A Fistful of Dollars (Per un Pugno di Dollari)

1964

A Fistful of Dollars (Per un Pugno di Dollari)

Critics Consensus

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.

98%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 48

91%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 86,686
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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 of his double play, and each thinks it is using him, but the stranger will outwit them both. The picture was the first installment in a cycle commonly known as the "Dollars" trilogy. Later, United Artists, who distributed it in the U.S., coined another term for it: the "Man With No Name" trilogy. While not as impressive as its follow-ups For a Few Dollars More (1965) and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966), A Fistful of Dollars contains all of Leone's eventual trademarks: taciturn characters, precise framing, extreme close-ups, and the haunting music of Ennio Morricone. Not released in the U.S. until 1967 due to copyright problems, the film was decisive in both Clint Eastwood's career and the recognition of the Italian western. ~ Yuri German, Rovi

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

All Critics (48) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (47) | Rotten (1)

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

  • Aug 13, 2018
    Clint Eastwood was not director Sergio Leone's first choice for the 'Man with No Name' role, but he's excellent, and a huge part of why this film is successful. He has the look of a rattlesnake in Leone's tight shots, exudes confidence and is tough, and yet he's also wryly playful. His best lines occur early on, when he calls out four men for trying to intimidate him by shooting at his mule when he rode into town. He says, "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." It's easy to see why this film and the rest of the Spaghetti Western films which shortly followed established Eastwood as a star. His poncho and thin black cigars are also iconic. Leone's direction is also strong. He creates a gritty, dark mood in this film, combines those tight shots on his actors with wide panoramas, and makes great use Ennio Morricone's music. The film was shot in Spain and has some gorgeous shots early on, but I would have loved to have seen more of them. The dialogue was clearly dubbed in afterwards, and except for Eastwood, is sometimes hard to understand. José Calvo is good as the innkeeper who befriends Eastwood, but John Wells (Gian Maria Volontè) as the main villain is just average. I was not happy that Leone had pirated Kurosawa's film Yojimbo (1961) to make this one, but tried to keep it out of my mind. It's an entertaining movie, the birth of a great collaboration between Eastwood and Leone, and seems to have been influential to the entire genre, and for all that it's worth watching.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 25, 2013
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    Directors C Super Reviewer
  • Jul 10, 2013
    A Fistful of Dollars is a genius film for its time and for all of movie history. Clint Eastwood, though the only real relevant actor in the film, carries the show on his shoulders to complete perfection, which is part of what makes him one of the greatest actors of all time. If you took the fragments of this film solely capturing his journey into the Mexican village full of violent murders capped off with facing the vicious Ramon, it would be enough on its own to make its own movie. And it would still be fantastic enough to be the classic that it is.
    Jackson W Super Reviewer
  • Sep 02, 2012
    Another great spaghetti western from the master of spaghetti westerns. This is a great start to the trilogy. In a way it's complex but not to complex. The story is about a man who stumbles upon a town in which is very dangerous. A town in which many people die. He could have just left but he stayed. Instead of helping those in need he just tries to make some money. This film features a haunting score. All of Sergio Leone's films have great scores. Although not good as much like Once Upon a Time in the West this film still satisfies. Being a western there are many gun fights in this. Towards the end we get one of the most famous and trilling gun fight. That bullet proof vest sure gets me. This does not have Clint Eastwood's best acting but he does get the job done. Sergio Leone's direction has to be the best part. He crafted a well thought out western. The writing is okay. It could have been done better. I didn't really like the plot build up. I would have liked to learn more about each character. The production values resemble those of any classic western. It gives it an authentic feel to the era. If you are a fan of western then this is a must.
    Eduardo T Super Reviewer

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