View Database page. A Fistful of Dollars was not the first western made in Europe by a long way. It was not even the first one made in Italy or Spain. But it was the film whose style and financial success lit the touch paper on a whole new sub genre which exploded into the sensibilities of sixties cinema goers.
Join us for TAP. In short, it was like the arrival of punk rock. San Miguel is a one-horse town that's being pulled apart by two rival families. John Baxter, the crooked town sheriff, seeks to establish his own version of law and order with support from his son, Antonio and their gang of thugs. But the Rojo Cartel - headed up by a trio of volatile brothers: Miguel, Ramon and Esteban - have their own ambitions for San Miguel and its strategic position on the Mexican border. Enter the Man with No Name Eastwood : a laconic gunslinger for hire who drifts into town and, after learning of the Baxter-Rojo feud, spots an opportunity. He plays the warring clans off against one another and turns their vendetta to his advantage - but the stranger's duplicity riles both families, and the vengeful Rojos decide to take drastic action in the battle for San Miguel.
If it wasn't for Sergio Leone's love of lengthy luncheons, the Spaghetti Western as we know it would not exist. Long lunch breaks got him fired from his second unit job on The Last Days of Sodom and Gomorrah , and temporary unemployment got him the spare time needed to start writing the screenplay that would become Fistful of Dollars. Then, in , Leone used his powerful visual style and a deathly desert setting to bring the screenplay to life and make the film that would forever define the genre. He lifted the plot from Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo , which was itself lifted from Dashiell Hammett's hardboiled crime novel, Red Harvest Although the first follows a hard-drinking detective of American noir, the second a masterless Samurai of Japanese lore, and the third a existential gunman of the Wild West, all three stories feature marksmen who, after arriving to towns in turmoil due to on-going gang wars, pit one gang against the other to bring gold to their pockets and peace to the citizens.
A Fistful of Dollars. Sergio Leone 95min. Review Our Score.