The Ostern (Eastern) or Red Western (also known as "Borscht Western") was the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries' take on the Western. The term refers to two related genres:
- Proper Red Westerns, set in America's 'Wild West', such as Lemonade Joe ( Czechoslovakia, 1964), or the East-German The Sons of Great Bear (1966) or The Oil, the Baby and the Transylvanians ( Romania, 1981), or A Man from the Boulevard des Capucines (USSR, 1987), involving radically different themes and genres. These were mostly produced in Eastern European countries like East Germany and Czechoslovakia, rather than USSR.
- Easterns (Osterns), set usually on the steppes or Asian parts of the USSR, especially during the Russian Revolution or the following Civil War. Examples of these include The Elusive Avengers (1966) and its two sequels, White Sun of the Desert (1969), Dauria (1971), At Home among Strangers (1974), The Burning Miles (1957), The Bodyguard (1979), and The Sixth (1981). While obviously influenced by Westerns, Easterns form a specific genre. The word "Ostern" is derived from the German word Ost, meaning "East".
Red Westerns of the first type are often compared to Spaghetti Westerns, in that they use local scenery to double up for the American West. In particular, Yugoslavia, Mongolia and the Southern USSR were used. Some of the East German films were called Sauerkraut Westerns.