The first true Spaghetti Western follows the exploits of a nameless drifter (Clint Eastwood) who wanders into a town torn apart by greed, corruption, and revenge. The clever, tough-talking gunslinger then plays the town's two feuding families off each other to his own benefit. As members of each family are planted in the ground, the gold in his pockets gets heavier and heavier.
This violent remake of Akira Kurosawa's YOJIMBO made Eastwood a star, and sparked two sequels--FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE and THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY--to form what is now referred to as the Man with No Name trilogy. All three films starred Eastwood, featured Ennio Morricone's distinctive musical compositions, and were directed--in a wonderfully gritty style--by Sergio Leone. Although the film was not released in the United States until 1967, it was produced and released internationally in 1964.
Sergio Leone - Italian Director/Writer
Bob Robertson - Italian Director/Writer
Duccio Tessari - Italian Dir./Screenwriter
Roberto Cinquini - Italian Editor
Gian Maria Volonte - Italian Actor
John Wells - Italian Actor
Giorgio Papi - Italian Producer
George Papi - Italian Producer
Ennio Morricone - Italian composer, THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY (1966)
Leo Nichols - Italian composer, THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY (1966)
Dan Savio - Italian composer, THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY (1966)
Massimo Dallamano - Italian Director
Marianne Koch - Actress/"Fistful Of $"
Clint Eastwood - American actor/director, THE GOOD, THE BAD.../UNFORGIVEN
Victor A. Catena
Theatrical Release: January 18, 1967 (USA) Because A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS was filmed in Spain with a largely Italian crew, star Clint Eastwood often had difficulties communicating with others on the set. Luckily, an Italian stuntman spoke some English and was able to serve as a translator. YOJIMBO, the Akira Kurosawa film that A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS is based on, has been cited by Eastwood as one of his favorite films. Decades later, it was remade again as LAST MAN STANDING, starring Bruce Willis. The film's release was delayed for years because Kurosawa sued director Sergio Leone for breach of copyright. Kurosawa eventually won the case. This film was one of the first productions that Ennio Morricone scored. He would go on to compose music for more than 450 movies. The same poncho Clint Eastwood wears in this film was used in the two sequels without being washed or replaced. Eastwood hated the cigarillos his character smoked, which added to the gunslinger's gruff persona. Charles Bronsan, James Coburn, and Henry Fonda were all considered for the title role.
"...Leone exploits the full width of the screen in dramatically composed shots of the antagonists..." - 01/01/2001 Sight and Sound, p.65
"[T]he DOLLARS movies look nothing like any western before or since." - 05/01/2005 Uncut, p.142