on May 2, 2000
Astonishing remake of Akira Kurosawa's YOJIMBO, FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, directed by italian director Sergio Leone, deserves to be in every movie lover's library. In Toshiro Mifune's role, Clint Eastwood gave a performance that established him as one of the greatest american star of the next forty years.
With an international cast of german, italian, spanish and american actors, FISTFUL OF DOLLARS could have been only an ordinary B-movie of the early 60's. On the contrary, this movie has become the symbol of the revival of a dying Hollywood genre - the western - and will be followed by dozens of imitations until the definitive burial of the genre by Clint Eastwood with the masterpiece UNFORGIVEN.
The villain, played by Gian-Maria Volontè, is so terrific that Sergio Leone will hire this wonderful italian actor to play the role of Indio, the bad guy of FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE, with the result we all know.
I was a little bit anxious before playing the DVD ; the bad quality of the image of FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE was still on my mind. But, don't worry - be happy, the copy was in almost perfect state and the transfer well done. Subtitles and a trailer as bonus features.
A DVD for your library.
on May 1, 2000
I remember not long ago, there was a time when westerns made me gag... In my eyes, if John Wayne defined this genre, not a single film was worth watching.... Then I saw "High Plains Drifter" and I was TOTALLY BLOWN AWAY (nice pun, huh?)...... I fell in love with the Clint Eastwood western, and he became my Western Icon. I HAD to watch the Man With No Name trilogy that I had heard so much about... and I was NOT dissapointed....
If you are a true film lover, and if you appreciate film as the artisitic form of expression that it is, then you love the Man with No Name trilogy with every fiber of your being, and it's opening chapter, "A Fistful of Dollars" will grab you by your neck and draw you into the world of Sergio Leone "spaghetti" westerns.
Eastwood is the aesthetic hero, the existential wanderer motivated by pure self-interest...but he has his own code of honor which he upholds... He is the reincarnation of every solitary warrior that has ever ridden in every age of history. And with his entrancing and supremely fatal skill, he leads us through the desolate landscape of the REAL American frontier; This time we're entrenched in a feud between two rival gangs in a small Mexican ramshackle border village known as San Miguel. As the shopkeeper says "Every woman is a widow"...the only people with jobs are the bell-ringer, who tolls for the dead, and the eccentric old coffin-maker.... Gian Maria Volonte is superb as the murderous Ramon, a person who must have been typical in his day.
This hypnotic film will make you drool for it's sequels, "For a Few Dollars More" (my favorite of the three) and "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly". It is a true landmark film, unlike anything you have ever seen. Even the title sequence is enticing!
DVD Verison: While the picture quality is far superior to any VHS version, and I imagine, even better than the picture quality of the original theatrical release, it's still not up to par with more modern films. It's the best you can get from this film, though (remember, it was very low-budget!)
As for the sound, it is quite bad when compared to other DVDs. But again, that's the low-budget of the original sound on the original version. But I imagine that this is the best you can get out of the sound quality for this film.
It certainly doesn't take away from your film experience, though!
on February 15, 1999
You can still purchase both Sister Act movies, yet as of this review, Fistful of Dollars is still unavailable to the quality movie buying public. Oh well, we've still got Whoopi! Give me a break. One could only dream that it was Whoopi or any of her "nun too funny" cohorts who had laughed in Clint's face when he asked for an apology to his mule. Undoubtedly they would have met with the same fate that befell those five (not four!) snickering cowpokes, and anyone else who was foolish enough to cross paths with "The Man With No Name" in the first of the Leone "Dollars" trilogy. Contemporary audiences who fall over themselves for a chance to watch a Tarantino flick may first wish to view one of these masterpieces for an original treat in violence, humor, and style. While they're at it, they might as well check out the mesmerizing original score by renowned film composer Ennio Morricone. The film that catapulted Eastwood to international superstardom still stands as a visionary masterpiece, and patterned many an Eastwood character to follow. So on May 4th, ride, don't walk to your local video retailer (or amazon.com) and pick up a copy of this five-squint flick!
on May 20, 2004
I am a HUGE fan of Kurosawa and Leone. Both directors are quite unique and breakthrough. This film is not loosely based on Kurosawa's "Yojimbo" it's almost Scene for scene! just watch the opening of both films and you'll see how similar they are! Leone decided to pay homeage to "Yojimbo" with this film and it shows. Its NOT a rip off but pays homeage in the way it should be! I don't look at this film as my "favorite" because there are two more in the series and it feels more like one big film starting with this and moving to "For a few dollars more" and finishing with "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly". Each film is watchable alone but one after the other makes them all the more enjoyable. This is a classic film in every way, the acting, the directing and cinematography. Some deem this a "cheapo film" but just because it was low budget doesn't mean its not fantastic! Its a classic and incredible in EVERY way!
on June 9, 2004
The film that catapulted Clint Eastwood to worldwide fame is a western classic and an enjoyable adventure, a European oater that packs a wallop. The dialogue is spare, the dubbing leaves a lot to be desired and the plot of feuding families here is a bit stilted and contrived but the story has pace and excitement, plenty of gun-play and Eastwood's lighting-fast draw. The rugged scenery of southern Spain adds to the film's beauty and there's a nice build-up towards the explosive climax when Eastwood's "man with no name" reappears to settle old scores. This western makes use of sweaty close-up shots, gritty facial expressions and has large doses of violence that were not often seen in oaters. Ennio Morricone's music score is a flavorful accompaniment to the movie and is a departure from the traditional music cues that were used in western films. This picture raised the bar for the many "spaghetti westerns" that followed during the next few years.
on February 28, 2000
I am a fan of Clint Eastwood and I really liked this movie. The story is based on the samurai film by Akiro Kurosawa, "Yojimbo," which was adapted as a Western and made into this movie. Eastwood plays a lone gunfighter/bounty hunter who gets involved in a dispute between two warring families and plays both sides for his own personal gain. The bad guys are great, especially Gian Maria Volonte, as the main villain. The last fifteen minutes are really classic, in the climactic showtown between the Man with No Name and the villains. The music by Ennio Morricone is also great. The only drawback of this movie is that the gun battles are rather cartoonish and there is no sign of blood on the victims who are shot.
That aside, I enjoyed this movie. If you are a fan of Westerns and of Clint Eastwood, you would really like this movie. This is the first of the "Man with No Name" trilogy.
on August 9, 2000
From the opening gun battle (get three coffins ready) - (my mistake, four coffins) to the final showdown with Ramone, this movie rattles along, never losing pace. It serves as a prequel to "For a Few Dollars More" and "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" and its status as a prototype shows in the way that Leone has yet to perfect his extended set-piece battles and the build up of scenes to such an extent that they only just fall short of the ludicrous. This serves as the (very good)opening chapter, the later installments being near perfect. Without the later films, this would be the bottom line in western adventures. It is through no fault of this film that it is overshadowed by its own sequels, but it is, and it suffers because of it. A major gripe, however, is the almost complete lack of extras on the DVD.If you own the others, buy this to complete the set. If you don't, buy them first.
on November 24, 2001
Often times when I watch a film that has been "reimagined" from a previous one, I lose interest within the first few scenes. That was not the case with "Fistful of Dollars". Having "Yojimbo" and "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" as two of my favorite films, I wasn't sure what to expect from this movie. I was nicely rewarded with my expectations being met, as well as pleased by how FoD kept my interest throughout. The styling of Sergio Leone that I love so much was present throughout the film. The story from Akira Korusawa's film was changed in such a way that it both held my interest and I didn't feel put off or disjointed by the changes. There are far more in depth reviews available here, so I'll simply end by saying that if you like the Clint Westerns, I highly recommend this film. Also, of course, you MUST see "Yojimbo"...preferably first.
on June 5, 2013
great movie. My knowledge on spaghetti westerns is minimum but after watching this movie i definatly have a lot of catching up to do. Clint Eastwood is way too awesome chewing on that cigar talking through his teeth in every scene. Cool as hell. The story had many plot turns and kept me interested throughout although the basic premise has now, 50 years later, become quite common and alsmot cliche. A stranger comes into a town that has an internal rivalvry and the newcomer stirs things up. We've seen it over and over by now and im sure it had been done before this movie Sergio Leone pulls it off very well and creates a lot of very cool scenes and picturesque shots. I pictued many of the scenes as posters. As my introduction too spaghetti westerns i believe i started in the right place and a fistful of dollars has made me interested to see what the rest of thee genre has to offer.
on September 6, 2001
This is one of the best westerns of all time. It is in my personal top five with For a few dollars more, Good bad and the ugly, Tombstone, and Unforgiven.
Eastwoods' breakthrough role was perfect for him. An icon to men. I'm sure all of us have daydreamed about being an invincible, unshaven, cigar smoking gunslinger when we were younger, and this image stays with us.
The quality of the DVD is good. A widescreen image sharper than any VHS I have seen of this film, and regrettably, the best possible audio track. No surround, only the original low budget sound. The voice dubbing has been cleaned up from previous cuts, the beating of the man with no name is restored as well as the whiskey barrel killing that was cut previously.
This disc is a must have. Get all 3 in the series. Pick up the box set.