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A Fistful of Dollars (1964)

Per un pugno di dollari (original title)
A wandering gunfighter plays two rival families against each other in a town torn apart by greed, pride, and revenge.

Director:

Writers:

(story) (as A. Bonzzoni), (story) | 4 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Joe
...
...
Ramón Rojo (as John Wells) (as Johnny Wels)
Wolfgang Lukschy ...
John Baxter (as W. Lukschy)
Sieghardt Rupp ...
Esteban Rojo (as S. Rupp)
Joseph Egger ...
Piripero (as Joe Edger)
Antonio Prieto ...
José Calvo ...
Silvanito (as Jose Calvo)
Margarita Lozano ...
Consuelo Baxter (as Margherita Lozano)
Daniel Martín ...
Julián (as Daniel Martin)
Benito Stefanelli ...
Rubio (as Benny Reeves)
...
Chico (as Richard Stuyvesant)
Bruno Carotenuto ...
Antonio Baxter (as Carol Brown)
...
Rojo gang member (as Aldo Sambreli)
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Storyline

An anonymous, but deadly man rides into a town torn by war between two factions, the Baxters and the Rojo's. Instead of fleeing or dying, as most other would do, the man schemes to play the two sides off each other, getting rich in the bargain. Written by Andrew Hyatt <dres@uiuc.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

This is the man with no name. Danger fits him like a glove. See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Western

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

|

Release Date:

18 January 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Fist Full of Dollars  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$200,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$3,500,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was at first intended by Sergio Leone to reinvent the western genre in Italy. In his opinion, the American westerns of the mid- to late-1950s had become stagnant, overly preachy and not believable. Despite the fact that even Hollywood began to gear down production of such films, Leone knew that there was still a significant market in Europe for westerns. He observed that Italian audiences laughed at the stock conventions of both American westerns and the pastiche work of Italian directors working behind pseudonyms. His approach was to take the grammar of Italian film and to transpose it into a western setting. See more »

Goofs

While our hero is preparing his custom bullet proof vest, the sound of the rasp doesn't match his movements. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Joe: Mmh. Well, guess your government will be glad to see that gold back.
Silvanito: And you? You don't want to be here when they get it, eh?
Joe: You mean the Mexican goverment on one side? Maybe the Americans on the other side? Me right smack in the middle? Uhn-hn. Too dangerous. So long.
Silvanito: Adios.
See more »


Soundtracks

Sweet Betsy from Pike
(uncredited)
Written by John A. Stone
Performed by Clint Eastwood
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The Star Wars of westerns...
22 September 2001 | by (Southern Hemisphere) – See all my reviews

When Per un pungo di dollari, or A Fistful Of Dollars, was released in the mid-1960s, the term "Spaghetti Western" was coined as a putdown to these brazen new films that dared to recreate the Wild West in a place as far away as Italy. However, the last laugh was shared by the Italian directors, whose new style of portraying Colonial America in a realistic style rather than the romanticised way that was characteristic of John Wayne and his contemporaries will be remembered long after the films of the romanticised style are no more.

The plot is indescribably simple, as Clint Eastwood simply wanders into a town where gang warfare has stripped the economy to the point where only the local undertaker makes a profit and turns the two warring families against one another. Sergio Leone's best-known trademark, his dynamic use of widescreen ratios, comes to the fore here as Clint shares a film frame with no less than four of his enemies, all of whom have plenty to say to him and vice versa. This is one film where a pan and scan transfer is purely and simply vandalism. Some of the dialogue that is included here absolutely takes the cake for cleverness and wit, too. Asking four gunslingers to apologise to a horse, well, if it wasn't a man as famous for playing a gunslinger as Clint Eastwood, it'd be ridiculous.

Transplanting old Samurai legends into the Wild West works well, as you can see here. Simply having an old mercenary who travels the land in search of wrongs to right and battles to be fought makes the story a lot more compelling than the Westerns where we are told every iota of the characters' motivations in the hope that it will give them some depth. The element of the main hero not getting involved in every scuffle that the bad guys cause, our semi-nameless hero's ignoring a drunken thug shooting at a little boy being the most obvious example, was another master stroke, one that got Eastwood involved in doing the film to begin with. The confrontation at the end of the film works well, too, with pyrotechnics exploding all over the picture in a bright display that keeps the film powerful and yet focused at the same time.

All in all, Per un pungo di dollari gets nine out of ten from me. The lack of any interesting support characters does dull the story a little, but this mistake was quickly rectified in the two sequels. The addition of Lee Van Cleef also worked well, but in this effort, it's all Clint Eastwood, and while the rest of the cast are nowhere near as interesting, it's all a better watch than anything the Americans were lumping out at the time.


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Recent Posts
Fistful...the middle of the trilogy? shukocarl79
A few plot questions that didn't make sense porkfat
They should do one more! black_blade001
Does Joe (the man with no name) have any honour? adamf2326
spinning the chamber? cellery
The Trilogy - What's the story's chronological order? adamsherf
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