Last month I was honoured to be invited by the Spaghetti Western Database to list my Top 20 Spaghetti Westerns. The SWDB is one of my favourite websites and if you’re a fan of westerns European-style it is worth checking in periodically for news on its main page and forum. I find it very useful for keeping up-to-date on news and reviews on DVD and Blu-ray releases. It’s particularly good on releases like Koch Media’s ‘Westerns Unchained’ series, which includes such titles as Navajo Joe and Tepepa. Koch’s release of Duccio Tessari’s A Pistol for Ringo is the definitive edition of the film in my opinion (in the correct 2.35:1 widescreen ratio) and I was also very pleased with their release of the rather more obscure spaghetti western, Sugar Colt (as Rocco – Der Mann mit den zwei Gesichtern). American DVD company Wild East are also featured regularly on the SWDB and have released spaghettis such as Kill them All and Come Back Alone, Fort Yuma Gold and Day of Anger in superior widescreen, uncut editions. The Wild East Day of Anger is definitive and a must-have for collectors, though unfortunately, as they say, it’s currently ‘widely unavailable’ on DVD.
Of the 500+ spaghetti westerns made in the genre’s heyday, I would say that perhaps 80-100 are definitely worth viewing. As a completest though, I’m currently up to about 350 and counting, and even after that number I’m still finding some surprises. Having seen so many however, I’d like to think I know a good one when I see one. For my Top 20, I was naturally drawn to the big directors and films of the genre, with Sergios Leone, Corbucci and Sollima featuring prominently, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is top of the list.
The other ‘Dollars’ films, Django, The Great Silence and The Big Gundown are among my perennial favourites, but I also included a second Top 20, the B-team, of worthwhile movies. It also struck me how many films still hadn’t made the cut after 40 titles. These included Johnny Hamlet, Blindman, The Stranger Returns, $10.000 Blood Money, For the Taste of Killing, Ben and Charlie, El Desperado, Massacre at Fort Holman (A Reason to Live, A Reason to Die), No Room to Die, Tepepa, Ace High (Revenge at El Paso), Today it’s Me…Tomorrow You!, Light the Fuse Sartana’s Coming, The Fighting Fist of Shangai Joe, The Forgotten Pistolero, Vengeance, Black Jack, The Five Man Army, Man of the East, Minnesota Clay, Last of the Renegades, The Specialists, The Bounty Killer, The Grand Duel, Gatling Gun, the list goes on…and so does the collecting.
You can check out the Spaghetti Western Database here: http://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/Main_Page
My Top 20 Spaghetti Westerns on the SWDB is here: http://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/Howard_Hughes%27_Top_20
There’s more about the films on my lists in my books Once Upon a Time in the Italian West: the Filmgoers’ Guide to Spaghetti Westerns and the Kamera Guide to Spaghetti Westerns.