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Worth A Look: 41.38%
Just Average: 8.62%
Pretty Crappy: 1.72%
Sucks: 1.72%

2 reviews, 46 user ratings

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Fistful of Dollars, A
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by Slyder

"The western revolution begins here"
4 stars

Nobody ever thought of it. Nobody, not even the most respected western directors in the business like John Ford or Howard Hawks, thought that such a mediocre bunch of crap B-movies produced by Italian guys which Americans called “Spaghetti Westerns” would move past the drek status they had and certainly challenge any of the values that the traditional westerns these people made. Nobody saw the enormous potential of it all until two people suddenly appeared out of nowhere in 1964 and that old western world suddenly turned upside down.

The debunking of the western myth had already started back with Fred Zinneman’s landmark 1952 masterpiece High Noon and John Ford’s 1956 classic The Searchers, but the revisionist western would not start until 1964, when Italian director Sergio Leone and a then Hollywood reject named Clint Eastwood suddenly appeared with A Fistful of Dollars. When released, American audiences saw something they’ve never seen before: poor, dusty, fucked-up towns full of really mean Mexican pistoleros and American gunfighters and the struggling peasants and widows in between. Then out of nowhere appears a man with no name (Eastwood) wearing black jeans, serape, brown hat and a squinting look while he smokes a cigar.

As we watch the movie all the way down to it’s conclusion we end up admiring the hell out of this man with no name (he’s later called Joe by two of the people he makes friends with) simply because he’s more intelligent and also less brutal than the other rivaling clans (Americans being the Baxters, and the Mexicans being the Rojos) whom are ruthless savages. He ends up working with both sides simply for money and only when one of them crosses the line does he finally come out blasting. Only once does he do something that is right but simply because he can’t help but relate to something that hit close to home.

This film established the legendary Sergio Leone’s career as well as his trademark of operatic stand-offs, extreme close-ups and subjective POV shots, and a dark cynical storyline which blurs the lines of good and evil as well as the lavish score of Ennio Morricone whom also established his career with this movie. The setting looks so realistic that one finds it hard to believe that they shot this film in Spain.

As good as this film is though, you can’t help but notice that Leone borrowed much of the storyline from Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo (Kurosawa sued and prevented the film from being released until 1967), plus the fact that while the film looks impressively realistic, it also tends to look way too cheap for it’s own good, and the main characters are cartoonish and one-sided. The acting is a bit jarred due to the fact that the film was dubbed (obviously) but there are a couple of standouts, notably Gian Maria Volonte as Ramon Rojo who’s the leader of the Rojos and is the meanest fuck in the whole movie, but this is Eastwood’s vehicle, and despite the fact that he goes with the flow, that squinting look and his ability with the trigger make up for it like 200%.

As it is, A Fistful of Dollars marks the beginning of a trilogy which would change the face of westerns over time. But it was only the beginning, and this film isn't a masterpiece, since it has enough flaws to leave it as just a really good movie. But a landmark had been set, even if back then everybody refused to see it, and who knew it would get better and change the course of the western with each passing movie? In a word: Nobody. 4-5

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=1388&reviewer=235
originally posted: 03/17/05 16:16:11
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User Comments

11/11/12 Keith Miron Pretty good western, eventho im not a big fan of westerns 3 stars
9/13/12 darlene tisdale An enjoyable leone western. 5 stars
8/26/12 roscoe hideously boring 2 stars
1/29/11 action movie fan slow starting spagettii western redee,ed by good action later on ok but hannie calder bette 3 stars
12/07/07 Screwball Awesome start to finish. 5 stars
9/27/07 mr.mike worth it mostly for historical value 4 stars
3/06/07 David Pollastrini not bad for a spaghetti western 4 stars
9/23/06 Franklin A. Changed the landscape not only for westerns but film as a whole. 5 stars
1/15/06 R.W.Welch Gritty, hyper-violent oater makes up in style what it lacks in believability. 4 stars
8/24/05 Eden Seems weak after GBU but a very good film 5 stars
3/24/05 Carolyn Rathburn Old west hero style, liked it, good guys don't always wear white 4 stars
3/21/05 Kevin Rose Another great Eastwood movie. 5 stars
3/20/05 Chris Stephens Clint rocks 5 stars
1/20/05 Eddie clint eastwoods legendary "Man With No Name" was powerfully carried on in this movie GREAT 5 stars
12/01/04 Reocka seltya Didn't like the movie 1 stars
4/08/04 kevin watts spagetti classic,good flick 4 stars
2/28/04 alien assasin Powerful stuff. Heaps better than Costner's "Dances with Wolves" extravaganza !!! 5 stars
2/21/04 john bale Starting the series of quality violent/humourous Westerns with cool gunslinger Clint 4 stars
12/19/03 Duck Alum More than a good movie ... an experience. 5 stars
12/03/03 Agent Sands (previously Mr. Hat) One of the very best westerns. Great heroes & nasty villains. 5 stars
11/28/03 john unbelievable for a no-budget movie - very stylish film 5 stars
11/13/03 Devon Beck Poses a different and intriguing perspective of the hero and movie violence 3 stars
1/23/03 Andy Bronson it's almost a shot for shot remake of yojimbo only yojimbo's better 3 stars
1/08/03 Seppo One of the best westerns! Great score 5 stars
12/27/02 spacecowboy-00x SWEEET! I LOVED IT! 5 stars
11/16/02 Soggy Bottom Boy Great atmosphere, overall quality spaghetti western. But not quite at the level of GB&U. 5 stars
10/23/02 Charles Tatum Dry but good 4 stars
9/27/02 Tom Fleeman Clint write the fucking book on old west tough guy movies. 5 stars
12/27/01 Jeff An awesome atmosphereic film with a great score. 5 stars
12/15/01 Jeff Ultra atmospheric, memorible music score, great action, and a great movie. 5 stars
11/02/01 R.W. Welch High body count Western, chiefly distinguished by Eastwood portrayal. Has a certain style. 4 stars
8/21/01 bdf20 top notch western 5 stars
7/28/01 Henry Ginsberg I don't like westerns much ,but this movie ruled . 5 stars
6/26/01 AgentX Do some research yourself - FOD was released in 1964. Trinity arrived in 1970. 5 stars
4/26/01 Dan The climax of Fistfull is infinetly better then Yojimbo's. A amazing western. 5 stars
3/28/01 fifu awsome movie Eastwood made the tough guy additude 5 stars
1/14/01 Harvey Colley The first of the Triology, and the 3rd best movie ever made. 5 stars
11/27/00 Cristopher Revilla good flick 4 stars
10/08/00 Mickey E. Suttle One of the best Westerns ever, cowhands!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
9/26/00 Terrie Smith Good version of the Japanese classic; Morricone's score a highlite. 4 stars
5/19/00 tank Fine remake of Yojimbo (1961) and the beginning of a legend. 4 stars
6/14/99 Dylan Best of the trilogy. 4 stars
5/25/99 JonnyAngel Damn it's gritty, you can almost taste the dust. 5 stars
11/27/98 Christ Monkey Fans of this film- join me in a letter writing campaign to have Warner put it back in print 5 stars
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  18-Jan-1967 (R)

  11-Jun-1967 (15)

  15-Feb-2004 (MA)

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