A Fistful Of Dynamite Review (Ste 300)

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Sergio Leone again blew minds with his take on the Mexican Revolution. How ever, he also stayed true to his Spaghetti Western roots when making Giù la testa, or it's now commonly know name A Fistful Of Dynamite, which was intended to be called 'Duck You Sucker'. The film was part of Leone's second trilogy (His first being The Dollar Trilogy). The trilogy includes C'era una volta il West - Once Upon A Time In The West' and 'Once Upon A Time In America'. The trilogy was created to show three main historical times in history, this one with the Mexican Revolution. Leone uses the elements of his Spaghetti Westerns and what we'd see in the future with 'Once Upon A Time In America'. The soundtrack to this composed by Ennio Morricone is a lot more like Once Upon A time In America, and generally has a different feel to it, but still keeps true to Leone's western style.

The Characters

The two main characters are magnificently played by ˜James Coburn and ˜Rod Steiger. Coburn plays a ex-IRA Irish man who has fled to Mexico, since the Irish revolution, and has now been tangled up in the Mexican Revolution. The reasons I think are because both revolutions were similar. So he was fighting for the same cause, just a different country. Which I believe to be his motivation. Coburn plays 'John Mallory'.

The second main character is '˜Juan Miranda' played by Rod Steiger. A Mexican bandit who works with his family and has at the beginning one objective. To rob a bank. But since he inadvertently becomes a civil war hero, his heart begins to show and he starts fighting for the revolution. His character is amusing yet feirce and fiery. He shows himself in the first opening minutes which show Leone's attitude toward the Mexican revolution. And straight away has us rooting for Juan.

The Story

The story is mainly focused around the Mexican revolution and both men's attempts to help the peasants. However we have a few flashback scenes which shows John's reasons for fleeing to Mexico, and depending what version you watch, ends up with why he does what he does.

We open with a stage coach, which a shy Juan boards. The stagecoach is full of rich people, and a priest. The scene immediately shows Leone's political standings on the Civil War. A group of posh people around a polish table laughing at the peasants'. It's true, it's not so nice to watch the opening scene and their hypocritical attitudes shown in it. Examples of a preacher being mean, and treating Juan as a lesser person. Then we have a more subtle hypocrisy with the 'talking while eating'. Showing their disregard for manners which they believe to have.

The story continues with the meeting of the two main characters and Juan's quest to rob a bank. Just so happens that when he's robbing it. He doesn't know that there is in actual fact no gold and is just a place for political prisoners to be held. And he's been set up to break them out. Inadvertently becoming a hero of the revolution, which sways him to stay.

As the plot continues we learn more from each character, and have a great showdown and massacre of soldiers by the two main characters. In the end Leone gives Juan the choice, he can take the money, or he can kill the leader of the opposing side of the revolution.


In all, Leone has captured another classical film. It's different to the others, and more political. But it surely does have the Leone spirit.

My rating - *********/********** - 9/10

--Ste300 14:17, 4 Sep 2005 (CEST)

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