Clint Eastwood's legendary "Man With No Name" makes his powerful debut in this thrilling, action-packed "new breed of western" (Motion Picture Herald) from the acclaimed director of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and For a Few Dollars More. Exploding with blistering shootouts, dynamic performances and atmospheric cinematography, it's an undisputed classic of the genre. A mysterious gunman (Eastwood) has just arrived in San Miguel, a grim, dusty border town where two rival bands of smugglers are terrorizing the impoverished citizens. A master of the "quick-draw,"the stranger soon receives offers of employment from each gang. But his loyalty cannot be bought; he accepts both jobs...and sets in motion a plan to destroy both groups of criminals, pitting one against the other in a series of brilliantly orchestrated setups, showdowns and deadly confrontations.
A Fistful of Dollars
launched the spaghetti Western and catapulted Clint Eastwood to stardom. Based on Akira Kurosawa's 1961 samurai picture Yojimbo
, it scored a resounding success (in Italy in 1964 and the U.S. in 1967), as did its sequels, For a Few Dollars More
and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
. The advertising campaign promoted Eastwood's character--laconic, amoral, dangerous--as the Man with No Name (though in the film he's clearly referred to as Joe), and audiences loved the movie's refreshing new take on the Western genre. Gone are the pieties about making the streets safe for women and children. Instead it's every man for himself. Striking, too, was a new emphasis on violence, with stylized, almost balletic gunfights and baroque touches such as Eastwood's armored breastplate. The Dollars
films had a marked influence on the Hollywood Western--for example, Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch
--but their most enduring legacy is Clint Eastwood himself. --Edward Buscombe