The American West in Film and Television: The Spaghetti Westerns

“Once Upon a Time in the West,” 1968

Named for their strong association with Italian directors, this western subgenre gained prominence in the mid-1960s, when directors such as Sergio Leone, Sergio Corbucci, and Sergio Sollima churned out more than 500 films, and reinvented what had become an outdated genre. Filmed primarily in Spain, these westerns were more action-oriented than earlier American-made films and displayed an unprecedented level of violence, favoring sparse dialogue, a mix of powerful religious iconography, and musical scores that blended unconventional instruments with sound effects. Comedic westerns were introduced later in the era, but by the late 1970s the spaghetti Westerns culminated with a series of serious and melancholic films that paralleled the demise of the Italian film industry.

Arizona’s Official Western Film Historian Charlie LeSueur

This program covers the rise and fall of spaghetti westerns and highlights some of the best-known films of the genre including “A Fistful of Dollars” (1964), “For A Few Dollars More” (1965), and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966). Hosted by Arizona’s Official Western Film Historian Charlie LeSueur.

Included with museum admission; free to museum members.