SWDB Hall of Fame/Directors
From The Spaghetti Western Database
< SWDB Hall of FameRevision as of 21:41, 10 January 2021 by JonathanCorbett
May 19, 1917 (Cava dei Tirreni, Salerno, Italy) - November 12, 2007 (Rome)
Baldi amassed an interesting and offbeat body of work in the Spaghetti Western genre, directing and having a hand in writing ten in all. Baldi’s Spaghetti Western debut was Texas Adios (1966) starring Franco Nero, fresh off his success with Django. His next western was a musical, Little Rita of the West (1967). Baldi went on to make Django, Prepare a Coffin AKA Viva Django (1968), a box office hit and considered among the best of the unofficial “Django” sequels. The Forgotten Pistolero (1969) incorporated Baldi's expertise in Greek Tragedy (he was a former College Professor on the subject) as the film was based on the legend of Orestes. He went on to make a series of films with Tony Anthony, of which three are westerns. These were the Zatoichi inspired Blindman (1971), the Spaghetti Western fantasy Get Mean (1976), and the 3D western Comin' at Ya! (1981). Blindman and Comin' at Ya! were both sizable box office hits in the US. Outside of westerns he was an associate producer of Mario Bava’s Whip and the Body (1963) and co-directed David and Goliath (1960).
|Giuliano Carnimeo aka Anthony Ascott
July 4, 1932 (Bari, Italy)-
Often under the pseudonym of Anthony Ascott, the prolific Carnimeo directed 14 Italian westerns, and was assistant director on another three. His westerns were known for their comic book-like characters and atmosphere, over the top action sequences, and slapstick humor. His two favorite leading actors to work with were George Hilton, of which he directed in 7 westerns, and Gianni Garko, of which he directed in 5. He is perhaps best known for taking over Gianfranco Parolini’s “Sartana” franchise, filming three official sequels with Garko and one with Hilton. Besides “Sartana”, Carnimeo’s films often featured superhero-like lead protagonists, such as “Tresette/Tricky Dicky”, “Hallelujah”, “Spirito Santo/Holy Ghost”, and “Ace/Cemetery”. These characters often used gimmicky weapons disguised as something else such as a sewing machine and an organ. Overall, Carnimeo directed and co-directed over 30 features of various genre’s, but mostly comedies and westerns. Outside of westerns, his best known directorial work was the 1972 Giallo, The Case of the Bloody Iris, starring Hilton.
Enzo G. Castellari
|Enzo G. Castellari
July 29, 1938 (Rome, Italy)-
One of the most prominent genre film directors to come out of Italy, Enzo Castellari directed 10 Spaghetti Westerns, 8 of which he co-wrote. His westerns are noted for their well staged action, swift pacing, symbolic imagery, and highly stylized nature. Any Gun Can Play (1967) became a big hit at the Italian box-office. Castellari went on to film a western adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet in Johnny Hamlet (1968). Perhaps his most important genre entry was the dark and atmospheric "Twilight" Spaghetti Western, Keoma (1976), a personal favorite of both the director and the film's star, Franco Nero. Nero and Castellari are good friends and have collaborated on 7 features together. Their last western together was Jonathan of the Bears (1993). Castellari made many action-oriented exploitation films like Bronx Warriors 2 (1983), and Euro-Crime classics such as The Big Racket (1976), and Street Law (1974). His best known work is the World War II Macaroni Combat film, The Inglorious Bastards (1978). Still active as a director, Castellari recently again came to public attention with the release of Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds (2009), which was highly influenced by Castellari's own film.
June 28, 1925 (Rome, Italy)- August 23, 1978 (Rome)
He made only three Spaghetti Westerns in a comparatively sporadic career, yet each of the three instalments of the “Cat Stevens” trilogy were massive hits, making Colizzi one of the highest grossing Spaghetti Western directors ever while making stars out of both Terence Hill and Bud Spencer. Starting out as an assistant director in the late 1940’s, and later as a production manager of which his credits include Federico Fellini’s Il Bedone (1955), Colizzi would also publish several novels. It was his first Spaghetti Western however, God Forgives, I Don’t (1967), of which he also co-wrote the screenplay, that would land him major prominence. The film was a massive box office hit in Europe and was the first ever pairing as leading actors for the legendary duo of Hill and Spencer. Colizzi would go on to collaborate with the pair on two equally successful sequels, writing, producing and directing Ace High (1968), which also starred Eli Wallach, and Boots Hill (1969) of which he also contributed creatively to the soundtrack. Outside of the western genre, Colizzi would direct just three more films, including another Hill and Spencer collaboration, All the Way Boys (1972). He went on to be the director of Rome’s first private Television channel and was working on a script for a fifth Hill and Spencer collaboration before death took him prematurely in 1978.
December 6, 1926 (Rome, Italy)- December 1, 1990 (Rome, Italy)
Corbucci is arguably the genre’s second greatest director, behind only Sergio Leone. Corbucci made several early Spaghetti Westerns including Minnesota Clay (1965) and Johnny Oro (1966). But it wasn’t until Django (1966), that Corbucci made his mark on the genre. The dark, atmospheric, and stunningly violent western was a huge hit, making a star out of Franco Nero, and spawning dozens of imitators. He continued the success with Navajo Joe (1966), The Hellbenders (1967), and his Zapata masterpiece, The Mercenary (1968). He then made what many regard as his magnum opus, The Great Silence (1968). With it's snow capped locations, bleak outlook, and grisly violence, it further advanced the genre into unique territory. He followed this with two more classic westerns, The Specialist (1969), and his second Zapata masterpiece, Companeros (1970). After this he made three more westerns including Sonny and Jed (1972) and The White, the Yellow and the Black (1975), but these seemingly lacked the impact of his earlier work. In all, Corbucci directed 13 Spaghetti Westerns, several of which are now widely considered among the finest ever made. He also had a hand in writing most of his westerns. After the western genre had ran its course, Corbucci directed several successful Terence Hill and Bud Spencer comedies including Who Finds a Friend Finds a Treasure (1981) and Super Fuzz (1980).
|Demofilo Fidani aka Miles Deem
February 8, 1914 (Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy) - March 17, 1994 (Rome, Lazio, Italy). Known as the “Ed Wood of Spaghetti Westerns”, Fidani was the most notorious of all Spaghetti Western directors. Under the pseudonym of “Miles Deem”, he overcame pitiful budgets to become a prolific director and writer of 13 Spaghetti Westerns, each characterized by their derivativeness, plot holes, and quirkiness. He also served as producer for several of his films. His films, while lacking in artistic brilliance, were nevertheless entertaining and exuded Fidani’s enthusiasm for the genre. To this day, his films have garnered a cult following. In addition, Fidani served as an art director, set decorator, and production designer for other Spaghetti Westerns, and even appeared several times as an actor. In all, Fidani contributed to 23 Spaghetti Westerns in one capacity or another. His best known directorial efforts are A Barrel Full of Dollars aka A Coffin Full of Dollars aka Nevada Kid aka Showdown for a Badman (1971), Django and Sartana’s Showdown in the West (1970 as Dick Spitfire), One Damned Day at Dawn, Django Meets Sartana (1970) and Savage Guns (1971). He was the father of Simonetta Vitelli, better known as Simone Blondell, who appeared in many of his films. As a young man, he served as a trainee director in Luchino Visconti’s La Terra Trema (1948) and as an assistant production designer on Roberto Rosselini’s The Machine That Kills Bad People (1952). He was also a production designer on Crypt of the Vampire (1964 as Demos Filos).
June 17, 1927 (Rome, Italy) – March 13, 1996 (Rome, Italy) Fulci’s name is synonymous with Italian horror and “Gialli”, yet he actually boasted a diverse oeuvre that included three memorable Spaghetti Westerns. Fulci’s career started in the early 1950s as a writer and assistant director. He then became a director of comedy films, many of which starred the popular comedic duel of Franco and Ciccio. In 1966, he directed his first Spaghetti Western, Massacre Time aka The Brute and the Beast. Starring Franco Nero and George Hilton, the film was a box office success. He also played a bit part in Two R-R-Ringos from Texas (1967) and helped write The Man Who Killed Billy the Kid (1967). He directed two films based on Jack London’s “White Fang”. In the mid 70s, when the Spaghetti Western had seemingly run its course, Fulci returned to the genre with two “twilight era” films. The first of these was Four of the Apocalypse (1975). Dark, bleak, and brutal, the film is now a highly regarded cult favorite. His final western was also one of the last Spaghetti Westerns ever made, Silver Saddle (1978). Besides westerns, Fulci achieved international recognition as a popular, yet controversial horror maestro, with films marked by their stylish violence and shocking images. Among the more well known of these works are Zombi 2 (1979), The Beyond (1981), City of the Living Dead (1980), The House by the Cemetery (1981), The New York Ripper (1982) and Don’t Torture a Duckling (1972).
|Sergio Garrone aka Willy Regan
April 15, 1926 (Rome, Italy)-
Despite being overshadowed by the more famous trio of Leone, Corbucci and Sollima, the “Fourth Sergio”, is himself an accomplished Spaghetti Western director. The brother of character actor Riccardo Garrone, he often directed Spaghetti Westerns under the pseudonym of “Willy Regan”. He first started out as a producer and writer. He produced Django the Last Killer (1967) and Killer Kid (1967), co-writing the latter. He wrote and directed No Room to Die (1969), starring Anthony Steffen and William Berger. The film is well liked among genre enthusiasts. He also directed and co-wrote his most well known film, Stranger’s Gundown aka Django the Bastard (1969). This gothic horror tinged western starring Steffen, is often cited as an uncredited influence on Clint Eastwood’s Pale Rider. Overall, his Spaghetti Western resume is impressive, directing six, writing nine and producing three of these films. Outside of the western genre, his best known work is in the “Women in Prison” genre of exploitation films. He directed and co-wrote SS Experiment Love Camp (1976) and SS Camp 5: Women’s Hell (1977). He also wrote the story for the World War II macaroni combat film, 5 For Hell (1969).
December 5, 1931 (Rome, Italy)-
Guerrieri is not only accomplished as a director, assistant director and as a screenwriter. After all, making films is in his blood. Born Romolo Girolami, he is the brother of Marino Girolami, as well as the uncle of actor Ennio Girolami and director and fellow SWDB hall of fame inductee Enzo G. Castellari. Starting out as an assistant director, he served in this capacity for three early (uncredited in one) Spaghetti Westerns, including Minnesota Clay (1964). Perhaps eager to break out of his family’s shadow, he began directing films using the last name “Guerrieri” instead of his birth name. He helmed three Spaghetti Westerns as a main director including Johnny Yuma (1966), which he also co-wrote. He also directed a highly regarded classic of the genre, $10,000 Blood Money aka $10,000 for a Massacre (1967). The film marked Gianni Garko’s very first role as a lead protagonist in a western and is regarded by many to be the finest of the unofficial Django sequels. He also co-wrote the box office hit, Any Gun Can Play (1967), directed by Enzo. Besides westerns, he also directed the Giallo, The Sweet Body of Deborah starring Carroll Baker, and the Euro-crime classic, Young, Violent and Dangerous aka Young, Violent and Desperate (1976), starring Tomas Milian.
January 3, 1929 (Rome, Italy) - April 30, 1989 (Rome, Italy)
Without a doubt, the most famous of all Spaghetti Western directors and perhaps, westerns in general. Though Italian directors had made westerns before, they were little more than imitations of their Hollywood counterparts. It was Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars (1964), a western remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo (1962) that gave birth to the genre and bestowed immeasurable influence on future filmmakers and pop culture. It propelled Clint Eastwood to international stardom. It’s sequel, the aptly titled For a Few Dollars More (1965), an even greater success, catapulted Lee Van Cleef to stardom as well. Leone then made arguably the two greatest Westerns of all time, The Good the Bad, and the Ugly (1966), his civil war themed final installment of the “Man With No Name" trilogy, and Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), a film that turned traditional western conventions on their head. Leone's final western was the Zapata classic Duck, You Sucker AKA A Fistful of Dynamite (1971). After co-directing, co-writing and producing two comedy westerns, My Name is Nobody (1973) and A Genius, Two Partners and a Dupe AKA Nobody's the Greatest (1975), Leone said goodbye to the western and made his long awaited Gangster epic, Once Upon a Time in the America (1984). Like Once Upon a Time, the film was initially butchered by American censors (and critics) but in recent years, has rightfully gained acclaim as an undeniable masterpiece.
December 4, 1932 (Corleone, Sicily, Italy)- June 27, 1989 (Rome)
While he excelled primarily as a director of comedies, the five Spaghetti Westerns of Michele Lupo are an eclectic and memorable mix, spanning the early days of the genre all the way up to the post twilight years. Lupo started his career in the 1950s, working often as an assistant director. In 1961, Lupo got his first big break, working as Sergio Leone’s assistant director in Colossus of Rhodes. Lupo went on to be main director in 23 more films. His first western was the Franco and Ciccio comedy, For a Fist in the Eye aka Fistful of Knuckles (1965). The next year he made Arizona Colt (1966), which proved to be very successful, starring Italian box office King Giuliano Gemma. He worked with Gemma again in the western comedy, Ben and Charlie (1972). In 1977, Lupo made arguably his finest western, California, once again starring Gemma. The film’s sentimentality and bleakness was a surprising departure from his earlier lighthearted fare. He returned to comedy for his final western, Buddy Goes West (1981), starring Bud Spencer. Outside of the genre, Lupo’s best known films were collaborations with Spencer, including Bulldozer (1978), E.T. and the Sheriff (1979), and Bomber (1982).
Joaquín Luis Romero Marchent
|Joaquín Luis Romero Marchent
August 26, 1921 (Madrid, Spain) - August 16, 2012 (Madrid, Spain)
Regarded by many as the greatest Euro-western director to come out of Spain, Marchent directed 12 Westerns (writing five of them), and either wrote or co-wrote four more. Marchent was born into a cinematic family, as his father and his three siblings were all involved in the film making business. His first directorial effort was a crime drama, Court of Justice (1953), which won an award for direction in Spain. From 1955 to 1964, Marchent directed five “pre-Leone” westerns, the most famous of these being The Hour of Death aka Seven Guns from Texas (1964). His pioneering work in early Spanish westerns played a part in paving the way for other Spanish filmmakers and Spanish actors during the Spaghetti Western craze soon after, many of which were Spanish/Italian co-productions. He wrote and directed Sons of Vengeance aka Three Ruthless Ones (1966). In addition, he also co-wrote Garringo aka Dead are Countless (1969) and Sartana Kills Them All (1970). In 1972, at a time when the Spaghetti Western market was dominated by comedies, Marchent went against the trend, wrote, and directed his most famous western, Cut-Throats 9, a brutally violent and unapologetically bleak western. His final western was Revenge of the Black Wolf (1981), marking a 26 year span in which he directed westerns. Outside of the western genre, he was the primary director for the popular Spanish television series, Curro Jiménez (1976-78).
|Edoardo Mulargia aka Edward G. Muller
December 10, 1925 (Torpe, Italy)- September 7, 2005 (Rome, Italy)
10 out of the 17 films that Mulargia (under the pseudonym of Edward G. Muller) directed were Spaghetti Westerns. He directed two westerns starring Ivan Rassimov (as Sean Todd), Cjamango (1967), and Don’t Wait, Django…Shoot! (1967). In 1969, Mulargia co-wrote, co-cinematographed and directed what Spaghetti Western enthusiasts consider to be his masterpiece. El Puro starred Robert Woods (in his second of three collaborations with Mulargia) in the role of a recovering alcoholic gunfighter. Initially only a moderate success at the box office, the film has developed something of a cult fan base. Mulargia’s best known western is W Django! Aka A Man Called Django (1971), a finely made unofficial Django sequel, also starring Steffen. Outside of the western genre, Mulargia directed and co-wrote the “Women-in-Prison” exploitation film, Escape from Hell (1980) as well as an uncredited writer and assistant director on Savage Island (1985). He later became a director for RAI.
|Gianfranco Parolini aka Frank Kramer
February 20, 1930 (Rome, Italy)-
Known as the man who brought “James Bond” to the Spaghetti west, Parolini, under his pseudonym of Frank Kramer, directed and co-wrote the two original westerns to feature the popular “Sartana”, and “Sabata” characters. He first hit the big-time with If You Meet Sartana, Pray for Your Death (1968), featuring a Bond-like protagonist portrayed by Gianni Garko. Like Bond, the “Sartana” character was a suave, well dressed, gambling gunfighter with an array of gadgetry. Not directing any of the sequels, he instead made another western featuring a similar character in Sabata (1969), with Lee Van Cleef playing the title role. The film was an international commercial success. Parolini went on to direct 2 follow ups including Adios Sabata (1971), starring Yul Brynner. Like “Django”, both “Sartana” and “Sabata” were popular enough to have spawned numerous unofficial sequels. He directed another Van Cleef western, God’s Gun (1976). Apart from the 7 westerns that he made, Parolini also directed the World War II actioner Five for Hell (1969), as well as five of the Kommissar X series of Euro-spy films.
September 21, 1917 (Rome, Italy)- January 31, 2010 (Rome, Italy)
He made just eight films during his relatively sporadic career, yet five of those films are westerns, included among them several well regarded entries. His first Spaghetti Western is also his most famous, the classic revenge tale Death Rides a Horse (1967) starring John Philip Law and Lee Van Cleef. The film was a huge financial success, and somewhat of a breakthrough role for Law. Today it remains regarded among the genre’s finest. He decided to change pace with A Sky Full of Stars for a Roof (1968), a comedy with Giuliano Gemma. He went on to direct the memorable Zapata western, Tepepa (1968) starring Tomas Milian and Orson Welles. Afterwards, he directed the presently obscure but well praised Night of the Serpent (1969) starring American character actor Luke Askew. His last western was another comedy, Life is Tough, eh' Providence? (1972), starring Milian. The film was successful enough to have spawned a direct sequel, not directed by Petroni.
April 17, 1921 (Rome, Italy)-
One of the most respected and important Spaghetti Western directors, Sollima brought a brand of political allegory and social commentary to the genre. Though he directed (and co-wrote) only three westerns, each one was wildly popular and regarded as masterpieces of the genre. Starting with The Big Gundown (1966), Sollima made a name for himself with his leftist messages and outlandish characters, as well as making a star out of Tomas Milian, and giving Lee Van Cleef arguably his greatest non-Sergio Leone directed western role. His next western was another hit, the psychological Face to Face (1967), starring Gian Maria Volonte and Milian. His final western was the Zapata classic, Run Man, Run (1968), a loose sequel to Gundown, again starring Milian. Sollima’s three films have landed him on hallowed ground, as he is the third leg of the esteemed group known as “The Three Sergio’s”, along with Leone and Sergio Corbucci, who together are regarded as the three greatest Spaghetti Western directors of all time. In addition to his western triumphs, Sollima also directed and co-wrote two classic Euro-clime films, Violent City (1970), and Revolver (1972).
October 11, 1926 (Genoa, Italy)- September 6, 1994 (Rome, Italy)
Tessari’s two “Ringo” films competed with Sergio Leone’s “Man With No Name" trilogy for Italian box-office supremacy, cementing him as arguably the second highest grossing Spaghetti Western director during the early days of the genre. Duccio directed and co-wrote A Pistol for Ringo (1965), which turned leading man Giuliano Gemma into an overnight sensation. Using largely the same cast and crew, Tessari quickly followed up with Return of Ringo (1965), a western with an Odyssean plot which was also hugely successful, although one can hardly consider this a sequel as the plot is unrelated to that of the first. The two classic films followed a markedly different formula from that of Leone’s westerns and proved that Leone wasn’t the only Spaghetti Western director capable of creating box-office gold during the genre’s formative years. Tessari’s contributions to the genre didn’t end there however, as he went on to direct 4 other westerns including Don’t Turn the Other Cheek (1971) and Zorro (1975), as well as sharing writing credits on 2 other westerns. Outside of the genre his best known directorial work are the Euro-Crime film Tony Arzenta (1973), and gialli The Bloodstained Butterfly (1972) and Puzzle (1974).
May 20, 1934 (Teramo, Italy)-
He spent most of his career in Sergio Leone’s shadow, but was a talented filmmaker in his own right, being involved in the making of some of the most commercially successful Spaghetti Westerns ever made. After serving as Leone’s assistant director on For a Few Dollars More (1965), he was given a chance to direct on his own, making Taste of Killing (1966). Pairing up two of the genre’s most popular stars, Lee Van Cleef and Giuliano Gemma, he then directed and co-wrote Day of Anger (1967), which was a huge financial success, and is today regarded as a classic of the genre. Continued success followed with Price of Power (1969), and A Reason to Live, A Reason to Die (1972). Valerii was commissioned by Leone to direct another classic, My Name is Nobody, pairing up Terence Hill with screen legend Henry Fonda. The film was a huge blockbuster hit, and although Leone himself directed a few scenes, Valerii was the main director. Outside of the western genre, his most well known film is the giallo, My Dear Killer (1972).
|Giuseppe Vari aka Joseph Warren
June 5, 1916 or March 9, 1924 (Italy)- October 1, 1993 (Italy)
Vari directed seven Spaghetti Westerns, several of which are considered “forgotten gems” of the genre. He first gained prominence as a film editor, helping to edit Federico Fellini’s Il Bidone (1955). Vari would later put these skills to good use during the postproduction phase of his films, editing nearly all of the films he directed. Vari turned his attention to directing Spaghetti Westerns during the golden age of the genre under the anglicized pseudonym of “Joseph Warren”. His best-known Spaghetti Western is Shoot the Living and Pray for the Dead aka Renegade Gun (1971), starring Klaus Kinski, which atypically focused more on mystery and tension than on action. He also directed Django the Last Killer (1967) and A Hole in the Forehead (1968). Two of Vari’s westerns, Degueyo (1966) and Poker with Pistols (1967) are considered lost favorites of the genre by rare film collectors, due to their current unavailability on home video. Outside of the Spaghetti Western genre, Vari’s best known directorial effort is Sister Emanuelle (1977). He also served as a second unit director of the Emmy nominated Christopher Columbus television mini-series in 1985.