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Sometimes referred to as Euro-Westerns this genre of filmmaking became extremely popular in the 1960's. Due to the increasing difficulty for Europeans to get American western films many directors started to produce their own brand of Westerns. At first, these new Westerns did not have much success. It wasn't until 1964 when Sergio Leone's Per un pugno di dollari (A Fistful of Dollars) was released that Spaghetti Westerns started to take off. Critics who thought these films were done in poor taste gave them this name. The term spaghetti was used to denote the country these films were made in. What exactly makes Spaghetti Westerns differ from American Westerns?
- These films are more violent than the American Westerns.
- They were filmed in Italy and Spain.
- Based on the Mexican border. This was done because the Mexican border land was similar to that of Spain and Italy.
- Italians associated with the film often used pseudonyms. They felt people would not watch these films if they knew they were produced in Italy.
- The villains often suffered the same punishment that they used throughout the film.
- The dramatic use of music to help build tension, which would reach a climatic finish usually a shoot out. Many feel that it is the sound track that makes these movies so popular.
Of the various differences between Spaghetti Westerns and American Westerns, the most significant and important would have to be the films sound track. The sound track is what helped make Spaghetti Westerns a very popular genre of films. One composer who came to prominence from these films is Ennio Morricone. The team of Morricone and Leone made Spaghetti Westerns an instant success.
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