review for A Fistful of Dollars on AllMovie

A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
by Brendon Hanley review

The hugely influential A Fistful of Dollars launched the careers of star Clint Eastwood, director Sergio Leone, and composer Ennio Morricone. Essentially a remake of Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo, the film was one of the first low-budget, Italian-made "spaghetti westerns" to reap a significant amount of money and develop a cult following in the U.S. marketplace. Though John Ford's 1956 film The Searchers marked the of end the traditional western, Leone's "Man with No Name" trilogy ushered in a new, highly stylized version of the genre, revitalizing it in the late 1960s. Dollars and its companions, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, are raw portrayals of suffering and violence which blur the lines of good-versus-bad. Eastwood's cold, squinting, anti-hero is at the heart of the new amorality; it would be a role that would influence the rest of his career. For Leone, the trilogy would be a training ground for his masterpiece, the big-budgeted Once Upon a Time in the West. Morricone went on to become one of the most prolific, instantly recognizable composers in movie history.