Community vote score: (678 points)
|15|| KEOMA, Enzo G. Castellari (1976)
In its late phase, only few directors have managed to churn out quality films on decent budgets. Veteran director Castellari teamed up with icon Franco Nero in what is a very gloomy but gripping western tale.
Community vote score: (608 points)
|16|| CEMETERY WITHOUT CROSSES, Robert Hossein (1968)
The French director's singular endeavor into the genre is also one of the most revered. This sinister tale of revenge and death boasts with incredibly atmospheric scenes, great music and exceptional acting and directing. A small gem if you so will.
Community vote score: (599 points)
|17|| MY NAME IS NOBODY, Sergio Leone/Tonino Valerii (1973)
As the genre turned into its self-parody phase, Leone conceived a self reflective western pitting the established Terence Hill against acting titan Henry Fonda. Controversial in it's mixture of comedy and deeper meaning about the decline of the west it was not the last SW, but nonetheless a fitting end for an already dying genre.
Community vote score: (538 points)
|18|| RETURN OF RINGO, Duccio Tessari (1965)
Elegantly directed by Ducio Tessari this is one of the early classics and one of the early successes of the genre. Following the storyline of Homer's Odyssey, Gemma (in his best role) returns home after the civil war to win back his wife and house.
Community vote score: (480 points)
|19|| DJANGO KILL, IF YOU LIVE, SHOOT!, Giulio Questi (1967)
Questi's very bizarre and only entry in the genre might not find too many friends but is a well-directed film with many memorable moments, as well as a great deal of elements found in exploitation cinema.
Community vote score: 463 points)
|20|| RUN MAN RUN, Sergio Sollima (1968)
Tomas Milian runs for his life, this time not from a bounty hunter but for his honor, lots of gold and a promise. An adorable film but maybe the weakest of the three films Sollima made. But it has a scene in the snow!
Community vote score: (398 points)
- Followed by these:
21. If You Meet Sartana, Pray for Your Death G. Parolini, 1968 (355 points);
22. Blindman F. Baldi, 1971 (325 points);
23. Sabata G. Parolini, 1969 (275 points);
24. $10,000 Blood Money R. Guerrieri, 1967 (252 points);
25. Navajo Joe S. Corbucci, 1966 (247 points);
26. Mannaja S. Martino, 1977 (244 points);
27. And God Said to Cain A. Margheriti, 1969 (234 points);
28. Tepepa G. Petroni, 1968 (215 points);
29. Light the Fuse ... Sartana is Coming G. Carnimeo, 1970 (205 points);
30. A Pistol for Ringo D.Tessari, 1965 (197 points);
31. Massacre Time L. Fulci, 1966 (173 points);
32. God Forgives, I Don't G. Colizzi, 1967 (161 points);
33. Bandidos M. Dallamano, 1967 (154 points);
34. El Puro E. Mulargia, 1969 (146 points)
35. Kill and Pray C. Lizzani, 1967 (140 points);
36. The Grand Duel G. Santi, 1972 (138 points);
37. California M. Lupo, 1977 (136 points);
38. Four of the Apocalypse L. Fulci, 1975 (130 points);
39. Matalo! C. Canevari, 1970 (130 points);
40. Ace High G. Colizzi, 1968 128 points);
41. Johnny Hamlet E.G. Castellari, 1968 (126 points);
42. Trinity is Still my Name E. B. Clucher, 1971 (120 points);
43. The Bounty Killer E. Martàn 66 (113 points);
44. The Forgotten Pistolero F. Baldi, 1969 (112 points);
45. Death Sentence M. Lanfranchi, 1968 (111 points);
46. The Specialists S. Corbucci, 1970 (101 points);
47. Django the Bastard S. Garrone, 1969 (99 points);
48. Shoot the Living and Pray for the Dead G. Vari, 1971 (94 points);
49. They Call Him Cemetery G. Carnimeo 71 (93 points);
50. They Call Me Trinity E. Barboni 71 (91 points);
50. A Stranger in Town L. Vanzi 67 (91 points);
Information on this list:
- About the points system: The top 20 films from each list were scored using the following formula: #1=25 points; #2=21 points; #3=19 points; #4= 17 points and then down to #20=1 point
- The complete list (last update January 2015): http://forum.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/topic,190.msg172383.html#msg172383
- Compiled from meanwhile 153 Top-20-lists (post yours!), this is a dynamically changing list of the most important Spaghetti Westerns as rated by our community.
- Related: This list on Amazon.com
- Related: This list on YouTube
- Related: This list is also on iCheckmovies.com