Plot Summary: Clint Eastwood shot to international stardom playing the “man with no name” in director Sergio Leone‘s classic 1964 “spaghetti Western” about a wandering gunfighter who plays two rival families against each other in a town torn apart by greed, pride, and revenge.
Original Music by: Ennio Morricone (as Dan Savio)
Additional Director: Monte Hellman (1970 ABC TV prologue only) (uncredited)
Writers: A. Bonzzoni (story), Víctor Andrés Catena (story & screenplay), Ryûzô Kikushima (screenplay “Yojimbo”) (uncredited), Akira Kurosawa (screenplay “Yojimbo”) (uncredited), Sergio Leone (story & screenplay), Jaime Comas Gil (screenplay) (as Jaime Comas), Mark Lowell (dialogue), Fernando Di Leo (uncredited), Duccio Tessari (uncredited), Tonino Valerii (uncredited)
Also Stars: Gian Maria Volonté and Marianne Koch
Serious Jest: (Worth Watching) Spaghetti Westerns were typically low-budget, with low-quality stunts, special effects, and technology. In this film, I had particular trouble accepting how idiotic the bad guys were. However, I quickly learned to appreciate that none of the foregoing is very important in this genre. Spaghetti Westerns are all about swagger: tough-guy posturing, catchy music, epic camera shots, cool artwork, and Western-chic outfits. In this movie, Eastwood helped to create his character’s distinctive visual style. He bought the black jeans from a sport shop on Hollywood Boulevard, the hat came from a Santa Monica wardrobe firm, and the trademark black cigars came from a Beverly Hills store. Eastwood himself cut the cigars into three pieces to make them shorter.
This film is not only entertaining, but it is most important for its iconic value. It is easy to see the influence that flicks like this one had on later works from great directors like Quentin Tarantino, who threw a proper budget behind the genre, and fused it with other genres, like gangster (Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs), martial arts (Kill Bill: Vols. 1 & 2), and war (Inglourious Basterds) films. This year, Tarantino will also make Django Unchained, the closest film to a straight-up Western that he has made yet…can’t wait.