Friday, August 28, 1964: Spaghetti Westerns

Directed by Sergio Leone and starring Clint Eastwood as The Man With No Name, "Per un pugno di dollari" ("A Fistful of Dollars") opens in Florence, Italy. The movie, shot in Spain, was influential in the genre that came to be known as the "Spaghetti Western." From the Spaghetti Western Database:

The spaghetti western was born in the first half of the sixties and lasted until the second half of the seventies. It got its name from the fact that most of them were directed and produced by Italians, often in collaboration with other European countries, especially Spain and Germany. The name "spaghetti western" originally was a depreciative term, given by foreign critics to these films because they thought they were inferior to American westerns. Most of the films were made with low budgets, but several still managed to be innovative and artistic, although at the time they didn't get much recognition, even in Europe. In the eighties the reputation of the genre grew and today the term is no longer used disparingly, although some Italians still prefer to call the films western all'italiana (westerns Italian style). In Japan they are called macaroni westerns, in Germany Italowestern.

* The movie's early success led to its opening in Rome on September 12, but it was not released in the United States until 1967.
* The Sergio Leone biography linked below quotes him as saying the film opened on August 27. However, he goes on to talk about the film's poor attendance on Friday (August 28) and Saturday; also, most Italian websites list the date as August 28.

* "A Fistful of Dollars" entry from Turner Classic Movies: @
* "Westerns ... All'Italiana!" (blog): @
* "Spaghetti Westerns: The Good, the Bad and the Violent" (Thomas Weisser, 1992): @
* "Once Upon A Time in the Italian West: The Filmgoers' Guide to Spaghetti Westerns" (Howard Hughes, 2004): @
* "Sergio Leone: Something to Do with Death" (Christopher Frayling, 2000): @
* "The Films of Sergio Leone" (Robert C. Cumbow, 2008): @
* www.fistful-of-leone.com: @ 

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