With a number of westerns hitting our screens in 2018, it’s time to re-evaluate the work of Sergio Leone.
Introduction by season programmer Justin Johnson
“The West was made by violent, uncomplicated men”
Sergio Leone came from a filmmaking family, was a true cinephile and cut his teeth working on dozens of features including Ben Hur and The Nun’s Story (both 1959). He directed his first film, The Colossus of Rhodes, in 1961 before moving on to the genre that would define his career. While they may not have been the first spaghetti westerns, his Dollars films are certainly the best known – they paved the way for Clint Eastwood to break Europe and for Leone to have an enduring influence on later cinema. With hundreds of westerns coming out of Europe during the 60s and early 70s, Leone’s were some of the best; he was unafraid to go against the grain of American westerns when it came to the depiction of violence and expressing his Italian neo-realist influences.