Sergio Leone Films

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If you want to be a filmmaker, study the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone. The man was a composition genius. Turn off the sound to any of the Eastwood Man With No Name westerns and just watch the composition of the frame. Then notice the use of extreme close ups juxtapositioned with wide shots. This was part of Leone’s unique style, but it was inspired by Kurasawa and Italian opera.

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American directors like John Ford and Stephen Spielberg are the only thing that come close to what Leone was doing in his westerns. The best way to watch Leone westerns is to turn off the sound and study the composition of each shot. The Rule of Thirds, negative space, lighter backgrounds and darker foregrounds, altering the frame of a shot, are all there. Lighting is mostly naturalistic but resembling classical painters. All this from simple action westerns.

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Each one of these movies is like a class in filmmaking. Leone defined a look that even to this day modern filmmakers pay homage to. The films are well loved by fans of action western movies and rightly so. Great story telling framed by brilliant cinematography and direction.

A Fistful of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More and The Good The Bad and The Ugly are all available on Netflix. As much as I hate the lack of westerns on Netflix, these films are gems. Watch them over and over again and learn from them.

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