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Staff favorites

From The Spaghetti Western Database

Staff favorites is a list of films that hold a certain place in the hearts of our editors. This is not a best-of list, but merely a list of personal recommendations by our staff.

Staff favorites

Bad Lieutenant's pick
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Era Sam Wallach... lo chiamavano 'così sia' (1971, Demofilo Fidani) - A spaghetti western so bad that it's good, by the 'Ed Wood of spaghetti westerns' Demofilo Fidani. Robert Woods has the lead as Sam Wallash, a man who doesn't let his phobia for clapping doors get in the way of his thirst for revenge. Whenever he kills someone, he says "Amen". This movie, also known as Savage Guns, is incoherent and cheap, but it's also a lot of fun with it's absurd title character, occasional excessive violence and unintelligible plot outline. Dino Strano, Benito Pacifico and Fidani's daughter Simonetta Vitelli co-star, while there are brilliant cameos by Gordon Mitchell, Lincoln Tate and Peter Martell as hired gunmen. Lallo Gori's excellent score makes this nice piece of trash seem all the more surreal. If you like bad spaghetti westerns, this curious entry to the genre is top billing. Recommended wholeheartedly by --Bad Lieutenant 17:04, 9 October 2007 (CEST)

alk0's pick
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Blindman (1971, Ferdinando Baldi) - A blind gunfighter has to deliver 50 mail order brides to some miners. After he gets cheated he goes to Mexico, where they were sold, to get them back. Definitely not your typical western plot. If you think movie with such a plot must be a bomb then you're terribly wrong. This outlandish story is superbly directed by Ferdinando Baldi. Great acting by the main star Tony Anthony, who manages to create a very likable character and solid supporting cast (Raf Baldassarre, Fortunato Arena and Tito Garcia among others) also adds to the enjoyment. Let's not forget strange casting choice of Ringo Starr (yes, the one from the Fab Four) as the brother of Blindman's arch-menesis. One of the best scores in the genre is provided by Stelvio Cipriani (am I the only one who thinks this guy is seriously underrated?). If you want to have loads of fun while watching spaghetti western that's the perfect one for you. Recommended, without doubt! --alk0 18:13, 9 October 2007 (CEST)

The Halitosis Kid's pick
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My Name is Nobody / Il Mio nome è Nessuno (1973, Tonino Valerii / Sergio Leone) - If A Fistful of Dollars started the whole Spaghetti Western cycle then this possibly ended it (later classics of the genre apart), a film as much concerned with the Western Movie as the Old West itself. Leone puts the Trinity character into a serious setting, Nobody (Terence Hill) the new contender pitting ageing gunfighter Jack Beauregard (Henry Fonda) against “one hundred and fifty pure-bred sons-of-bitches on horseback", in this must-see masterpiece. Brilliant cinematography, amazing action scenes, hilarious comedy moments, a wonderful score (Ennio Morricone) and a totally engrossing story that will have you guessing what Nobody's real intentions are right up to the very end.--The Halitosis Kid 20:08, 9 October 2007 (CEST)

Bluntwolf's pick
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Cost of Dying / Taste of Death / Quanto costa morire (1968, Sergio Merolle) - When Sheriff Bill Ransom (Raymond Pellegrin) is murdered by the vicious bandit leader Scafe (Bruno Corazzari), Scafe's button-man and right hand Earl (John Ireland) switches sides and teams up with Ransom's adoptive son Tony (Andrea Giordana) in order to atone for the crime. - Nice little autumn / winter western that apparently has fallen into oblivion. The movie impresses by its thick atmosphere, great cast, fantastic score (by Francesco de Masi) and simple but interesting plot. I recommend this movie especially for people who already know all the great Spaghetti-Westerns and are searching for some little known surprises of the genre. It's a shame there's no DVD-release available because this movie certainly deserves one !!! --Bluntwolf 22:50, 9 October 2007 (CEST)

Bill San Antonio's pick
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God Forgives... I don't / Dio perdona... Io no! (1967, Giuseppe Colizzi) -After the train is robbed and all the passengers are massacred, two gunslingers Cat Stevens (Terence Hill) and Hutch (Bud Spencer) plans to get the money back and get their revenge on the cruel outlaw Bill san Antonio (Frank Wolff). God Forgives... I Don't is the first film with Terence Hill and Bud Spencer together in the lead. But this is no comedy! Film has some familiar Hill/Spencer ingredients like fist fights and usual squabbling between Hill & Spencer but otherwise it's a serious and violent western. Great story which borrows a thing or two from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (film's working title was "Il cane, il gatto, la volpe" which translates to "The dog, the cat and the fox".) This film is special to me because it's one of the very first spaghetti westerns I ever saw and it's such a entertaining movie that I can watch it over and over again without getting bored. I also recommend it to all those who are not fond of comedies of Hill and Spencer because this film shows that they're also capable to serious films. Film was followed by two sequels: Ace High with Eli Wallach and rather disappointing Boot Hill. --Bill san Antonio 17:15, 10 October 2007 (CEST)

Yodlaf Peterson's pick
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Companeros (1970, Director: Sergio Corbucci) Cast: Franco Nero (Yodlaf 'Penguin' Peterson), Tomas Milian (El Vasco), Ferdinando Rey (Professor Vitaliano Xantos), Iris Berben (Lola), Jack Palance (John Svedese), Jose Bodalo (General Mongo Alvarez), Karin Schubert (Zaire Harris), Eduardo Fajardo (Colonel), Gino Pernice, Tito Garcia (Tiger), Gerard Tichy (Lieutenant), Lorenzo Robeldo (Captain Jim), Simon Arriaga (Mongo henchman), Rafael Albaicin (Mongo henchman), Jose Canalejas (Mongo henchman), Alvaro de Luna (John's henchman), Jesus Fernandez, Victor Israel, Giovanni Petti, Giovanni Pulone, Claudio Scarchilli. If you are quite new to watching spaghetti westerns , this is a great place to start, there is never a dull moment and Franco Nero and Tomas Milian are superb in there roles as El Vasco and Yodlaf Peterson a.k.a. The Penguin, they play off each other superbly, Jack Palance hams it up to perfection as the evil weed smoking John who has a score to settle with Yodlaf. They are trying to get the combination to a safe that holds "All the wealth of the land", El Vasco wants what's in there to help the revolution and Yodlaf wants it out of plain greed! With a superb score by Ennio Morricone and great performances from all involved this would make my top 10 western list without fail. --Yodlaf Peterson 20:00, 15 October 2007 (CEST)

Phil H's pick
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Ritorno di Ringo, Il (1965 / Director: Duccio Tessari) Cast: Giuliano Gemma (Montgomery Brown), George Martin (Paco Fuentes), Fernando Sancho (Esteban Fuentes), Lorella de Luca (Hally Brown), Nieves Navarro (Rosita), Antonio Casas (Sheriff Carson), Pajarito (Morning Glory) Made back to back with Pistola per Ringo, Una, this is one of those 'sequels' that has nothing to do with its predecessor except a common name. In fact this film is a stylish retelling of the Odyssey, with Gemma playing the role of the latter day Odysseus, returning from the civil war to find his home taken over by bandits and his wife set to marry their evil leader. Our hero disguises himself as a mestizo peasant in order to infiltrate his old home and discover if his wife has remained faithful during his absence. With a rousing theme from the genius Ennio Morricone and an all star Spaghetti cast this movie delivers on every front. Action, romance, melodrama and a bit of comedy for good measure; this one has it all. Leave your cynicism at the door and enjoy the ride! --Phil H 00:58, 16 October 2007 (CEST)

Lindberg's pick
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Viva Maria (1965 / Director: Louis Malle) Maybe not quite a true Spaghetti-Western, Viva Maria is still one of my most favourite European westerns, I love this film. The beautiful French actresses Brigitte Bardot and Jeanne Moreau make a wonderful team in this humorous adventure. The film deals with revolutions in Latin America and was an influence to some of the later more light-hearted political spaghettis. It has a lot of spaghetti-style action with machine-guns, explosives, and specially designed weapons. There are also a lot of jokes involving the Church, the Military, rich people etc. On top of this you have the charming Bardot and Moreau, they are at the front of all these on-goings, and also do some fun musical performances with their travelling cirkus, where they invent strip-tease! --Lindberg 03:38, 24 October 2007 (CEST)

Lode's pick
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Se sei vivo spara / Django kill...if you live, shoot! (1967 / Director: Giulio Questi) If you think, you have watched strange movies, then you haven't seen Django kill! Definitely, this is not an average or normal Western. It is strange, it is crazy, it is gay (David DeCoteau calls it the gayest Western even. He maybe haven't seen Requiescant) and it is sinister. What sounds like a normal spaghetti start - a stranger (Thomas Milian) surviving something really cruel, set up by the own companeros, is now searching for revenge - leads to things that are bigger - most of all different. This flic shows the greed for gold and what poeple would do for it. This all takes place in the - in my opinion best city ever appeared in a spaghetti western - "Unhappy Place". I really don't now if you understand my weakness for this movie, but it is next to Blindman my favorite special spaghetti western. Just now, when I am writing about it, I am getting goose bumps, but I don't know why. Come on, see it and find it out. --Lode 20:03, 5 November 2007 (CET)

Tom B.'s pick
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Il pistolero dell'Ave Maria / The Forgotten Pistolero (1970 / Director: Ferdinando Baldi) From the unforgettable score to the gripping screenplay this is one of the small gems of the genre. Three young adults Rafael, Sebastian and Isabella carry out a tale of intrigue and vengeance against Sebastian and Isabella's mother Anna Carrasco and her lover Tomas. The three as children watched as Sebastian and Isabella's father General Juan Carrasco, is killed on the night of his triumphant return from a long military campaign. The children now young adults try to put the pieces together of how the event happened. All the while haunted by chiming church bells. Anna continues to try and thwart their intentions by trying to stop Rafael but Tomas wants him murdered by a gang of hired assassins. Tomas now the scorned lover because of his violence, tries to regain Anna's love. It all boils down to a final reckoning of accounts in their burning hacienda and a confession by Anna that she is not really the children's mother. A great screenplay that holds your attention and good acting by all the principal and supporting actors surrounded by one of the most unforgettable scores of the genre make for a must see film and my all-time favorite guilty pleasure. --Tom B. 23:45, 5 November 2007 (CEST)

Sebastian's pick
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And God Said to Cain (1970) is one of those Spaghetti Westerns that, to me at least, embody the better aspects of the genre: grittiness, violence, seriousness and a certain religious/biblical subtext. Klaus Kinski does one hell of a job here playing the avenging angel, and Margheriti's film here comes to a dark and flammable finale that puts many rivals to shame. It is a bit like those Baldi family dramas, but subtler, with a tad more seriousness attached to it and there is no attempt to grab attention. The movie has been called a mystic western, because the finally combines not only the sinister atmosphere of the story, but it adds natural powers, in this case a hurricane, to the almost divine death sentences of revenge that are pronounced over the perpetrators, and brought in the form of Kinski's character. As I wrote earlier in a review of the German DVD, this movie is a celebration for fans of the sinister kind of films, and you won't be disappointed. To me, one of the best spaghetti westerns, one heck of a revenge flick and beautifully done. --Sebastian 01:33, 12 November 2007 (CET)

Scherpschutter's pick
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Bandidos (1967) A train is assaulted by a gang and all the passengers are killed, except for one, a famous sharpshooter who is recognized by the gang leader. He is mutilated so severely that he will never be able to hold a gun. To make a living he starts as a promoter for a Wild West show, preparing his revenge by educating a young man as a gunslinger. The plan seems to work, but this young man has his own reasons to chase the bandit, and it's all related to the assault on the train ... Combining elements from Greek drama and the psychological thriller, and directed by Sergio Leone's former director of photography, Bandidos is one of the most intense and beautifully looking spaghetti westerns. It was sadly overlooked when first released. Don't miss it this time! -- Scherpschutter 12:46 18 July 2008 (CET)

Korano's pick
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Mátalo (1970) Cast: Lou Castel, Corrado Pani, Luis Davila, Antonio Salines, Claudia Gravy. Director: Cesare Canevari. Four outlaws, Bart, Phil, Ted, and Mary, rob a stagecoach and hideout in a ghost town. Their leader, Bart, was apparently killed in the robbery and the remaining three must somehow learn to co-exist with each other and three other strangers, Ray, Bridgett, and the town's sole inhabitant, Mrs. Benson. But the outlaws have a problem, greed. This film is often (correctly) described as the strangest of all Spaghetti Westerns. It was made to fit the style of the radical sixties culture with hippies, drugs, and violence. It is an acid trip of a film and if your not stoned when watching it, don't worry, this film will do the trick. It has many excentrically strange touches. Almost no dialogue, almost no real plot, entrancing camera work, acid rock musicial score, slow pace with not too many gunfights, headbands, paisley jackets, sixties style fringe, and last but definitely not least, BOOMERANGS! Some may love it, some may hate it. But it is definietly true that there will never be anything like it again. One of a kind. 5:22 13 February 2009 (CET)

Dicfish's pick
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Anda muchacho, spara! / At the End of the Rainbow (1971 / Director: Aldo Florio)

Roy (Fabio Testi) escapes from an American prison and hides in a mining village, where a squire (Eduardo Fajardo) and his bandits are tyrannising the miners and take away their earnings. He works out a plan to pit them against each other...This forgotten masterpiece was a flop, because it was shot in 1971, a time, when Western-Comedies were a lot more popular than serious SWs. The final duel, where Roy appears in a poncho, reminds a little of Sergio Leone's “A Fistful of Dollars”, Bruno Nicolai's music is considered one of the 20 most popular soundtracks in Ulrich P. Bruckner's “Für ein paar Leichen mehr” and the story is told in many well used cutbacks. Apart from all that Fabio Testis acting is just great. "Anda muchacho, spara!" is definitely one of the best SWs from the late period of the genre. -- Dicfish 11:39 2 January 2010 (CET)

Durango/Silence's pick
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Réquiem para el gringo (1968) Cast: Lang Jeffries, Femi Benussi, Fernando Sancho, Carlo Gaddi, Aldo Sambrell. Director: José Luis Merino. The young Dan Logan comes to a ranch to visit his friend and gets a quite unpleasant surprise when he discovers that his friend has been kidnapped and the ranch been stolen by a gang of bandits. When trying to escape he gets caught, beaten up and killed in an unfair duel. His older brother Ross Logan sets out for revenge and waits till the eclipse... This might sound like your usual Spaghetti Western but it isn't. The Ross Logan character is a very mystic one. He wears a leopardo poncho and is an astrologe. This is just a great piece of film overall. Femi Benussi looks and plays great and Aldo Sambrell plays a very strange villian. One of the earlier Spahettis I watched and it's been a favorite of mine ever since. --Durango 20:48, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

Patrick's pick
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Faccia a faccia / Face to Face (1967, Sergio Sollima) – Prior to watching this one, I’d read numerous reviews describing it as a ‘political’ film that acted as a parable on the rise of fascism in Europe throughout the 20th century. While it certainly has those elements, I was surprised to find that this film had a far more philosophical approach to its thematic concerns. I personally view this movie as Sollima’s musing over concepts and themes such as man vs. man, man vs. environment, sexuality, violence and the justification (or imputation) thereof, fate and doppelgängers (the last two of which Alex Cox used to describe the film when it was shown on BBC2’s Moviedrome series), among many others. Few films have left me as uneasy as its characters, and few writers and directors have been as willing to question themselves throughout their own films as Sollima and Sergio Donati - as someone who wishes to write, direct and produce, films like these don't come out all that often. The cast members – Volontè, Milian, Berger, Modio, André, Sambrell, Alfonsi, del Pozo, even Linda Veras – are pitch-perfect. Rafael Pacheco’s cinematography is highly sophisticated and establishes its own flair without trying to trump Tonino Delli Colli’s work on Leone’s movies, and Morricone’s score, with its Thomas 900 organ, is bold and dramatic without being bombastic.

Ultimately, despite it not being as exciting or emotional as some of Leone and Corbucci's films, Face to Face is a highly original, multi-layered character drama that deserves far more academic and critical scrutiny than it has recieved. Give both the English and Italian versions a watch (Volontè dubs himself in Italian, while Milian and Berger are heard in the English dub), but be warned – Andrè's English voice actress sounds like she's trying to play Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird [!], and the uncut English version has long been out of print, with most versions running 20 minutes shorter than the Italian dub. Patrick (talk) 15:00, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

(Update [23 May, 2016]: Explosive Media's latest DVD, as well as their limited edition Blu-ray, includes both abridged and uncut English versions. The picture and audio quality of the scenes from the US version are slightly less than excellent, while the scenes originally from the Italian version are pretty flawed sound-wise, but are at least presentable.)

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