Sergio Leone's "Per Un Pugno Di Dollari" aka. "A Fistful Of Dollars" of 1964 could be described as one of the most important movies in the history of motion pictures. The first movie of its kind, it rose the Italian Western to an international level, and if it had not been for "Per Un Pugno Di Dollari", the great genre of the Spaghetti Westerns would probably never have become what it is.
Based On Akira Kurosawa's masterpiece "Yojimbo" of 1961, "A Fistful Of Dollars" is not a simple remake, but a masterpiece based on another masterpiece (something very rare in film history) that definitely has its very own style. There is no doubt for me that both Kurosawa and Leone are two of the most important and brilliant directors of all time. I love "Yojimbo" as I love "Per Un Pugno Di Dollari" and I could not say which one I prefer.
The movie that made the Italian Western what it is, made Clint Eastwood a star as an actor and Sergio Leone a star as a director. It also made Ennio Morricone famous, who is arguably the most brilliant film score composer of all time, and it basically created the Western Anti Hero.
A cigar smoking stranger, the Man With No Name (Clint Eastwood) comes to San Miguel, a small town in the Mexican/American borderland, which is terrorized by two rival gangs of outlaws, lead by two families, the Baxters and the Rojos. He plays the two families against each other in order to free the town (his secondary reason) and earn a lot of money (his primary reason.
Clint Eastwood's performance as the Man With No Name (Joe in the credits) is superb. I can't remember any actor who has achieved the coolness of Clint Eastwood in the Dollar Trilogy, and I don't think any actor Ever will. But Clint Eastwood is not the only one who delivers an outstanding performance in "A Fistful Of Dollars". The great Gian Maria VolontŤ plays the crazy and villainous Ramůn Rojo with brilliance, VolontŤ represents insanity and evilness equally believable and superb as Eastwood represents Coolness.The supporting cast is also great, the beautiful Marianne Koch fits perfectly in the role of Marisol, a young mother who is held captured by Gian Maria VolontŤ's character Ramůn Rojo, who is in love with her. The supporting cast furthermore includes such great Spaghetti Western actors as Mario Brega, Aldo Sambrell and Benito Steffanelli, actors who have gained fame amongst Spaghetti Western fans, for roles such as those in "A Fistful of Dollars".
It is Ennio Morricone's iconic, brilliant score that gives this movie perfection. Morricone's scores are one of the most essential things about Sergio Leone's films, see "A Fistful Of Dollars" and you'll know what I mean.
"A Fistfull Of Dollars" is a superbly directed, violent film about selfishness, greed and hatred, full of black humor and spiced up with great dialogue. A masterpiece that is only excelled by its two successors, "Per Qualche Dollaro In Piý" aka. "For A Few Dollars More" and "Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo." aka. "The Good, The Bad And The Ugly" (which is my favorite movie of all-time), "A Fistful Of Dollars" is one of the movies that, in my opinion, everybody has to see. Brilliant and timeless, "Per Un Pugno Di Dollari" is a masterpiece that seems to get better each time I see it