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A Fistful of Dollars (1964)


Duration 1h 39m Rating (UK) X
Source of story A European version of a japanese film “Yojimbo” by Akira Kurosawa
Director Sergio Leone
Writers/Script Victor Andres Catena, Jaine Comas Gil, Sergio Leone
Starring Clint Eastwood, Marianne Koch, Gian Maria Votontè, Joe Egger

Elevator Pitch: A an unnamed man rides into the town of San Miguel and when challenged by a number of gunmen, shoots them down. He finds that the town is divided between two groups of gangsters and determines the use his skill to make money from both.  He is helped by the owner of a run down saloon, and attracted to the wife of a local who is used as a pawn by the gangs. His involvement with both eventually result in his need to confront the leaders of the gangs head on.

Content: Even the IMDb Content Advisory could find nothing sexual in this outing. There are a number of gunfights during which the man with no name shoots a lot of people. The two families have a number of shootouts as well one family finally besting the other by setting fire to their house. At one point our heroes observe an ambush where one of the gangs shoot down a bunch of Mexican soldiers with a machine gun.

A View: This film is so famous that it would seem lacking in respect even to have a view, but I do. I have seen it a number of times, the last in Spanish or Italian, not that it mattered. If anything it is a bit over simplified, and it took another couple of films before Clint Eastwood had really got to grips with the character, so this movie is almost a rehearsal for what was to follow over the next couple of decades, in my view concluding with “Pale Rider” in 1985. So there it is, made for $200,000, earning many millions, and essential viewing for everyone interested in movie history.

Additional Info: This was the first of the “Spaghetti Westerns” made in Spain rather than in California. Hoyo de Manzanares, which stood in for the main street of San Miguel is just down the road from where I live now.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


3 thoughts on “A Fistful of Dollars (1964)

  1. It’s a great movie, but we should be fair and admit that it’s a remake of Yojimbo by Kurosawa (who sued Leone and his producers as soon as this movie came out). At the end Kurosawa obtained a lot of money from this, and rightly so!

    Posted by Sam Simon | June 12, 2020, 2:53 pm


  1. Pingback: One-Eyed Jacks (1961) | A MOTION PICTURE LIST - March 21, 2022

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