Why Is It Called Spaghetti Western?

Have you ever watched a classic wild-west style movie, filled with cowboys, desert terrain, and a thrilling shootout? If so, then you may have been watching a so-called ‘Spaghetti Western’! But why is it called spaghetti western?

The term was first coined in the early 1960’s to describe the unusual influx of western-style films coming from Europe, in particular Italy. Although the genre had been around since the end of the 19th century, by the 1950’s Hollywood westerns were more popular in the USA.

But they had a stark contrast to the wild-west cinemas coming from Italy. With smaller budgets, unexpected storylines, comic-ish violence, and wild camera angles, these ‘Spaghetti Western’ movies were gaining a huge following.

Therefore, if you want to know the full story behind why these westerns were called “Spaghetti” Westerns, then keep reading!


Spaghetti western is a genre of western movies. It originated in Italy during the 1960s.

Its name is derived from the fact that these films were produced and directed in Italy by Italian filmmakers. Spaghetti western movies are renowned for their visual style, character depths, and abundance of violence. This is a definitive guide for readers to understand what the genre is and to identify why it is called spaghetti western.

What is a Spaghetti Western?

A Spaghetti Western is a subgenre of the western film, characterized by being produced as an international co-production in Europe and Italy in particular, and also characterized by its production in the Spanish language. Spaghetti Westerns first began to emerge in the 1960s.

One of the earliest examples of the genre was the 1964 Sergio Leone film A Fistful of Dollars. This film was loosely based on the 1961 Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo and featured a strong Asian influence.

The popularity of the Italian-produced spaghetti westerns began to decline in the 1970s with the rise of the visual appeal and acting of American-produced films such as True Grit. By the early 1980s, the genre had fallen out of favor and subsequently faded away.

Style of Spaghetti Westerns

Spaghetti westerns are renowned for their visual style and character depths.

These films typically featured quick-cut editing, low camera angle shots, close up zooms, rattlesnake whips, intense musical scores and lots of violence. The films included a narrative that often featured moral ambiguity, and often blurred the line between good and evil.

Such films also often included themes of revenge, justice and the rule of law. Characters were often portrayed as anti-heroes who took the law into their own hands.

Why is it called ‘Spaghetti Western’?

The term “spaghetti western” was originally used as a pejorative by movie critics when referring to any western movie that was produced in Italy. The term gained popularity in the 1970s as it became a way to recognize and differentiate between Italian-produced westerns and American-produced westerns. Today, the term spaghetti western is widely used to refer to the genre of films produced in Italy during the 1960s and 1970s. While the term is now commonly used, it still carries some negative connotations and is often meant to put Italian westerns in a disparaging light.


In conclusion, spaghetti westerns are a unique genre of western films. They are renowned for their visual style, character complexity and abundance of violence. The term spaghetti western was originally used as a pejorative, but has since become widely used in order to differentiate between Italian-produced westerns and American-produced westerns. Citation URL: https://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Spaghetti_Western https://www. indiewire. com/2018/10/what-is-a-spaghetti-western-1202000790/https://theculturetrip. com/europe/italy/articles/the-history-of-the-spaghetti-western/ https://study. com/academy/lesson/spaghetti-western-films-definition-characters-examples. html

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