A Fistful of Dollars

In his own way he is, perhaps, the most dangerous man who ever lived!

Western
99 min     7.843     1964     Germany

Overview

The Man With No Name enters the Mexican village of San Miguel in the midst of a power struggle among the three Rojo brothers and sheriff John Baxter. When a regiment of Mexican soldiers bearing gold intended to pay for new weapons is waylaid by the Rojo brothers, the stranger inserts himself into the middle of the long-simmering battle, selling false information to both sides for his own benefit.

Reviews

AshJohann wrote:
Funny child acting, nonsense sense of distance, bad dubbing and weak dialogue bring down an otherwise magnificent film. A Western remake of Yojimbo, it's remarkable how such a simple story can lend itself to such a great experience. The atmosphere is built up masterfully - with stunning cinematography, striking close-ups, beautifully constructed mise-en-scene, a fantastic performance from Eastwood, Moricone's ever powerful music, and a lovely overabundance of laughing - all culminating in one of the best showdowns in cinematic history.
Venti_Pro wrote:
Even better than I remember. The story was more interesting than I remembered. The Man With No Name is more fun in this movie than I remembered. The side characters are more interesting than I remembered. My only complaints are that some of the acting and parts of the script could be better. This is really epic movie that I would not mind watching again!
r96sk wrote:
A supremely entertaining western from 1964! I will say the dubbing nature of 'A Fistful of Dollars' is a little distracting early on, but by the time the opening portion concluded I was incredibly interested in what was happening onscreen. The pacing is excellent, thanks to some very fine cinematography, great action sequences and a top notch score. Clint Westwood debuts as a leading movie star and is terrific throughout, portraying the wonderfully named J̶o̶e̶ "the Man with No Name". It's little surprise these are the films that truly made him. Away from Eastwood, I really enjoyed the trio that played the Rojo brothers - Gian Maria Volonté (aka Johnny Wels), Sieghardt Rupp and Antonio Prieto. They're just as important as the main man and play the roles superbly. Bring on the sequels!
drystyx wrote:
Leone almost single handedly destroyed the Western. But it wasn't "single handed" because he had help from the critics who were even bigger hacks than Leone was. Here, we have a movie based on Yojimbo, which is called a classic by some, though I doubt it is truly a classic. "Seven Samurai" is a classic, but not "Yojimbo". Still, "Yojimbo" is better than this, because too much is lost in translation here. It's a thoroughly unmotivated movie about totally unmotivated characters. The only interesting bit in here is a quip about the equine that No Name (Eastwood) rides. Well, that's because the equine is the ONLY interesting and credible character in the entire movie. Somehow, No Name thinks he can massacre what appears to be at least fifty gunmen without a scratch, yet he says at the end he doesn't take risks. It's just a bunch of killing and shooting and noise with no motivation. For "bang per buck", it's one of the poorest payoffs ever. Only "The Wild Bunch" scores a worse "bang per buck" than this with its dullness for all the gun play. When the dollar trilogy came out, only the crack heads and total dope heads thought it was cool, so the critics placated them. Now, those people are in authority, God help us, and have fooled following generations into the idea that this garbage is "classic". Talk about the emperor's new clothes, we see it illustrated here.
CinemaSerf wrote:
With barely enough cash to buy a drink, drifter "Joe" (Clint Eastwood) rides into a small, pretty war-torn town near the US/Mexican border. He makes friends with the bar owner "Silvanito" (José Calvo) and pretty quickly finds himself drawn into the brutal quarrelling between "Baxter" (Wolfgang Lukschy) and his nemesis "Rojo" (Gian Maria Volonté). When he kills a few of the former man's troops, it's the brother of the latter who offers him a job. Turns out that "Joe" is a bit more shrewd than that though, and so he decides that the best solution is the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend - he can divide, sit it out a bit, and conquer - with considerable riches to be gained if his admittedly quite dangerous manipulation can succeed. Clint Eastwood is a fine exponent of the less is more style of acting. His expressions, his eyes, even his distinctive gait allow the character to develop effortlessly as this story takes a route that isn't as predictable (or easy) as you might expect. The supporting cast also work well to epitomise a small-town, brutal and venal mentality with plenty of action and hysterical laughter to keep the story moving along to a classic Morricone score set amongst the grubby and basic adobe homes. Sergio Leone does not feel the need to drag this out for hours - it's an almost perfectly paced piece of nasty, gripping, cinema that is really well worth a watch on a big screen if you can.

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