Quentin Tarantino, a man who heavily represents modern independent filmmaking, has always openly discussed his admiration for the greats that have gone before him.
Tarantino, who is heavily influenced by the legacy founded by spaghetti western films, once said: “I’ve always said that Pulp Fiction was a modern-day spaghetti western” in reference to his most well-known film to date.
It’s clear that Tarantino’s love for Sergio Leone has heavily impacted his opinion of the genre, a filmmaker who pioneered spaghetti western’s with a series of groundbreaking films that set the tone for what was to come next. “The movie that made me consider filmmaking, the movie that showed me how a director does what he does, how a director can control a movie through his camera, is Once Upon a Time in the West,” Tarantino once wrote in The Spectator about Leones’ film. “It was almost like a film school in a movie,” he added.
Tarantino continued: “It really illustrated how to make an impact as a filmmaker. How to give your work a signature. I found myself completely fascinated, thinking: ‘That’s how you do it.’ It ended up creating an aesthetic in my mind.”
So when Tarantino was asked to compile a list of the 20 greatest spaghetti western films, it should come as little surprise that his personal selections come with four films by Leone himself.
Elsewhere the great Sergio Corbucci gets a couple of mentions as does Duccio Tessar and Giulio Petroni.
Quentin Tarantino’s 20 spaghetti western films:
- The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly – Sergio Leone, 1966
- For a Few Dollars More – Sergio Leone, 1965
- Django – Sergio Corbucci, 1966
- The Mercenary – Sergio Corbucci, 1966
- Once Upon a Time in the West – Sergio Leone, 1968
- A Fistful of Dollars – Sergio Leone, 1964
- Day of Anger – Tonino Valerii, 1967
- Death Rides a Horse – Giulio Petroni, 1967
- Navajo Joe – Sergio Corbucci,1966
- The Return of Ringo – Duccio Tessar, 1965
- The Big Gundown – Sergio Sollima, 1966
- A Pistol for Ringo – Duccio Tessari, 1965
- The Dirty Outlaws – Franco Rossetti, 1967
- The Great Silence – Sergio Corbucci, 1968
- The Grand Duel – Giancarlo Santi, 1972
- Shoot the Living, Pray for the Dead – Giuseppe Vari, 1971
- Tepepa – Giulio Petroni, 1968
- The Ugly Ones – Eugenio Martin, 1966
- Viva Django! – Ferdinando Baldi, 1967
- Machine Gun Killers – Paolo Bianchini, 1968
Adding on Leone, Tarantino said: “His movies weren’t just influenced by style. There was also a realism to them: those shitty Mexican towns, the little shacks — a bit bigger to accommodate the camera — all the plates they put the beans on, the big wooden spoons.
“The films were so realistic,” he continued before adding: “There is realism in his presentation of the Civil War in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly that was missing from all the Civil War movies that happened before him. Wild and grandiose as it was, there was never a sentimental streak.”