Two fistfuls in fact: two $500 payments – a gigantic amount – which the Man With No Name accepts casually from either side of a bloody feud in the sunbaked Mexican town of San Miguel. He has blown in like a strange force of nature, with a coolly amoral plan to use their mutual hate to his own gunslinging advantage. Striding towards a gunfight, he tells the coffin-maker in advance how many to knock up.
This is the 1964 movie, now on rerelease, which created the revolutionary new genre of the Spaghetti Western, an Italian coproduction shot in Spain and directed with inspirational pulp passion by Sergio Leone –drawing on Kurosawa. And it made a star and a legend of Clint Eastwood. He had been the impetuous young Rowdy Yates on TV’s Rawhide, an open-faced boy with a pleasant singing voice.