A Fistful of Dollars has a classic western set up. A mysterious stranger strolls through a town, reluctantly agrees to help with a conflict, and earns a reputation. A Fistful of Dollars is what is known as a Spaghetti Western. A subgenre of Western film made by Italian filmmakers. It wasn’t a hugely successful genre, but this movie was the first one to make a huge impact. For director Sergio Leone’s extreme close-ups, drawn-out long shots, stronger performances, and Ennio Morricone’s score. The legendary Clint Eastwood stars for the first time as “The Man with No Name.” Despite being called Joe a few times (since he’s an average Joe). The goal was for his character to have no identity, and thereby, be easier to identify with. Eastwood pulls this off with his trademark stare and growl. The Stranger is best recognized by his cowboy hat, pancho, cigar, and quick precision fire on a revolver. While entering the Mexican town, he decides to make money by playing both sides of a conflict. Until it becomes more apparent which side is the true enemy. Culminating in a climax that includes a bulletproof vest. Making “The Man with No Name” one of the coolest heroes ever put to screen. Despite being not so subtly lifted from Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo. A Fistful of Dollars is still a game changer.
Followed by: For a Few Dollars More