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A Fistful of Dollars (Per un Pugno di Dollari) (1964)

tomatometer

98

Average Rating: 8.1/10
Reviews Counted: 43
Fresh: 42 | Rotten: 1

With Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo as his template, Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars helped define a new era for the Western and usher in its most iconic star, Clint Eastwood.

100

Average Rating: 7.8/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 0

With Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo as his template, Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars helped define a new era for the Western and usher in its most iconic star, Clint Eastwood.

audience

91

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 83,904

My Rating

Movie Info

By the time Sergio Leone made this film, Italians had already produced about 20 films ironically labelled "spaghetti westerns." Leone approached the genre with great love and humor. Although the plot was admittedly borrowed from Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo (1961), Leone managed to create a work of his own that would serve as a model for many films to come. Clint Eastwood plays a cynical gunfighter who comes to a small border town and offers his services to two rivaling gangs. Neither gang is aware

Jun 19, 2001

MGM Home Entertainment

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All Critics (43) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (42) | Rotten (1) | DVD (8)

Once in a great while a western comes along that breaks new ground and becomes a classic of the genre.

May 23, 2011 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is a hard-hitting item, ably directed, splendidly lensed, neatly acted, which has all the ingredients wanted by action fans and then some.

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

From Clint Eastwood's iconic performance to Ennio Morricone's unforgettable (and much-parodied) musical score, A Fistful of Dollars (****) took the western down trails it had never explored.

June 22, 2006
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Though far less operatic and satisfying than Leone's later work, his first spaghetti Western with Eastwood still looks stylish, if a little rough at the edges.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Egregiously synthetic but engrossingly morbid, violent film.

May 9, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Really little more than a series of loosely connected shoot-outs -- but, as Sergio Leone proved, there can be a lot of fun in that.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: ReelViews
ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Westerns were never the same after Sergio Leone.

December 29, 2011 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

The moment where Sergio Leone, anonymous costume drama hack turned into Sergio Leone, keen stylist and poet of cruelty.

August 20, 2011 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

Guns galore in intro "spaghetti Western" serving.

December 14, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

What Leone does with this movie is boil the Western down to its very essence, removing all the extraneous parts.

July 12, 2010 Full Review Source: Three Movie Buffs
Three Movie Buffs

A deliciously ripe spaghetti western

December 31, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinemania

Very much an act of sardonic disrespect toward the genre, yet it's also a legitimate passion play

August 26, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion
CinePassion

A Fistful of Dollars may lack the mournful intensity and Shakespearian comedy of the later Leone classics, but as an action film it holds up brilliantly.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

A clever film, shot with sophistication, which ... propelled Eastwood to international stardom.

June 13, 2008 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

Awesome.

October 5, 2006
ColeSmithey.com

Though far from perfected in this film, Leone's style would mature through his next two films.

August 29, 2006 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

It's Leone's shortest and simplest film, but all of his hallmarks -- a masterly use of space within the widescreen frame, Ennio Morricone's unusual soundtrack music, plenty of silence -- are already in place.

August 14, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Leone's pulpy, trend-setting parody -- a rip-off of Kurosawa's Yojimbo -- hog-tied the Western and dragged it into the modern age, branding it with baroquely big close-ups and Ennio Morricone's famously eclectic score.

August 7, 2006 Full Review Source: Boulder Weekly

A wonderful cinematic experience.

April 23, 2005 Full Review Source: Future Movies UK

The one that started it all. A classic Western!

August 9, 2004
Juicy Cerebellum

The first and one of the best of the spaghetti westerns

August 2, 2004
Reeling Reviews

Audience Reviews for A Fistful of Dollars (Per un Pugno di Dollari)

Not quite up to its reputation, if only because Eastwood & Leone went on to make better.

All the elements are here though - cool as fuck Clint w/ his black stub cigar and his inscrutable squint - Morricone's wonderfully stark music and Leone's devastating widescreen compositions. Above all this may be the first western without a white hat It's greed, violence and death, played out in the mythic filthy Texas desert.
May 1, 2007
brooklynspo

Super Reviewer

[img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon14.gif[/img]
August 25, 2013
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

The introduction of the iconic man with no name saw Clint Eastwood catapulted to international stardom in this remake of Akira Kurosawa's masterpiece Yojimbo. Of course there's a certain irony in the fact that an Italian remake of a Japanese film shot in Spain would be the birth of the modern western, but the elements combine to fit the setting of the old west perfectly. The script has taken rather a trim in comparison, this film concentrating on machismo and gunplay rather than the more artful and character driven original; the result is that Eastwood's gunslinger comes across as more of a cynical operator than Mifune's aimless but moralistic samurai, and the build up has a brisk, almost rushed feel about it. But this film is all about the showdown at the end which, combined with Morricone's unforgettable score, is classic Leone.
June 13, 2013
garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

PER UN PUGNO, though played out at a slow pace, is an intriguing tale to watch. We are immersed into the story so easily, alongside fine direction from Sergio Leone and a superb performance by Clint Eastwood, there isn't much time to actually think about how much of a Western archetype the thematic outline is. Although an unofficial remake of Japanese actioner YOJIMBO, released three years earlier, much of the film was written in the mode of a stereotypical Western. Especially since the leading protagonist is widely considered one of the greatest characters ever brought to the silver screen, this layout isn't particularly a bad quality. The film opens with a stranger (Clint Eastwood) arriving into a petite Mexican border town called San Miguel. The man's name is said to be Joe, but this is rarely mentioned in the film, and he uses a different name in each of the two sequels; by film aficionados, he has been dubbed the "Man with No Name". The town has been torn apart by greed, revenge, and pride. During the time of the stranger's arrival, all of this has led into an apparent war between two families, the Rojos and the Baxters. Most would flee such a wretched town almost immediately, but being the fearless gunfighter that he is, the foreigner stays. Using his proficiently cunning skill, he deviously plays the two groups against each other, in a violent plot to earn...a fistful of dollars.

The ongoing praise that has been aimed at PER UN PUGNO is almost entirely agreeable. The picture is nearly half a century in age, but it still holds up as one of the most intriguing escapades ever produced; it's a close second to DIE HARD on my fictional mental list, "The Greatest (Albeit Slightly Illogical) Escapist Films Ever Conceived". Those who could overlook the illogical factors of that late '80s flick, however, aren't terribly likely to notice those hidden in this 1964 film. There is a factor, unfortunately, that makes a noticeable impact upon DOLLARI. Producers Arrigo Colombo and Giorgio Papi budgeted the film at a low $200,000 (less than $1.5 million, when adjusted for inflation), and it shows from the very beginning. The opening title sequence, designed by Iginio Lardani, would have worked well, had it not been a poorly sketched cartoon with hokey sound effects and lettering. The cinematography, though usually acceptable, also fails when attempting to abruptly change from a landscape shot to a close up; the zoom effect is a bit cheesy. On the other hand, there is one magnificently honorable success in the film's technical realm. Overlooked Italian composer Ennio Morricone, credited under the pseudonym "Dan Savio", composed an unforgettable score for the film-the kind of score such films would fail without. After it had been suggested by the director, Morricone fabricated the film's two key, innovative themes in the likeness of Tiomkin's compositions for UN DOLLARO D'ONORE (English title: Rio Bravo) and GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL, two late-'50s Westerns. It's the one technical element that progresses throughout the film as a background supporter, builds up suspense when necessary, and leads up to an unexpected conclusion.

Read the rest at themoviefreakblog.com
August 24, 2012
spielberg00

Super Reviewer

    1. The Man with No Name: You see, I understand you men were just playin' around, but the mule, he just doesn't get it. Course, if you were to all apologize...
    – Submitted by Lucas M (8 months ago)
    1. The Man with No Name: Baxter's over there, Rojo's there, me right smack in the middle.
    – Submitted by Lucas M (8 months ago)
    1. The Man with No Name: When a man's got money in his pocket he begins to appreciate peace.
    – Submitted by Lucas M (8 months ago)
    1. The Man with No Name: Get three coffins ready.
    – Submitted by Lucas M (8 months ago)
    1. The Man with No Name: I don't think it's nice, you laughin'. You see, my mule don't like people laughing. He gets the crazy idea you're laughin' at him. Now if you apologize, like I know you're going to, I might convince him that you really didn't mean it.
    – Submitted by Francis L (21 months ago)
    1. The Man with No Name: Baxter's over there, Rojo's there, me right smack in the middle.
    2. Silvanito: If you are thinking what I suspect, I tell you, don't try it!
    3. The Man with No Name: Crazy bell-ringer was right. There's money to be made in these parts.
    – Submitted by Francis L (21 months ago)
View all quotes (10)

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