What is it about Spaghetti Westerns?

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This article was originally published at The Quentin Tarantino Archives

The last weeks and months I have wondered a lot about what is it that makes Spaghetti Westerns so popular. And why is there such a resurgence in DVD sales of that genre these days? Have those audiences of '65 woken up and have they run to the videostores to watch the movies they went to see 40 years ago? All the people I've talked to who were youngsters at that time and watched those flicks on the big screen, they all just laughed when asking about them. Back then, these films were cheap ass B-flicks, and too many people still today regard them as such, while on the other hand, film buffs worldwide and cinema experts increasingly honor and recommend them.

So what's driving the companies to restore and remaster Leone films? What makes a German company release some of the least known Spaghetti Westerns on expensive digipaks? Why the hell did I open a Spaghetti Western Database website? What is it that makes that genre so interesting to film buffs?

And here are some possible answers.

Dissatisfaction with previously available home video material in that genre has driven independent and also major labels to reconsider the way the release these films to the public. The idea might be to not sell cheap films on cheap discs so that they can only be sold cheap, but to release cheap films on expensive discs so that they can be sold for a lot of money. And I guess that is a good argument. Even somebody who doesn't like Spaghetti Westerns at all would rather reach out with this hand for that great white big DVD box with Clint Eastwood on the cover than some 5-bucks disc with some screenshot-artwork on it.

The second possibility might be the fact that no other than Quentin Tarantino has, with his films, brought this genre a bit into a more upper drawer. His references to Leone, his openly expressed love for the genre, his use of Spaghetti Western soundtracks that make people want to watch and buy the films the tracks are from, all that might be a factor for DVD sales jumping a little in that director.

But also, A-grade Spaghetti Westerns that would've been re-released anyhow (for example the Leone films, Django or Sabata) are having an influence on the sales of others. So people buy this expensive Leone special edition because they want to see Clint Eastwood in a western they haven't seen yet or just some years ago on a cheap VHS tape, they suddenly realize they love the film, so they go rent or buy some more of those, ending up not only watching the popular Leone ones but digging deeper and deeper, discovering the love for the genre.

I hope these explanations that I've come up with fit on some of those who actually read them here and now. I for one, am one of those who partially came to love the genre through Tarantino and partially through watching the A-grade films of it. No matter how, I just want to say I love Spaghetti Westerns.

Now if you read this, and don't know what the fuck I am talking about, I want to invite you into the forum here and discover some of the several hundred films what people made in Italy during the 60s and 70s. All entertaining westerns, that had a huge impact on what you see in western movies today and Tarantino movies in general.

--Sebastian 17:52, 5 January 2008 (CET)

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