A Fistful of Dollars (U.S.A.) | Für eine Handvoll Dollar (Germany) | Por um punhado de dólares (Portugal) | Pour une poignée de dollars (France) | För en handfull dollar (Sweden) | En nævefuld dollars | Za garść dolarów (Poland) | Bir Avuç Dolar (Turkey) | Por un punado de dolares (Spain) | Koyano Yojinbo (Japan) | Pro hrst dolarů (Czech Republic)|یک مشت دلار (Iran)
In a plot largely taken from the Samurai film Yojimbo, Clint Eastwood is a laconic stranger who plays two criminal factions in a border town against each other to his own financial gain.
By the time Sergio Leone made this film, Italians had already produced about 20 films ironically labelled "spaghetti westerns." Leone approached the genre with great love and humor. Although the plot was admittedly borrowed from Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo (1961), Leone managed to create a work of his own that would serve as a model for many films to come. Clint Eastwood plays a cynical gunfighter who comes to a small border town and offers his services to two rivaling gangs. Neither gang is aware of his double play, and each thinks it is using him, but the stranger will outwit them both. The picture was the first installment in a cycle commonly known as the "Dollars" trilogy. Later, United Artists, who distributed it in the U.S., coined another term for it: the "Man With No Name" trilogy. While not as impressive as its follow-ups For a Few Dollars More (1965) and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966), A Fistful of Dollars contains all of Leone's eventual trademarks: taciturn characters, precise framing, extreme close-ups, and the haunting music of Ennio Morricone. Not released in the U.S. until 1967 due to copyright problems, the film was decisive in both Clint Eastwood's career and the recognition of the Italian western.
American CBS TV network thought the film too violent and immoral to be shown in its original cut. Additional footage was shot and added to give the 'Man With No Name' a reason for his mission. Harry Dean Stanton was hired to portray a prison warden who sent a prisoner, the 'Man With No Name', to Mexico to clean up the town in order to obtain a pardon for past crimes. A stand-in was used for Clint Eastwood, who was a good 6 inches shorter and wore a serape instead of a pancho. He always had his hand on the cigar in his mouth and his hat pulled down low, so his face was covered. Close-ups of Clint's eyes were shown whenever the actors face was shown. This additional footage can now be seen as a bonus feature on the deluxe DVD package.
It's a badly made addition, which was directed by Monte Hellman.