When I've watched DVDs of Sergio Leone's "Spaghetti Westerns", such as A Fistful of Dollars and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, I've had the option to choose soundtracks in either English or Italian. Both soundtracks seem to have been recorded by the original cast, and it isn't clear whether one or the other matches the actors' lips.

Which language is preferred for these films?

Did Leone consider one of the soundtracks to be the "official" dialogue and the other merely a translation? Did he supervise one of the recordings more closely? Have critics expressed a preference?

I don't speak Italian, but I'd rather hear the Italian dialogue with subtitles if it's closer to the director's intent.

2 Answers 2


I'm afraid there is no "single original language". Actors performed using each one their own original language and then the movie was dubbed in the countries as necessary: in Italy, the English and Spanish actors, in the U.S. the Spanish actors and so on. Not even in the Italian version the lips are always synced so it's the same situation for everyone.

You can just watch it both in English and Italian. As far as the director's intent is concerned, so far I've found nothing that has been explicitly said by Sergio himself about this.


Every Italian movie in those years was dubbed: it was difficult to catch up the sounds and the voices with contemporary tecniques and directors cared more about the movies itself than the actors' voices. Each actor performed using his own voice and language and the movies were then dubbed (and not always synced).

As far as it is known no language is preferable, you can either watch it in Italian or English (there aren't puns you can't understand in one language or other). Also, maestro Sergio Leone never spoke about this.

  • To this day for Italian TV, it's still unremarkable to shoot a movie/TV show in English/American if that's the 'intended ' language, then dub back to Italian. The original English version is never intended for broadcast.
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 24, 2017 at 4:34

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