RELEASED 1964 RUNTIME 99 MIN LANGUAGE ITALIAN, ENGLISH DIRECTION SERGIO LEONE SCREENPLAY VICTOR ANDRES CATENA, JAMIE COMAS GIL, FERNANDO DI LEO, SERGIO LEONE, DUCCIO TESSARI, TONINO VALERI, ROBERT LOWELL, CLINT EASTWOOD STARRING CLINT EASTWOOD, MARIANNE KOCH, GIAN MARIA VOLONTE, WOLFGANG LUKSCHY, SIEGHARDT RUPP, JOSEPH EGGER, ANTONIO PRIETO, JOSE CALVO, MARGARITA LOZANO MUSIC ENNIO MORRICONE
A Fistful Of Dollars is an Italian Western aka Spaghetti Western starring Clint Eastwood as the Man with no name, a lone drifter who finds his way into the little Mexican border town San Miguel, to find out that two rivaling families seek control over it. Being an opportunist he smells money to be made by playing out each side against each other.
This is the one that started it all. This is where the term Spaghetti Western comes from and it stands for a wide collection of Wild West films produced in Europe, specifically by Italian film-crews and starring a variety of European actors and few Hollywood stars, such as in this case Clint Eastwood, who became a breakout star after this.
STYLE (+ QUENTIN TARANTINO)
Btw. If you are a fan of Quentin Tarantino, the term Spaghetti Western should be familiar to you. It is widely known how much of a fan he is of the genre and how much influence these movies had on his directing style.
Extreme close ups, long takes, extreme violence and dry humor are all staple characteristics of Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns that can be found in Tarantino’s movies. In fact, Tarantino regards A Fistful Of Dollars as the most important movie ever made + another one from this trilogy as the best movie ever directed (‘The Good, The Bad And The Ugly’ that is).
Furthermore, the music by Enio Morricone (who just won an Oscar for The Hateful 8 btw.) is extremely influential. He was the composer of choice for Sergio Leone and you will find many themes, not only from this movie, but other films from Sergio Leone’s filmography to be very familiar. Just check out this theme and tell me it doesn’t sound beautiful.
This movie is actually the first in a trilogy of Western films directed by Sergio Leone. It’s the so called “Dollars Trilogy” which can be very much compared to the Mad Max franchise (only that this came before).
We have a main character drifting around in a world without law, who finds himself thrown into situations that he takes advantage off to make his life and other people’s lives better or worse for that matter. Most of the time he acts out of selfishness which makes him a type of anti-hero and a badass. Also, each movie stands on its own, which very much mirrors the Mad Max films. There is no order in which you have to watch the movies.
Clint Eastwood as the man with no name is spectacular, not in terms of crazy acting skills, but his restraint and amazing screen presence. You shut your mouth when he enters the frame!
He seems very harmless, but when taking out his revolver it’s already too late. You are dead before you even heard the bullet shot. There is an amazing scene that introduces him as a badass pistolero and immediately sets the stage.
The movie is very cliche and too cool for school, but guess where the Wild West cliches came from… Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns.
Actually, they didn’t originate here, but they became cool and stylish after that.
There is a lot of revolver action and violence in the film. But you can’t help but smile when you hear the revolver fire and bullets deflecting off walls. It’s the sounds that make every Western great and the movie takes full advantage of it.
This movie has it all. Mean villains, a fucking cool-ass protagonist, dusty scenery, beautiful music, great action and clever plot. Everything that makes a Western cool is in here and I urge you to watch it.
Don’t cry over it for being so old. Of course it’s dated, since it was filmed on a low budget, but it starts off one of the best directing runs in movie history.
Sergio Leone and Enio Morricone are hailed as one of the most important cinema dream teams ever working. They created an entire genre of films that are regarded as some of the best ever made and it all started here.