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Films to See Before You Die: #91 A Fistful of Dollars

clint squint

A Fistful of Dollars (1964)

Director: Sergio Leone

Cast: Clint Eastwood, Gian Maria Volonté, Marianne Koch, José Calvo

Synopsis: A wandering gunman (Clint Eastwood) rides into a town torn by war between two rival gangs the Rojos and the Baxter’s. In order to make a strong first impression the man with no name kills four of the Baxter’s men for scaring his mule after which he is hired by the Rojo gang. While eating with the Rojos he meets their leader Ramon (Gian Maria Volonté) who is considered the towns most dangerous man with a gun. He befriends the local bar owner Silvanito (José Calvo) and also stays with him. When he learns of the woman Ramon is holding captive as his “wife” because her real husband was accused of cheating at cards. The man with no name decides to free her and her family from the town which leads to an inevitable showdown with Ramon.

Trivia: Prior to this picture, in American films, whenever a person was shot, one camera was focused on the shooter, who fired his weapon, and a split second later, the director quickly cut to the victim who could be seen being hit and falling to the ground or whatever. Clint Eastwood knew this had always been the way such scenes were shot in the States, but didn’t bother to tell Sergio Leone. Leone shot the first scene involving any kind of major violence in this picture, with the camera shooting from over Eastwood’s shoulder, as though the viewer was right there watching.

Why I think you should see this: Besides this being Clint Eastwood’s breakout role and the first film to showcase Sergio Leone’s brilliance this is just a great film. This is a precursor to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly which is considered by many to be the best western film of all time. I suggest watching each film in the series including For a Few Dollars More they are all very fun spaghetti westerns.

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About Trevor

Hi my name is Trevor and this is my blog! Films are a passion of mine. I am a total film geek. I own over 700 films and the collection is ever growing. I studied Film Studies and Scriptwriting in College. What I have learned about films is mostly self taught.

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