Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Fistful of Dollars (1964) Review

Director: Sergio Leone
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Gian Maria Volonte
Genre: Spaghetti Western

The first part of Sergio Leone's Dollars trilogy, aka The Man With No Name trilogy, all of which feature the bad-ass, pistol wielding Clint Eastwood.

The plot is...well the plot is exactly the same as Akira Kurosawa's earlier released Yojimbo. This film was actually an unofficial remake of Yojimbo, and there was a lot of legal troubles that followed. Not only was the plot lifted from Yojimbo, but many of the characters, scenes, dialogue, and more were as well. Seriously, watch these two films back to back and the similarities are staggering.

But it's hard to call this a shameless rip-off, because it really is a great film that is highly enjoyable to watch.

First off the acting by Clint Eastwood is amazing and so is the character he plays. Sure, Toshiro Mifune in Yojimbo was an extremely bad-ass and well acted character too, but Clint manages to be just as cool, if not cooler. They essentially are the same character...because it's essentially the same movie. Mysterious, skilled with their weapons, silent, tobacco always in mouth.

This is the first film to feature Clint Eastwood as the bad-ass cowboy we've all come to know and love. I can not say it enough, Clint Eastwood as the man with no name is one of the coolest things ever put on the big screen. Best film persona ever. I could recommend this film based solely off of Clint Eastwood. Luckily there's more to the film than that.

Sergio Leone is a very talented director, as he went on to prove even more later on in his career. He shows off some very unique cinematography and camera work, with thrilling angles and interesting scenes. You can't count on two hands the number of memorable scenes in this film. 

The soundtrack fits perfectly. It's very memorable, composed by the great Ennio Morricone. It's a soundtrack so good I have it downloaded onto my iPod. The finest examples I can think of of a perfect soundtrack are the three films in this trilogy.

So it's hard to denounce this film because it ripped of from Yojimbo. But I wouldn't call it a rip-off, that's too harsh. A re-telling? No. A re-skin? Yeah, a re-skin. It successfully took a story of a samurai in Japan and moved it to a story of a cowboy in Mexico. But if you still insist on calling this a rip-off than so be it, but in that case this is the greatest fucking rip-off ever made. And though both are spectacular films, and I actually gave them both the same rating, if it came down to it I'd go with this over Yojimbo.

+Great characters and acting
+Amazing soundtrack
+Memorable scenes
+Good cinematography
-Ripped off most of its ideas from Yojimbo

Purchase A Fistful of Dollars on Amazon: Blu-Ray - DVD - Stream

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