Spaghetti Westerns--The Good, the Bad and the Violent: A Comprehensive, Illustrated Filmography of 558 Eurowesterns and Their Personnel, 1961-1977 By Thomas Weisser


    I love this book, there is nothing else like it. I have read it from front to back, and back to front, twice. 498 I am of fan of Spaghetti Westerns. These are westerns made by Italian directors. They are primarily filmed in Spain, and often backed by investors or film studios from the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy.
    Many of them are very good. Many of them are bad; sometimes really really bad. Some are even Western Comedies (avoid those--Please). Some are also very very violent (Cut-throats Nine).

    Another thing to remember: Like many European horror films Spaghetti Westerns can have up to five different titles.... (personal note: somehow the two films that I have most of are God's Gun and Death Rides a Horse)

    This book provides details on all the 'Spaghetti' Westerns [okay --it's possible one was missed). Also included is a section listing all the actors, directors and composers. There is a listing of all the Django and Sartana films. Now, I made you curious.
    You see there were only two actual films with Django (see 1966's Django and a 1987 sequel). The other films have 'Django' in the title, but rarely was anyone in the film called that. The same applies to the Sartana films. It is confusing...but one gets used to it. This was often done by German Studios to 'trick' their western loving audiences to come to the movies.
    Yes, German's love Western Films. Many hundreds of (American and) Spaghetti Westerns have been re-issued by Germany on Blu-ray before even getting a proper DVD release in the USA.

    Then their are the counterfeit Italian Westerns. Those are American Westerns that seems to be Italian Westerns, but are in reality not that at all. Such films as Charro! (with Elvis!); Chato's Land; The Professionals; El Condor; High Plains Drifter; Hang 'em High and others. The book provides a list.
    Also of note is the fact is that many American actors besides Clint Eastwood appeared in Spaghetti Westerns because: they got paid. Telly Savalas; Charles Bronson, Yul Brynner; Chuck Connors (yup, he did just one); and of course Henry Fonda. Many of these were in some dang good films.

    I highly recommend this book. My edition is from McFarland Press. 498 For any Spaghetti Western fan, this is a very useful tome. There's so much information in this book that I keep it around like a bible.

    It lists the movies in alphabetical order but its most common name and gives the production/acting credits, synopsis and in most cases, a short review.

    The criticism that I have, though, is that there are few occasions where the author gives away the ending of a movie. Without a spoiler warning, this is frustrating. However, because of the number of movies listed, it's easy to forget which movie you know the ending of.

    Other negative is that for some movies, he does not give a review but just a synopsis. And for those he gives reviews of, they are often quite brief. But then here are times where he gives a long-winded synopsis but doesn't give much in the way of answering my question Should I bother tracking this movie down? It's sort of lop-sided.

    So for an informational text of (probably most of the)Spaghetti Westerns that were made, this is awesome. But as far as having a book that will let you know if you should buy a certain movie, this is lacking. When shopping for rare Spaghetti Westerns, I often have to check IMDB because this book doesn't have much in the way of reviews. Still, this is a good spring-board.

    That being said, if you love the genre, then you should get this book regardless of its flaws. There are so many movies that I've never heard of so I appreciate the author taking the time to compile the information into one place. I just am hoping for an updated edition with more reviews.

    (Note: This gets 5 stars because it is really the only one of its kind out there. Other S.W. books concentrate on only certain films so therefore this book gets a full rating on me simply based on the amount of information)

    Spaghetti Westerns--mostly produced in Italy or by Italians but made throughout Europe--were bleaker, rougher, grittier imitations of Hollywood Westerns, focusing on heroes only slightly less evil than the villains. After a main filmography covering 558 Spaghetti Westerns, another section provides filmographies of personnel--actors and actresses, directors, musical composers, scriptwriters, cinematographers. Appendices provide lists of the popular Django films and the Sartana films, a listing of U.S.-made Spaghetti Western lookalikes, top ten and twenty lists and a list of the genre's worst. Spaghetti Westerns--The Good, the Bad and the Violent: A Comprehensive, Illustrated Filmography of 558 Eurowesterns and Their Personnel, 1961-1977

    Thomas Weisser Þ 0 CHARACTERS