One of the most important western that made Clint Eastwood a star and Sergio Leone a legend was released 60 years ago and that film is A Fistful of Dollars. 

The film was made fully in Italian and was released under the name “Per Un Pugno Di Dollari” in 1964 and was distributed by the Italian company Unidis. The film itself is based on Akira Kurosawa’s classic film “Yojimbo” which was released in 1961 but instead of samurai setting in Japan, the film is set in the wild west with cowboys and gunslingers. Kurosawa said this to Leone after seeing the film in a letter:

“Signor Leone, I have just had the chance to see your film. It is a very fine film, but it is my film.”Akira Kurosawa

This film was also the film that made Clint Eastwood a movie star overnight. Eastwood would play as “The Man with No Name”, a gunslinger who showed up in the small town of San Miguel that is on the Mexico-US border. In an interview, Eastwood said this about the role:

“In Rawhide, I did get awfully tired of playing the conventional white hat…The hero who kisses old ladies and dogs and was kind to everybody. I decided it was time to be an antihero.”Clint Eastwood

The film would also go on to have two other films in 1965 “For a Few Dollars More” and 1966 “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” and these films would be known as either the Dollars Trilogy or The Man with No Name Trilogy depending on who you ask. These films would also create a new type of Western which was called “Spaghetti Western.”

The music was done by none other than Ennio Morricone, who was credited as Dan Savio and the soundtrack became an instant classic, here is a small sample of it with a bit of the film and you see why. Leone mixed the styles of both Jon Ford’s cinematic landscaping shots with Akira Kurosawa’s cinematic style created a style that was eye candy to the eyes and still breathtaking to see today.

Do yourself a huge favor and see this film here are two fun facts about this film, first is the film had a budget of $225,000 and made almost 20 million at the box office and Clint Eastwood was only paid $15,000 for the role and he wasn’t the first pick for Leone, he wanted either Henry Fonda or Charles Bronson for the main role. Funny enough they would work with Sergio in his 1968 epic “Once Upon a Time in the West.”