Thedefinition of the word genre means a style or category of film. It is thegrouping of films that tend to share similar themes, iconography, characterplots and other factors.
A genre convention is a set of defined rules that helpan audience distinguish one genre from another, focusing in particular on whatis typical and accepted within a specific genre of film. The reason genreconventions are significant is that itgives an audience an underlying expectation that help to condition a responseto a particular film and the familiarity of a genre film promises eachspectator to be able to anticipate what will happen. They focus on the agreedexpectations that have already been established within a specific genre. TheWestern genre is one of the major defining genres of the American film industry.In essence, a Western film involves the American frontier typically set in thelate 19th century commonly featuring characters such as cowboys,out-laws, Native Americans as well as settlers in the region. According to theAmerican Film Institute, a Western film is a genre of films set in the AmericanWest that embodies the spirit, struggle and the demise of the new frontier¹.
SergioLeone’s ‘Once Upon A Time In The West’ is widely known as one of the most successfulSpaghetti-westerns ever made. Because of the success Sergio Leone’s filmmakingstyle had gained him, the term Spaghetti-western was created, coined mainly byAmerican critics as a belittling term used to describe a sub-genre of Westernfilms. These were mostly directed and produced by Italians and many foreigncritics strongly believed these were inferior to American Westerns.
Despite theWestern film being one of the most prominent and ominous genres withinHollywood, by the 1950s the industry was producing fewer Western films thanever before. The rise of popularity and interest in television within America wasthe cause of this, ultimately resulting in an influx of Westerns being producedfor the small screen. Overseas however, where television was not catching on soquickly, the demand for Western films never dwindled.